5 Reasons to Say “I Do” to an Ethically-Made Engagement Ring

Clean Origin Shares Why Lab-Grown Diamonds Are Perfect for the Eco-Conscious Bride

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but their relationship with our planet is toxic at best. Diamond mining also deeply affects people and communities in the form of exploitation, child labor, injuries and major conflicts (to name a few). So if you’re worried about cloudy ethics dulling your engagement ring’s shine, you could look at alternative gems and stones…or you could still enjoy a beautiful, genuine diamond at a fraction of the ecological, ethical and monetary costs. Ethically-Made Engagement Ring

There’s a lot of confusing information out there on the internet when it comes to lab-created diamonds, so we reached out to an expert in the field, Marketing Manager Haley Anhut from Clean Origin, to lend some clarity. Here’s what we learned:

 

1 | Lab-Grown Diamonds Are a Great Ethical Option for Engagement Rings. 

While this story airs on the pro-lab-grown side of the debate, Clean Origin is not in the business of speaking negatively about mined diamonds—the company simply wants to provide a more planet- and budget-friendly alternative. 

“What we tell all our customers is that it comes down to personal preference,” Anhut explains. “We’re not trying to push lab-grown; our goal is for every couple to get an engagement ring they’ll love forever.”

According to Anhut, here are three umbrellas for engagement rings: diamond, diamond simulants and gemstones:

 

Diamonds Ethically-Made Engagement Ring

With diamonds, you have a choice of mined or lab-grown. The only differences between these two options are the price and the way they were formed. 

 

Diamond Simulants Ethically-Made Engagement Ring

Diamond “lookalikes,” such as moissanite, cubic zirconia and white sapphire, are much less expensive than diamonds. Anhut says that “these are great options for couples who are currently on a tight budget but want to upgrade later.”

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Gemstones Ethically-Made Engagement Ring

You can also look at different gemstones like sapphires, rubies, etc. There is also an option for lab-grown or mined gemstones. 

When it’s time to choose between these three “umbrellas,” Anhut mentions that it mostly boils down to personal preference and budget. And when it comes to mined versus lab-grown, it’s a matter of personal belief systems: if sustainability and ethics are more important to you, lab-grown is an option you may want to consider.

 

2 | Lab-Grown Diamonds Are Real Diamonds…at Almost Half the Cost.

“It’s insane how much mined diamonds are when you can get something of equal value for almost half the price!” Anhut says. “People hear ‘lab-grown’ and they automatically think, ‘Oh, it’s not real.’ There’s a stigma for some reason.”

We’re not sure if the stigma exists because lab-grown is such a new concept or because things sourced from the earth are usually better, but this simply isn’t the case when it comes to diamonds. Even the Federal Trade Commission is on board: in 2017, the FTC made a change and removed the word “natural” from its definition of a diamond (Section 23.12(a)). This means that if it has the chemical structure of a diamond and the physical structure of a diamond, it is in fact a real diamond. 

“Chemically, physically and optically, they’re the same, but lab-grown is up to 40% less expensive because the supply chain has been cut,” Anhut explains. “It’s so satisfying and gratifying to give a couple expecting a half-carat, a one-carat—not that that matters—but it feels great to show couples that they can get more than what they were expecting.”

 

3 | Ethical Engagement Rings Are an Eco-Friendly Solution

Some who are against lab-grown diamonds may say that the factories used to make lab-grown diamonds create just as much of a negative impact as mining—but from what we’ve found, that doesn’t seem to be true.  

According to a research study by Frost & Sullivan, Clean Origin reports that mined diamonds produce 125 pounds of carbon, disturb almost 100 square feet of land, create nearly 5,800 pounds of mineral waste and consume over 126 gallons of water per carat. On the other hand, lab-grown emits six pounds of carbon, disrupts 0.07 square feet of land, creates one pound of mineral waste and uses 18 gallons of water per carat.

Clean Origin exclusively sells lab-grown diamonds, which is unlike a lot of its competitors who sell mined and lab-grown. According to Anhut, lab-grown is the only way you can be sure that your diamond is “100% ethically sourced.” And while Clean Origin doesn’t produce its own diamonds, the company carefully sources them from reputable labs around the world.

If you’re someone who’s concerned with sustainability, it’s important to keep other jewelry materials in mind. “The jewelry industry tries to use recycled materials,” Anhut notes. “The majority of our material is recycled—the only time it wouldn’t be is if a special clasp is needed to be made from scratch.”

 

4 | Lab-Grown Diamonds Present a Socially and Ecologically Ethical Solution

In terms of the rising presence of ethical jewelers, Anhut says that she thinks it’s fantastic. “When you think of ethical products like local produce or handmade clothes from the US, there’s more cost,” she says. “When it comes to lab-grown, it’s a green product that’s less expensive than its non-green counterpart.”

 But just because a jeweler puts “ethical” in their Instagram bio or Etsy shop description, that doesn’t mean it’s always true. “It’s hard because some of the terms people use are so…elusive,” Anhut explains. “The diamond industry is such a dinosaur industry in and of itself, and the last few years have shaken it up.” 

While anyone can currently describe their products as ethical, Anhut thinks that more guidelines and standards will be set on the horizon. In the meantime, her advice for shoppers doing their research is to ask companies these two questions: “What materials are used?” and “Where are the materials and/or diamonds coming from?”

 

5 | Most Arguments You See Against Lab-Grown Are Unfounded

If you’ve started to research diamond options, especially mined versus lab-grown, you may have come across a few lab-grown “cons.” 

When Clean Origin first came onto the scene with the first wave of lab-grown diamond companies, big brand names really pushed back—even though most of these brands offer lab-grown options today. Here are a couple of common (and clearly biased) arguments you may see while shopping around:

Myth 1: Natural diamonds appreciate in value while lab-grown diamonds depreciate.

The only way a gemologist or appraiser could tell the difference between a lab-grown and mined diamond is if they used extremely high-end technology that can determine how it was created, or if the diamond itself is inscribed. As far as resale value goes, it’s too soon to really tell. And, honestly, we think the question sounds a little strange—why would someone plan to sell an engagement ring while they’re in the process of buying it? Again, this comes down to personal preferences, but it’s odd if you think about it.

Myth 2: Opting for lab-grown diverts support away from the mining communities who rely on that money. Major red flag!

 

This is an argument a lot of corporations pose when the use of exploited labor is challenged. “We want to get away from children working in factories,” Anhut says. “When you have an option that’s going to turn away from exploiting someone, there’s always going to be a transition period, but that doesn’t mean don’t do it.” She continues, “Also, we’re not trying to shut down mines. The industry is trying to alleviate a lot of issues. However, a lot of the places where mines are located are corrupt, and you can’t fix that from the US.” 

Lab-grown diamond companies like Clean Origin are steering support away from mines and companies with questionable motives, but if you are still concerned about potential ethical dilemmas, there are plenty of charities (like UNICEF) that you can donate to. This takes your money straight to the people who need it!

 

Want to Learn More About Clean Origin?

There are lots of great lab-grown diamond companies out there, but one of our favorites has to be Clean Origin. The brand’s materials are sourced ethically, costs are reasonable and, according to Anhut, Clean Origin aims to give its customers a totally comfortable and transparent buying experience.

And while Clean Origin currently offers engagement rings, wedding bands and loose stones, the company’s line of 100% lab-grown, ethical fashion jewelry is on the horizon—with a good amount of pieces under the $500 and $1,000 range! In fact, Anhut says that she has her eye on a signet ring. 

“We’re not trying to fool anyone or convince anyone,” Anhut says. “We’re here to educate and do what we can.” Ethically-Made Engagement Ring

 

Clean Origin
@cleanorigin

About the author

Writer | Website

Born and raised near the Pacific Coast, Jordan Nishkian is a California girl through and through. She graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a BA in Creative Writing and a BA in Anthropology, and her favorite place to be is curled up in a comfy chair with a book in her hand and a pen in her hair.

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