The True Story of Diamond Engagement Rings


Diamonds are the most important group of gemstones in commercial terms.
Colorless diamonds (white to yellowish) are the most valuable group of diamonds in the trade. Colored diamonds (red, pink, blue, green etc.) are much rarer and more expensive.

Mining of Diamonds

India was the first commercial producer of diamonds until the 18th century. At the end of the 19th century diamond deposits were discovered in South America, then in South Africa.
Diamond supply chains are uniquely complex and our understanding of it is still evolving. It’s highly fragmented which means gems change hands multiple times before getting in front of the consumer. 80% of diamonds originate from small-scale “artisanal mines” (ASM).
Tiffany & Co. Foundation has recently made some effort to improve impact of mining.

Lab-grown diamonds are the lowest impact option, supporting these companies is a good idea.

What Makes A Diamond Ethical

As is true for all consumer choices in today’s modern world, there are human rights and environmental issues at stake. The first thing to consider is–why do you want First of all,  a diamond? Diamonds aren’t the rare commodity the industry would have you believe. The harvesting of diamonds has a long and dark history of fueling conflict and causing the brutalization of human beings for centuries. For the socially conscious consumer, an ethically-sourced diamond isn’t as simple as some brands want you to believe.

Which is why I recommend supporting independent jewelry makers who (hypothetically) have more control over their materials source, and the production process. Of course, shopping secondhand is an obvious solution and the very best option, imho.

Dana Walden Bridal/NYC

Owned and operated by a husband and wife team, they use exclusively ethically mined and lab made stones, 100% recycled metals. They also sell vintage pieces. And they use recycled metals for many pieces, which is a huge thing considering the waste, eco and social impact mining for metals has on the world and its people.

Natalie Marie

Has gorgeous, delicate rings as well as custom bespoke options. Working with only 2 family run mines, the owner visits each of the mines several times a year to maintain a close relationship, check conditions and quality and ensure the miners are being paid directly, fairly and well.


Catbird NYC

Catbird is a studio in Brooklyn, NY that’s been operating for about 12 years, their pieces are handmade in their small studio, using fair-trade and recycled gold. Recycled and fair trade gold, reasonable pricing, artisan made. Their engagement rings are crafted by a variety of designers, like Erstwhile, Jennie Kwon, and Kataoka.


Stunning pieces at fair prices this is a consumer-to- brand. Committed to working with recycled materials, conflict-free diamonds.

3. Taylor & Hart

Good Factor  | Ethically-sourced diamonds
Bespoke jewelry and making an ongoing effort to adhere to the strictest ethical standards to sell only conflict-free diamonds.


4. Bario Neal

Ethics | Ethically-sourced metals & stones, fair trade gold, environmental sustainability
Handcrafted one-of-a-kind engagement rings that mix dynamic shapes with unique settings, sourced from conflict-free regions such as Canada, Namibia, and Australia, Portion of proceeds benefit organizations that support marriage equality and environmental sustainability.

5. Vrai & Oro

Ethics | Ethical labor practices, lab-created diamonds
Handcrafted engagement rings without the markups, Made in the USA with lab-created diamonds from Diamond Foundry (also made in the USA).

6. AUrate New York

Ethics | Rigorous social responsibility standards, diamond traceability, uses recycled gold, gives back
They track every diamond from mine to their local New York workshop to ensure they come from verifiably ethical and environmentally sound sources. Plus with each purchase, AUrate donates to a local organization helping support literacy in New York.

7. Fair Trade Jewellery Co.

Ethics | B Corp, fair trade and fair-mined nickel-free gold
Canadian-based online retailer that are the first North American business to use Fair Trade Certified gold, and are a certified B-Corp. Strong partnerships with the Responsible Jewellery Council, the North American Gem Association, and the Competition Bureau of Canada.

8. Blue Nile

Ethics | Conflict-free diamonds
Popular online retailer that also offers only conflict-free diamonds that are ethically sourced.

9. Brilliant Earth

Ethics | Conflict-free diamonds, environmentally responsible, fair labor practices
A leading source for jewellry, each of their materials are environmentally sustainable and their diamonds, stones, and metals come free of any human rights abuses, use fair labor practices, and contribute to local community development in countries like Canada, Russia, and Botswana, and they also offer lab-created and recycled diamonds to reduce the carbon footprint of your ring.

10. MiaDonna

Ethics | Lab-created diamonds, uses recycled metals, gives back
Founded on the belief that beautiful diamonds shouldn’t come at a human cost—all of their diamonds are created in a lab. They allocate five percent of their profits to build educational programs, urgent relief programs, and agricultural farms in diamond mining communities to help restore economic opportunities.