Buying An Ethical Engagement Ring

Buying An Ethical Engagement Ring

Six weeks ago, my fiancé Nathan and I were in Park Slope with a jewelry saleswoman encouraging me to try on a $19,000 vintage ring from early 19th-century Europe. That’s right: $19,000.

Seeing that rock, my stomach sank — not because the ring was way out of price range, which it was, but because I didn’t know how to express my diamond ambivalence to the clerk without being rude. After all, her hands were bedazzled with five diamond rings of her own. With the price tag, it should have been easy for me and Nathan to tell her we were going to pass. But as we explained our preferences, I started to feel like my value was under the spotlight — as though the worth of the ring was a reflection of my worth.

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More and Less // All that Glitters: Gold and Diamond Alternatives

More and Less // All that Glitters: Gold and Diamond Alternatives

Last month I claimed this final chapter of the jewelry series would be on ‘everything else.’ Foolhardy, to say the least. Especially working as I do for a small jewelry company that partners with artisans in Haiti to upcycle unconventional materials like steel and horn, I should have been fully in touch with the fact that jewelry can be created out of almost anything.

What I should have said is that we’d be looking at some other common metals used for wedding bands and a couple other gemstone alternatives to diamonds. So know that this is by no means the real Everything Else. There are possibilities of all kinds that can be used to make jewelry. I just had to give myself a little more focus, or this column would have gone on for days.

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