Before you pop the question...
Valentine's Day is only a couple of weeks away! Don't freak out, we've got you covered. If you need some awesome date and gift ideas for your S.O., check back here for our next post (you can subscribe below).
But if you're ready to ask the one question you know the love of your life has been dying to hear...
This post is for you.
Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but sourcing diamonds is dangerous and often deadly. You remember the movie, Blood Diamond, starring one of our all-time faves Leo DiCaprio, right? Well that wasn't alllll fiction.
Diamond mining often exploits workers and funds war and violence. In fact, "deaths from diamond-fueled Civil Wars have been eight times greater than all U.S. Military Deaths in the last 70 years." Globally, there has been a huge push by human rights advocacy groups to curb the violence stemming from this industry, but it still is a major issue.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was implemented about a decade ago to identify and prevent the trade of blood diamonds, but a loophole in the process made it ineffective. The Kimberley Process defines a blood diamond as "those mined by abusive rebel groups, not abusive governments", which unfortunately still allows human rights abuses to continue in most instances. Additionally, it only accounts for legal diamond trade, and has no power over diamond smuggling. You can read stories about the effects of the diamond industry here.
Conflict-free diamonds do exist. And we urge you to choose them.
You can buy beautiful engagement rings from a number of shops that sell certified conflict-free diamonds, or you can buy a pre-owned vintage ring that still has all the shine, but with a touch of timelessness.
1. Brilliant Earth
They have it all - fairly traded diamonds with their origin listed, lab-created diamonds, recycled precious metals, options to design your own or choose a pre-designed ring, gorgeous antiques, AND they give 5% of their profits to organizations in diamond mining communities. My personal favorites from them (at the moment) come from their Regalia collection (I just started watching The Crown, and am feeling the regal vibes). Who wouldn't feel like Elizabeth Windsor with this incredible beauty on their finger? Besides, who wants just one diamond when you could have 17 shining bright on your ring finger?
2. STORE 5a - Columbus, Ohio
You know that super cool luxury resale shop on High Street, right near Native Cold Pressed? They sell gorgeous vintage diamond rings. If you propose with one of these beauts, your (future) fiancé can check one thing off their list - something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Let's be real, the solitare is always going to be timeless.
3. Vrai & oro
So we all know that carbon, when put under enough pressure for enough time, creates diamonds. But there's also a way cooler process of creating diamonds that involves a sliver of a pre-existing gem and a plasma reactor. The resulting diamond is exactly the same quality as a mined diamond. HOW COOL IS THAT?! I know, I'm a science nerd, but seriously. Growing diamonds?! Super cool. Vrai & Oro partners with the Diamond Foundry, so all of their engagement rings are human rights abuse free, sustainable, and stunningly beautiful.
Keep in mind a couple of things when shopping:
1. Can the jeweler provide you with a country of origin? Make sure it wasn't mined in countries that are notorious for human rights abuses.
2. Is it Kimberley Process certified (at the very, very least, though not perfect) or does the store commit to buying fairly mined and traded diamonds? Can they prove it?
3. Is there an option to buy a lab-created or antique diamond that can be put in a custom setting?
When in doubt, use Google. See if the jeweler you're buying from lists anything about their business practices and buying process online. If they don't, it's probably because they don't want you to know where they came from.
You got this. You're going to nail the proposal, and your significant other is going to love that you put so much thought into their ring. I can hear the resounding "YES!!!!" from here ;)
Love is in the air!