Nothing says wedding more than the ring, which makes it all the more important to make sure you are purchasing a product that was produced in both a ethical – and eco-friendly manner. As consumers our purchase can have a negative or a positive impact on the precious stone and metal industries; which would you like to be?
Films like the Blood Diamond (the one where Leonardo DiCaprio tried a South African accent) have taught us that wedding bands can cost more than their price tag and that the negative effects of a dirty sale are unfathomable. The term ‘blood diamond’ is coined because some diamonds can literally cause bloodshed and in more cases than you think warlords scavenge the wealth from a country’s supply of mineral wealth for their own corrupt practises. Buying without doing your research could mean you are contributing to this problem.
With two-thirds of the worlds diamonds extracted in Africa, a continent dotted with war and political uncertainty, it can be hard to find a stone that you are confident is ethical. The good news is that 12 years ago the industry decided a more strict certification process was necessary to prevent corrupt practises – ask your supplier whether they are a member of The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), as this will mean their stones are certified ‘conflict-free’.
Although worldwide ethical wedding ring options are growing – everything from recycled metals to lab grown gems – like many other things South Africa is still catching up and it will be some years before that market shows much promise. One local business, Hello I Love You, does boast conflict-free diamonds and you can always go vintage for a ring that is elegant as well as eco-friendly.