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Posts Tagged ‘ring’

In our features on rings a short while ago we were able to talk about recycled gold, but not about Fairtrade, as no such certification exsisted. Well, that is about to change.

This week CRED made a great announcement. Here is what they have to say:

Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) and the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) have announced the long-awaited launch of the first international independent third-party certification for gold production. The new Fairtrade and Fairmined standards will mean that millions of impoverished artisanal small-scale miners around the world will be able to receive independent certification and recognition for their efforts, bringing economic security to millions of families and their communities around the world.

Here at CRED we have long recognised the value in knowing exactly where our gold comes from, the way it was mined and all the hands it has passed through. Along with our mining partners Oro Verde™ we have championed the cause of the artisanal miner and the Fair Trade approach that seeks to put control back in the hands of the producer and pay a Fair Price for their work.

CRED are founder members of ARM, and CRED Founder Greg Valerio has been instrumental in seeing this new standard completed, working closely with FLO, ARM and all other parties involved. We are delighted for him and for everyone involved, and look forward to the great benefits this standard will bring to the mining communities that form ARM, and the many more around the world that will be brought in.

Fairtrade and Fairmined gold will guarantee a minimum price, creating security for producing communities. It will include a 10% Social Premium that will support the education and development of entire communities, and a further 5% Ecological Premium will be payable to miners that extract gold without the use of chemicals. Miners like CRED partners and ecological champions Oro Verde™.

Oro Verde™ have been producing independently-certified artisanal gold for over 7 years. They have worked hard to develop gold production that uses no chemicals, protects the environment and supports the continual development of producing communities. Oro Verde’s model was the inspiration and prototype used to produce the Fairtrade and Fairmined standard. As such Oro Verde™ will be first in line to be certified.

CRED continue to produce truly ethical jewellery in Oro Verde™ Fair Trade gold. Our Eden Wedding Rings and the sumptuous Penelope Collection by Annabel Panes are the latest examples of CRED’s pioneering journey towards excellence in design and ethics. With CRED and Oro Verde™ you can buy with confidence knowing that our jewellery is the fairest attainable.”

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Ok, so we have looked briefly at how to choose the ring design, focussed on diamonds, and looked at ways to make the ring more personal, so today we will look at gold…

The best quality rings will be gold or platinum, and like diamonds there are many environmental issues brought to the fore.

Open pit mining uses cyanide to blast open the rock revealing the precious metals. Not only do these large mines make a massive scar on the landscape, but the poisonous chemicals eek into the ecosystem of the area. According to Friends of The Earth, to make a single gold ring, 5 tonnes of water must be used and 20 tonnes of mine waste created.

CRED jewellery (right) is made using platinum and 18ct fair trade gold sourced by Oro Verde, the world’s premier supplier of ethically sourced precious metals that is produced without mercury or cyanide. As with their gold, CRED’s precious stones are traceable from mine to retail.

Although there is currently no official certification for Fairtrade gold, CRED are working closely with the Fairtrade Foundation to get something going…

For details of Ethical Gold Retailers and Suppliers visit www.nodirtygold.org

But you don’t need to have gold fresh out of the mine.

Recycled gold

In the previous post on vintage we also though about ‘upcycling’ old rings. Following the idea of melting down your own jewellery to make the rings, there are also companies who exclusively use recycled metals.

Ethical jewellers Leblas (left) make all their jewellery from recycled silver or gold as they have not found a supplier of gold that meets their strict ethical and environmental policy. Their engagement ring collections are set with conflict-free Canadian diamonds. The jewellery is all made by skilled artisans in Spain, and designed to encourage use of traditional techniques and pass these on through apprenticeships.

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With all the factors involved in choosing an engagement ring – the stone, its footprint and history, why not look to the past for your ring instead?

With the elegance of another age, vintage jewellery will not add to the environmental cost of mining precious metals & stones. There is a vast amount of jewellery already made that is unused. It just needs seeking out.

Visit antique specialists or jewellery shops nearby who have a selection of rings. Be careful of buying ‘vintage style’ as this usually means new…

A vintage or previously owned ring will be more personal by being a one-off design, or a vintage ring that she will not find a friend wearing…

Is there a ring in the family, a great-grandmother’s perhaps,  that will add family history to the occasion and mark it as a real joining of two families.

In the same vein, do you have any plain family jewellery that could be used as your wedding rings, or if you do not like the style, melted down to restyle to make your rings?

My husband and I each had family rings that we wanted to re-make into our wedding rings, turning unworn pieces into something that would be treasured daily. Unfortunately they were different quality to each other so couldn’t be combined (I loved the idea that our rings could be a mix of the two families…oh well) so they were made separately.

Check back for more about gold in the next post…


Rent the rocks

Does rental count as ‘something borrowed’?

For the day itself, not the engagement ring or wedding rings, rather than buying new , consider renting your wedding jewellery – to get a stunning look without breaking the bank…

Try www.diamondthrills.co.uk who have an amazing range of designer jewellery that will make you sparkle on your wedding day without mining new rocks to sit in a draw until another special occasion.

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On Aug. 17, 1477, Mary of Burgundy became the first bride-to-be to receive a diamond engagement ring.  Her betrothed, Maximilian of Austria, was counselled that the diamond would assuage her doubts about marrying him.  By the mid-1600s, diamond engagement rings were fashionable in Europe, though rings set with other gems, particularly rubies, were also very common.  It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that diamond rings became the icons of engagement that they are today, when De Beers launched its infamous “diamonds are forever” campaign in 1938, making diamonds essential to three-quarters of modern American brides. DeBeers also were behind the ‘tradition’ that the man spend ‘just 2 months salary’ on the piece.

The film ‘Blood Diamond’ brought to the fore the issues thrown up by the excessive mining of precious metals and stones, the environmental impact, and the link that has been made with rebel military movements.

The Kimberley process is an initiative by governments and the industry to stop the flow of so-called conflict diamonds, rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance war against legitimate governments.

However, the Kimberley process does not account for environmental practices. Pioneers in the jewellery industry, CRED jewellery, seek to go further. Their diamonds are fully traceable and certified conflict-free, sourced from mines they have visited in Canada, Australia and Namibia, so that they can guarantee the economic and environmental impact as well.
CRED are working towards having a truly ‘pure’ diamond, certified Fair Trade, from artisanal sources, that will deliver real economic justice to those involved in its production. We will look at CRED’s gold practices later in the series.

As a starting point, when choosing your engagement ring make sure you ask for a diamond that is conflict-free. Ask the retailer about the origin of the stone or for a ‘denomination of origin’ certificate. There are many retailers of conflict free diamonds – make sure you ask before you waste time looking in a store that can’t trace the origin.

What makes a diamond a diamond?

Two hundred and fifty tons of ore must be removed to find a pea-sized diamond; several hundreds of thousands of “industrial-use” diamonds are mined for every jewel-quality stone.

Brilliant Inc create simulated diamonds are grown ethically in laboratories. They grow layer on layer like actual diamonds and all the jewellery is cut by hand by master jeweller craftsmen.

Throwing to bed the idea of spending 2 months’ salary on the ring, they also have the added bonus of being much more affordable that real diamonds because they do not have such a huge footprint and cost of mining and transport behind them. A solitaire with a 1ct diamond equivalent will cost just £185 (pictured). But that doesn’t mean that you are compromising on quality. Gemologists have declared them to be excellent quality and the best diamond stimulants.

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Valentines is one of the most popular days to propose, followed closely by Christmas (I was a Christmas engagement) so congratulations to those of you who got engaged on Sunday.

Of course, THE RING is the usual way to seal the deal, and whether you were presented with a ring or not, choosing an engagement ring, and wedding rings, that will be on your finger for the rest of your life, is obviously a big deal…

So we have put together a guide to help you do just that…

About the ring

The most lasting element of your wedding, apart from your photographs, are the rings that you will wear on your finger everyday as a reminder of your love and commitment.

So you need to get it right…

The symbolism of the wedding ring comes from the circle, a never-ending shape – representing eternity, life and death, and in the case of the wedding ring, love.

Wedding rings have been used as symbols of marriage and part of the celebration for over 5,000 years, with the first evidence coming from North African hieroglyphics. They wore it, as we do, on the third finger of the left hand, believing that it intersected a vein or artery that went straight to the heart.

Tips for choosing the engagement ring

If you were not presented with a ring at the proposal, or are shopping for a suprise, then read on.

– First of all, have your finger measured. Any jewellery shop will be able to do that for you, or you can print out a handy chart from Leblas. Once you know your size you have the freedom to choose a ring you have seen online.
If you are shopping as a surprise, then make sure that you can have a ring resized afterwards if necessary, as part of the cost.

– What colour do you want? Do you wear more white-gold or yellow-gold jewellery? You’ll want to consider this carefully and get your wedding ring made in the same quality (i.e. 18ct or 9ct) to match.

– What stone? If you are considering the ethical approach to diamonds then check back for our next post – a focussed article on the subject.
Or why not choose an alternative precious stone entirely? An emerald, sapphire, or even a pearl make just as dramatic a statement as diamond, and you will love bearing an unusual ring that is personal to the two of you. check back soon for a guide to help you think about an alternative stone…

– To consider if the budget is tight:
An unusually shaped engagement ring (like the princess cut diamond setting above) will mean you need a shaped wedding ring, rather than just a circular band, so that they fit flush. This will call for a bespoke design or fitting which can be expensive.
If the stone on the engagement ring is larger than the width of the band, make sure it is set above the height of the band then a wedding ring can fit flush underneath without the need for bespoke shaping.

To be posted a free guide to choosing a ring, with a free ring-sizer, contact ethical jeweller Fifi Bijoux

In the next post we’ll be taking an in depth look at diamonds…

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