It is said that the wedding ring is worn on the left hand, because the ring finger is connected directly to the heart and will allow love to flourish.
Through the centuries the symbolism of the wedding ring has not changed – The circular shape represents the never-ending nature of eternal love. However; attitudes towards wedding jewellery are rapidly changing, and today many couples are not only looking to show their love for each other, but also their love for the environment by investing in eco-friendly, responsibly sourced and ethical wedding rings and jewellery!
The big question is, what makes jewellery ethical and responsibly sourced?
Only jewellery that has been produced with no negative impact on people and their human rights, or the environment can be classed as this. Being able to trace jewellery back to its source is vital. For example:
1) The materials used in the manufacture can be traced back to source to ensure that they have come from certified sources (eg. Fair Trade mines).
2) The manufacturing process has not polluted or impacted the environment in a negative way.
3) Using eco-friendly materials such as recycled precious metals and gemstones.
4) Using synthetic gemstones or diamonds to ensure that stones are ‘conflict free’.
5) No human rights have been violated in the production of jewellery such as no child labour in mines and fair working conditions and wages.
So, how can you ensure that your wedding jewellery is responsible, ethical and eco-friendly?
My top tip is to research. If you are buying your wedding jewellery or wedding rings from a high street jeweller then ask about the provenance of all materials used. If they cant answer, walk away!
A greener alternative to the high street is finding an independent jeweller who will be able to make your dream rings/jewellery to your exact specifications and design. You can ask for recycled metals, reclaimed materials and ethically sourced stones. Anything you like! Many bullion dealers now sell an ‘eco’ option for silver, gold and platinum, and many jewellers only work in these materials now.
If you are lucky enough to have family heirloom jewellery which has been passed down to you, then why not use this as your green alternative to buying new?! There are lots of different options which a jeweller will be happy to discuss with you. Old wedding bands can simply be resized, or they can be melted down and made into new rings. And not just rings; old chains and other items can be melted and re-purposed too!
To make your rings that little bit more magical and personal, you can always make your own!
If getting crafty and creative is something that inspires you, some jewellers/workshops offer ‘make your own wedding rings’ workshops where you can choose your design, materials and any additional personalisation! A quick Google search will help you find jewellers and workshops in your area.
If you are worried that your jewellery doesn’t cover all of the points raised, my answer is: Don’t worry! So you can’t trace the source of your grandmother’s wedding band? Well, reusing or repurposing the metal makes your ring recycled/eco-friendly, and re-using antique diamonds is eco too! Small changes add up to a BIG difference.