Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement has been the hot topic since the news landed, and it’s not hard to see why: the couple’s classic style and flair for understated romance is enchanting, evident in everything from their untraditional choice of cake to their cozy proposal — and, of course, Markle’s’ conflict-free engagement ring.
Rather than proposing with the Queen Mother’s engagement ring, as many thought he would, Prince Harry opted to design a ring himself. The yellow gold band is topped with a gorgeous diamond and flanked by two smaller stones from Princess Diana’s own collection. The stunning centerpiece jewel is conflict-free and sourced from Botswana — and just so happens to be a perfect example of the trend towards conscious jewelry.
You may not be surprised to learn that according to a 2017 survey, one third of non-bridal jewelry is bought by women for themselves. On top of that, more and more women are seeking out environmentally responsible and socially conscious pieces, like Markle’s ring — with good reason.
The World Diamond Council closely monitors the trade of what they term “conflict diamonds:” jewels that are traded illegally to fund military actions and political coups in war-torn areas of Central and Western Africa. The diamonds themselves are mined by slaves — men, women, and children who live in horrible conditions. Then there’s the environmental impact; unregulated operations can dump 180 million tons of hazardous waste every year into the world’s oceans, rivers, and lakes, clogging waterways and poisoning ecosystems.
Many businesses are meeting these issues head on and implementing new practices to raise their standards while continuing to make gorgeous jewelry.
Take Good Company Catbird Jewelry, one of over 100 organizations to have signed the No Dirty Gold pledge. Many other businesses are putting their own guidelines in place — look below for a full list of Good Companies committed to sourcing ethical materials:
- Bario Neal
- The Brave Collection
- Brilliant Earth
- Catbird Jewelry
- Faire Collection
- Gina Raphaela Jewelry
- PURPOSE Jewelry
- Raven + Lily
- Sidney Garber
Each of these companies focuses on what matters the most to them. For example, Article22 and Gina Raphaela Jewelry recycle shrapnel and weapons to create powerful pieces protesting violence. Faire Collection, PURPOSE Jewelry, and Soko support local female artisans and victims of violence by implementing fair trade policies, providing employment opportunities, and running training and education programs.
When it comes down to it, we buy jewelry for ourselves to feel lovely, powerful, confident, and magical. The only thing better than buying something beautiful is doing something beautiful, and supporting organizations like these makes a seriously beautiful impact.