Image: Jorge Franganillo
London sprawls for 607 mi² and is home to a whopping 1.1million businesses – that’s one third of all businesses in the UK. The word ‘overwhelming’ springs to mind! Shopping for an engagement ring is not your everyday activity and we don’t expect you to know where to start. But, what we do know is that England’s capital city is home to some of our favourite ethical jewellers – so follow our fingers!
You've found your soulmate. Now an ethical engagement ring is the perfect step to showing just how much you really care.
Like you, we believe it’s possible to enjoy the beautiful materials that Earth offers us without harming our planet. We know that by asking questions, simplifying supply chains and sharing knowledge, we can achieve this. When you choose from 100% recycled metal, Fairtrade Gold, Fairmined Ecological Gold and responsibly sourced gemstones, you can rest assured that the ring you’re committing to is one that you’ll both feel proud of forever.
Visibility and traceability are key. Without knowing a ring’s life story from start to finish, it’s impossible to make an informed decision. To be certain that the brand supplying you with your special treasure is ethical, it’s vital that the following four questions are answered.
1. WHAT: What materials is this piece of jewellery made from?
Is the ring made from industry standard materials that come with no provenance claims or ethical guarantees? Or is it crafted from beautiful metals like Fairtrade Gold or Fairmined Ecological Gold? If you want to know exactly what’s gone into your ring - just ask! Going to your jeweller armed with the right questions means you’ll get the right answers. Find out more about the types of metals we use first so you're on the right track
2. WHO: Who made this piece of jewellery?
Who mined the materials that went into the ring, and under what conditions? Who came after them to manufacture it? The human beings behind a beautiful piece of jewellery are important and their stories should be told.
3. HOW:How were the mining and manufacturing processes respectful of Mother Earth?
Has the ring’s journey been a sustainable one? Ecological efforts include regeneration of land in the mining process, protection of waterways and correct waste management. In the end, it all boils down to whether you’re dealing with a company that are passionate about supporting a sustainable future – or a company who just don’t care.
Proof of ethical practise is essential. If a jeweller is ethical, they’ll hold certifications and want to shout about it from the rooftops! At Lebrusan Studio, we’re certified Fairtrade and Fairmined, and celebrate this with special hallmarks from London’s Assay Office. It’s easy to prove traceability so if a brand isn’t flaunting theirs with pride, there are probably some questions unanswered.
Anna Loucah is a London-based goldsmith and designer breaking ground when it comes to ethical engagement rings. Anna creates luxurious and unique designs inspired by world journeys and mystical imagery. Time spent working with jewellers in India, Hong Kong and Australia early on in her career fused a sense of age-old tradition with her bold design style. Anna’s one of the UK’s first Fairtrade gold license holders and has seen her bespoke, ethically-sourced pieces on the Hollywood red carpet. She's received numerous jewellery industry accolades and awards.
Anna can be found in Make Space Studios close to Waterloo Station.
CRED Jewellery pride themselves on being a people-focused business on a mission to make beautiful jewellery by improving the lives of the communities who mine their gold. They make ‘jewellery with heart’ using the Fairtrade Gold Standard they pioneered. Their diamonds and coloured gemstones are sourced all over the world to bring you the most sustainable and responsible sources. Their website offers a comprehensive ‘4 Cs’ guide to designing the perfect bespoke diamond engagement ring.
The CRED team can be visited at their workshop in Farringdon.
Ingle & Rhode tick all the boxes for ethically conscious millennials. Their story began in 2006, when David Rhode was on the hunt for an engagement ring (like you!) but couldn’t find a jeweller who could answer the four big questions. The more he looked into the industry, the more compromises he discovered he was being asked to make – from blood diamonds to dirty gold, sweatshops and child labour. Together David and his friend Tim Ingle launched Ingle & Rhode to offer an ethical alternative.
Ingle & Rhode can be found in Marylebone, a short trot from Bond Street tube station.
Finally… Well, you know about us! We promise that every element of our jewellery is traceable, ethical and conflict-free. We are based in Brighton but our lovely Sales and Production Manager Kim is in London most Wednesdays, available to meet 11.30am-4pm in the Farringdon area.