Ethical Engagement Rings
5 Sep 2015
As consumers, the wider community is increasingly making more educated and conscious choices about how much we spend, what we are getting in return for our money and whether our money is funding ethical causes. How sustainable and economical products are have never been such important issues, across all industries. And there is certainly no exception when it comes to engagement rings. With awareness growing, consumers are making more conscious and considered choices.
So what does it mean when we talk about ethical engagement rings?
The most important thing is traceability. Where did your diamond / gemstone come from? Where did your metal come from? Since the movie Blood Diamond there has been a shift in industry standards and protocol as well as a greater understanding of the dangers of the diamond industry across the wider community. The Kimberly Process was established in 2003 by the United Nations as an initiative to prevent conflict diamond sales from entering the market and being sold, funding violence. This initiative also works as a measure to protect individuals from unknowingly purchasing conflict diamonds.
As a consumer it is important to check with your jeweller that they support ethical diamond and gemstone trade practices and that they only sell conflict free diamonds. Choosing a jeweller that belongs to a known jewellers association that has a strong code of ethics offers peace of mind. In Australia, the two major associations are the Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA) and the Gold and Silversmiths Guild of Australia (GSGA).
Although the origins of your diamond are one of, or the, most important factor when purchasing your diamond there are several other factors that are important to consider especially when working towards a budget. Chances are if you are starting your search for an engagement ring you would have heard of the 4c’s – carat, colour, cut and clarity. This is the grading system that is used to determine a diamonds quality and is reflected by the price. When working towards a budget, what should your top priority be? Firstly, we always recommend quality over size. You might be able to afford a larger size diamond, but if the quality is poor it will appear dull and lifeless, missing the brilliance that is so desirable. It is widely agreed that the most important of the 4c’s is the ‘Cut’. How a diamond is cut, the proportions, symmetry and polish determines how a diamond will reflect and refract light. In a diamond that is well-cut, light enters through the table and travels through the stone where it is reflected from one side to another before the light is returned back to the viewer’s eye creating that sparkle that we all love! Your diamond might have a high colour and clarity grading, but it is the cut that gives your diamond its beautiful sparkle.
The biggest tip when purchasing a diamond, no matter if you are buying in store or online is that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. With diamonds it is a case of you get what you pay for. Remember, you don’t have to spend tens of thousands to afford a beautiful stone. Set a budget that is realistic to you. Your jeweller will be able to help you design and find the perfect ring to suit you.