15 Ethical Engagement Rings From Sustainable Sources
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When it comes to choosing the perfect engagement ring, there are both human rights and environmental concerns to be considered. The harvesting of diamonds has a history of fueling conflict, and the mining of precious metals is often damaging to the environment. Beyond this, miners are frequently denied fair wages and adequate health and safety provisions.
For socially conscious couples, an ethically sourced engagement ring is a must and, thankfully, there is a range of stunning and affordable options. These jewelry companies source recycled or fair trade gold, as well as vintage and conflict-free diamonds and jewels. Many of these brands are also green-certified and give back to local communities and environmental projects.
Additionally, secondhand rings from auction sites like eBay, vintage finds on Etsy, and online or local consignment shops are a great option if you’re looking for something that’s new-to-you without the new carbon footprint.
Best For | Affordable rings for all genders
Price Range | $38–$3700
Mejuri’s fine jewelry is more than just “fine”… it’s impeccable. In addition to everyday pieces, you can find engagement rings and bands for all genders. Rings are made with ethically sourced natural gemstones and conflict-free diamonds–and 80 percent of gold used is recycled with the other 20 percent certified responsible. (Read more in our Mejuri review). Production takes place around the world including India, Italy, and Korea where makers have safe and fair working environments. Mejuri also gives back to women and nonbinary folks through its Empowerment Fund. Get a ring that will have a lifetime of memories and impact.
Best For | Unique & antique rings
Price Range | Varies
One of the simplest ways to become more sustainable (and create less waste) is to wear and use your items for longer. And this can include your jewelry! On Etsy, engagement rings from all over the world are given a second life. As shoppers can filter their options by desired gemstone, shape, band material, price, and more, you’re bound to find something you’ll love. Some of our favorites include Estate Antique Jewelry, Cileone Jewelry, and Pebble and Polish. Etsy also offsets 100 percent of carbon emissions from shipping, so every time you make a purchase you’re creating a positive environmental impact.
Ethics | Recycled precious metals, conflict-free stones, certified CarbonFree, eco-friendly wood packaging
Best For | Conflict-free gemstones
Price Range | $450–$6250
Brilliant Earth is a pioneer in ethical jewelry, one of the first to provide traceability and always going above and beyond the industry benchmarks of conflict-free gems. They adhere to strict guidelines for mining practices and standards that ensure their gems have ethical and environmentally responsible origins. If the provenance of your diamond is something you care about, you will have no trouble tracing your Brilliant Earth gem: claims for natural diamonds, recycled gold, and recycled diamonds are independently audited and verified, so you know you can trust them!
The Good Trade Partner
Best For | Minimalist wedding bands made in the USA
Price Range | $65–$6600
Aurate believes you shouldn’t have to choose between high quality, fair pricing, and doing good when it comes to purchasing jewelry. The brand goes beyond the Kimberley Process and tracks every natural diamond from mine to its local New York workshop to ensure it comes from verifiably ethical and environmentally sound sources; you can also choose from lab-grown diamonds if that’s your preference. Every ring comes with a certificate of authenticity, and Aurate’s proceeds regularly support orgs like Mastery Charter and She Should Run.
5. Bario Neal
Best For | Customized & cluster rings
Price Range | $110–$24000+
A longtime supporter of LGBTQ+ rights and worldwide marriage equality, Philadelphia- and Brooklyn-based jeweler Bario Neal can craft custom rings truly reflective of our relationships—from personalizations to reworking heirloom materials. The women-owned company also uses recycled metals, traceable stones, and Fairmined certified gold for its handmade pieces. And we don’t know anyone who can curate a cluster ring quite like this. If you’re feeling a little lost on how to even start ring shopping, we spoke with Bario Neal to determine some helpful questions to guide your journey!
The Good Trade Partner
Best For | Variety of designers & styles
Price Range | $225–$13400
Catbird has been based out of Brooklyn for the last 18 years, and the brand only keeps growing. Many pieces are handmade in a small Brooklyn studio, using fair-trade and recycled gold, while all of the stones are conflict-free. Its inventory of engagement rings is crafted by a variety of designers like Erstwhile, Gillian Conroy, and Kataoka, in addition to the Catbird Wedding line. Named after princesses, swans, and fairytales, your partner will feel like royalty with one of these beautiful and exquisite pieces.
Ethics | Ethically sourced & lab-grown diamonds, Fairtrade certified gold, sustainable & recycled metals
Best For | Custom rings
Price Range | $650–$13495
An utterly bespoke process, we love that Taylor & Hart walks you through creating your perfect piece. The company goes beyond the Kimberley Process to ensure that the diamonds are conflict-free, and believes that by purchasing an ethically crafted ring, one of the greatest moments of your life can also be a small step towards a better world. Taylor & Hart will work closely with you through personal consultation to design the perfect ring within four weeks.
8. James Allen
Best For | Designer collections, loose diamonds, lifetime warranty, 24/7 customer service
Price Range | $240–$7410 (setting only)
Since 2006, the four minds behind James Allen have turned the brand from an idea to the largest privately held online diamond retailer worldwide. With more than 200,000 conflict-free diamonds, every setting imaginable, pre-made designer collections, and even loose diamonds, you can create the ring of your dreams with confidence. Even better: James Allen offers 24/7 customer service with real-time inspection, so you can see what gemologists are seeing. There’s a 100 percent money-back guarantee if you’re not happy for any reason. It’s no secret why James Allen has grown to be one of the most reputable conflict-free retailers in the world.
Best For | Simple, clean styles
Price Range | $195–$6600
Committed to transparency and quality, Vrai (truth in French; gold in Spanish) crafts engagement rings without the markups. The collection includes pieces with either white or black diamonds, stacking rings, and various stone sizes, striking the perfect balance between simple and unique. Made in the USA with lab-created diamonds from Diamond Foundry (also made in the USA), getting back to basics has never been easier.
10. Sofia Kaman
Best For | One-of-a-kind rings
Price Range | $350–$39700
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly ring, Sofia Kaman has a lot to offer. Whether you want a band made of recycled metal or an antique gem that won’t result in any additional environmental costs, the company’s selections are romantic, modern, and everything in between. And they’re all handcrafted in Los Angeles. When it comes to diamonds, Sofia Kaman sources its stones through dealers who abide by the Kimberley Process and can guarantee them to be conflict-free. Or, you can work with the company to create a custom ring using a lab-grown diamond that was made with renewable energy!
11. Valerie Madison
Best For | Responsibly sourced diamond alternatives
Price Range | $475–$25610
If mainstream diamonds aren’t your best friend, we recommend Valerie Madison’s gorgeous alternative engagement rings. The brand’s rings and bands are made with recycled gold and diamonds, ethically sourced gems, and diamond alternatives such as lab-produced Moissanite. Choose from an array of pre-made stunners, or create a custom one of your own (see past custom orders here), with beautiful options like salt & pepper diamonds, teal sapphires, or lavender spinel. If you live near Seattle, you can also schedule a consultation or pick-up at Valerie Madison’s new showroom in the Madrona neighborhood to further lower your carbon footprint.
12. Aether Diamonds
Best For | Luxury rings, carbon-made loose diamonds
Price Range | $700–$26898+
While Aether Diamonds is based in NYC, it’s not part of the mainstream Diamond District. That’s because Aether creates diamonds out of thin air—yes, literally. This certified B corp takes carbon out from the air, which then goes through hydrocarbon synthesis and clean energy-powered reactors. Within a few weeks, voila, modern alchemy! The diamonds are then placed in sustainably sourced settings, and even the packaging is either biodegradable or made with vegan materials. For luxury diamonds that are a cut (hah!) above the rest, check out Aether.
13. Automic Gold
Best For | Size- & gender-inclusive rings
Price Range | $119–$1250
Automic Gold is redefining what it means to be inclusive, and we are here for it. This queer-owned brand handcrafts all sorts of sustainable fine jewelry out of its NYC studio, including earrings, necklaces, and of course, wedding rings. Responsibly sourced, all gold is certified recycled, diamonds are completely natural, and gemstones are ethically mined—and it’s all well-priced! Offering customization, engraving, and inclusive size options (2–16), there are rings for every gender, size, and style.
Best For | Extra-thin or extra-chunky rings
Price Range | $140–$32046
Stared by Wing Yau in 2012, WWAKE was built with the dream to “merge art with the intimacy of jewelry.” That ethos shines through most clearly in its unique line of wedding and engagement rings. Whether you prefer delicate bands with beautiful gemstones or chunky rings with a standout diamond, WWAKE makes options for every hand (or partner!). Every piece is handmade in its NYC to keep its carbon footprint as low as possible. Schedule a virtual consultation, stop by its Brooklyn studio, or see its inventory at Catbird—one of our other favorites for romantic jewelry.
Best For | Antique-inspired designs
Price Range | $175–$10500
If art-deco spaces, Victorian-era jewelry, and Grecian design make your heart swoon, then you’ll love Jennie Kwon Designs. With a focus on “thoughtful jewelry with a soul,” this sustainable brand carries hundreds of stunners and made-to-order pieces for that special one in your life. Only ethically sourced and conflict-free stones as well as fair trade and Fairmined gold are used, so you can rest easy and support this woman-owned and led brand.
Featured image is from Brilliant Earth