It’s no secret that weddings generate a huge amount of waste. With the pressure to have the perfect picturesque day comes the impulse to buy lots of items to make your wedding more beautiful. If you care about our planet, then here are just a few things you can do to cut down on waste during your wedding day.Read More
We are huge fans of Aide-mémoire Jewelry, and owner Aran Galligan is the designer behind this all-inclusive, queer woman-owned studio in Seattle, Washington, and her pieces never cease to amaze us. Continuing to “wow” us is her new Sculpted collection, which offers a softer and more subtle departure from her more geometric designs.Read More
We love modern takes on the traditional engagement ring, and we love ring stacks even more, so we couldn't be more thrilled to welcome Rebecca Mir Grady Jewelry to our Catalyst vendor community. Not only are Rebecca's rings stunning, but they are all handmade from reclaimed precious metals and ethically sourced stones in her Santa Fe studio so there's no diamond guilt here. Plus, you can feel awesome rocking your engagement or wedding ring for the rest of your life knowing you supported a LGBTQ+-owned business. It doesn't get better than that!Read More
The fine jewelry world has long been dominated by white faces, but Valeria Madison of LilyEmme Jewelry is here to change all that. She creates eco-friendly, sleek, modern pieces for engagement rings, wedding bands, or for everyday wear. These are just a few reasons we are absolutely thrilled to have LilyEmme Jewelry join our vendor community.Read More
Modern day wedding planning has somehow turned into a months-long project where you're working through a checklist of things you need to pay for and then figuring out how to pay for those things. (I'm speaking from personal experience here!) So much time and energy is invested in staging the picture perfect event with all the trimmings and making sure that all necessary do's and don'ts are being observed. My take: throw it all out and start over.Read More
7 ways to mitigate the frivolity of planning a big-ass party when neo-Nazis are marching, the planet is melting, and POTUS is leading the Confederate States of America with “alternative facts.”Read More
Tory planned the most elaborate and heartfelt proposal for her girlfriend, Kate, and a run-of-the-mill engagement ring would not do. After dating for seven years and living together for two, Tory and Kate knew they wanted to get married, but both felt ambivalent about engagement rings, as neither wears much jewelry. Tory says that after guessing at Kate’s finger size based on a mood ring, she went into Tiffany’s one day after going for a run, “which was one of the funniest experiences. I was like, can I just look at bands with no bling, and they were very confused why this sweaty woman with no engagement ring wanted to try on wedding bands.” In the end, Tory decided they would make their own wedding bands together at With These Rings in Port Townsend, Washington, and she planned an elaborate proposal leading up to the making of the rings.Read More
They made their rings with Stephanie in January of 2017. “It was one of the best experiences of my life!”, Alex says. Alex had ethical concerns with diamonds, so she knew she didn’t want a traditional engagement ring. Furthermore, she “loved the idea of having completely matching rings. We have a long history of making each other handmade custom gifts (for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, etc.) so the idea of hand crafting matching wedding rings really seemed to be the perfect fit.” They drove to Port Townsend: “We were actually very nervous when we arrived because once you get there it all becomes very real, and for a moment you almost feel like you aren't really going to leave with a real life wedding ring because how could you possibly make it with your own hands in an afternoon?” Alex said she also had “this weird feeling that she was going to mess it up so bad that she’d be asked to leave.” But her fears were alleviated once she met Stephanie: “Once you sit down with Stephanie before the actual metalwork begins, she does a really good job of making you feel at ease and reassures you that you really are going to leave with professional quality rings that you hand craft, and that it will be easy and fun.” Right away, Alex knew she had made the right decision.Read More
One year ago, my now-husband and I chose our wedding venue. A month later, a man who ran a presidential campaign on a platform of hate won by a wide margin in that town. Like many others, we wanted to mobilize resources for social issues put at risk by the election. Our wedding would be the largest set of consumer decisions that we would influence in a turbulent 2017, so we first set our sights on how to design a wedding day that celebrated our commitment, while also making a statement about what we stand for.Read More
So there you have it, white sapphires are the most natural, hard, rare gemstone that are second only to diamonds. Though not imbued with the same properties or “fire” as a diamond, they are more affordable and are therefore more attainable in larger stone sizes with pristine clarity that can be designed with custom cuts. White sapphires also don’t come with all the trappings of diamonds and can be a conversation-starter with a unique story.Read More
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.
A good moment to pause and consider our purchasing patterns is before making a registry because often they represent a big chunk of anticipated purchases. Although there are some voices calling for abolishing the practice of registries altogether given the fact that more and more couples are living together before the wedding, if it’s something you want to embrace I think it can be a sweet way of building a life with help from people you care about. As with favors and other gifts it’s important to remember there is no one right way for any of it to happen.Read More
We know many of us are concerned about consumerism and its role in climate change, so we asked Catalyst sponsor Thankful Registry for some practical ideas on how to create a wedding registry hat's more ethical, eco-friendly, and mindful of the world we live in.
Thankful Registry is designed for couples who believe gratitude makes the world go round. It's an open-platform, universal registry where you can host traditional gifts, honeymoon funds, charity donations, and experiences all on one page. A lifetime registry with Thankful costs just $30, so feel free to keep using your registry for special occasions long after your wedding day. Explore the features by starting a free one-week trial at thankfulregistry.com.Read More
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.Read More
Diamonds themselves are very old—those formed in the earth are somewhere in the range of several hundred million to several billion years old. But diamond engagement rings are very new. Though rings in various forms have been involved in marriage rituals going back to ancient Rome and Egypt, the very first documented diamond engagement ring was commissioned in 1477 by Archduke Maximillian of Austria.Read More
Many jewelry retailers have jumped on the ethical bandwagon or tout conflict-free diamonds, but what does ethical really mean for the conscientious shopper about to commit to an engagement ring or wedding band? How do you cut through the noise and the the green-washing to get to the truth? What questions should you ask to ensure that your rings are made with standards that address glaring issues like unsafe working conditions at mines and cutting facilities, the environmental effects of mining, and child labor? The following tips should help you navigate through the complex process of choosing truly ethical wedding rings, and create a ring that both represents and supports love and progress.Read More
The jewelry industry is wrought with problematic paradigms—beautiful things are often created at a high human and environmental cost. It does not have to be this way. If we educate ourselves as consumers, we can support a transition to safer and saner practices.Read More
February brings an onslaught of pink and heart-shaped paraphernalia we are instructed to want. Although I can specifically recall walking into a drugstore and very earnestly coveting the teddy bear nearly as tall as me, I’m generally quite wary of token gifts. I know that had that enormous teddy bear entered my home he would have been almost immediately re-homed elsewhere. And that, likely, after a succession of re-homings, would have ended up in a landfill. (Although when it comes to stuffed creatures, I suppose, who knows? I have a now-cyclopian spherical sheep that my dad bought for me at the hospital gift shop on the day I was born, and he’s not going anywhere.)Read More
We encounter countless small choices strewn about our day-to-day lives, and they tend to multiply in the significant moments surrounding weddings. We know these choices have big, yet often invisible, ramifications. We know we can choose to sustain our local economy and businesses whose work we respect or that we can feed into systems of inequality, oppression, and environmental destruction.Read More