In a post-pandemic world that’s redefining meaningful luxury, a symbol of love and commitment needs to be chosen thoughtfully. These rings are just right for the cautious consumer who’s eyeing a low-carbon lifestyle without compromising on aestheticsThe Lab-Grown Sparkler
Adore the planet as much your fiancée? Declare your love with a lab-grown diamond solitaire. These sparklers mimic the natural process of diamond growth - over billions of years under extreme pressure and heat in the crust of the Earth – in a laboratory. Not only are they excellent value for money (at a price 10-30% less than natural diamonds) and offer the same durability as ‘real’ diamonds but they’re ‘cleaner’, minus the environmental damage and human conflict associated with mining. A recent study reported that mining diamonds produces 4,383 times more waste than manufactured gems, uses 6.8 times as much water, and consumes 2.14 times the energy per carat produced. How’s that for low impact dazzle!
The Dazzler Next Door
Real diamonds aren’t the blood-soaked villains that they’re made out to be! While mining is historically problematic, there is a conscious move towards accountability (Members of the decade-old United Nations-mandated Kimberley Process Certification Scheme produce about 99.8% of the rough diamonds worldwide.) Lab-made diamonds aren’t 100% clean either. In your enthusiasm to embrace sustainability, try to avoid being greenwashed by companies pushing dubious ‘clean’ and ‘ethical’ labels. Stay vigilant and conscious, but don’t be rigid (or plain illogical!) While you can insist on traceability certificates for natural diamonds, there are other… simpler ways to ensure that your engagement ring doesn’t come with a huge carbon footprint. One of the easiest is to head to your neighbourhood jeweller and have it handcrafted – usually from recycled gold - instead of choosing from a large inventory of machine-made rings.
The Pre-loved Beauty
Vintage is all the rage amongst eco-conscious lovers. You can get the diamonds from your grandmother’s ring re-set into a modern band for your fiancée, or refresh a heirloom setting with a new gemstone. Re-using precious metal (gold) and sturdy gemstones like diamonds, rubies and sapphires (emeralds fall lower on the Moh’s Hardness Scale, so get a skilled jeweller to appraise any vintage ones you plan to revive) is a fantastic way to substantially diminish the carbon footprint of your engagement ring and while raising it on the sentimentality and ethics scales.
The Colourful Star
As an eco-conscious consumer, you may want to consider coloured gemstones over diamonds. Both (diamond and gemstone) mining industries are stepping up on newer, sustainable methods of mining with transparent supply chains. But if you opt for unusual gemstones, chances are it originated at an artisanal mine with lesser environmental degradation and worker exploitation (80% of coloured gems are mined at a smaller scale originate in comparison to diamond mining which is 85% industrialized). So when shopping for a ring for your better half, consider the beauty of amethysts, Muzo emeralds, Australian Opals and sustainably-mined pearls.
Swapnanjali Jewellery Studio
Jewellery & Watches Committee
Aparna Pednekar is a gemologist, jewellery designer, author (Harper Collins) and partner at Pune-based Swapnanjali Jewellery Studio, specialising in fine coloured gemstone jewellery for over 15 years.Her designs have featured in Femina, Wolf & Badger and Paris-based Luxuryculture.com. She writes on jewellery, travel and luxury for Vogue India, Travel + Leisure, Discover India, HT Mint Lounge, Verve and Lifestyle Asia.