For those who are wondering how to pick an engagement ring, the style and the price of the ring often rank among the top priorities.
Many who are shopping around may look to the stars for inspiration, especially if both partners are choosing an engagement ring. According to a survey from The Knot, around 60% of women get a say in the type of ring they want, so it’s possible that celebrities can influence trends for weddings and engagements.
Singer Lady Gaga made headlines around Valentine’s Day this year when she received a big heart-shaped diamond ring, estimated to be worth around $500,000, from her actor beau Taylor Kinney.
Rapper Nicki Minaj also got a big heart-shaped rock from her boyfriend, rapper Meek Mill, who gave her a double halo of pave diamonds with a yellow diamond heart in the center. Her ring is also valued at half a million dollars, minimum.
But another issue to consider when shopping for an engagement ring isn’t one that comes to mind for everyone other than the environmentally minded: sustainability.
In recent years, concerns over unethical diamond mining, especially in areas where “conflict diamonds” spark violence, have surfaced.
Fortunately, there are also eco-friendly ways to get an engagement ring, and they don’t necessarily have to break the bank, either.
For the utmost in luxury, Style.com recommends designer Monique Péan, who uses recycled metals, fair-trade and conflict-free stones, and even unconventional materials like fossils collected in Alaska and Colorado that are between 10,000 and 156 million years old.
Péan explained that she prefers ethical sourcing and recycled materials due the environmental impact that digging for new gems and minerals can have.
“Mining enough gold for one wedding band can produce over 20 tons of waste,” she estimates, and she says that the mining process itself can release cyanide, lead and mercury into water sources.
It was this damage to the environment that led her to consider working with environmentally friendly options only, and she has done just that since beginning her business in 2006.
Péan says that the source of the materials should also be a concern for serious jewelry buyers.
“It is important to consider how the materials used to create the piece of jewelry were sourced, as well as how the jewelry was assembled,” she explains.
Her company works with “artisanal miners and mines that are dedicated to social and environmental responsibility.” Additionally, her rings and other pieces are made in New York by hand, without the use of chemicals or pollutants released into the environment.
Péan’s rings retail for a pretty penny: anywhere from $13,090 to $52,770. However, there are other eco-friendly brands that also sell sustainable rings, and there are other ways that buyers can find the right ring.
Mociun, another New York brand, uses recycled metals and sells custom rings for around $6,000 each. Other brands highlighted by Style.com were Bario Neal, Brilliant Earth, Dawes Design and Selin Kent, whose rings can go for anywhere from about $300 to $500 all the way to the $5,000 range.
For those who want more options in terms of ring design, buying antique is also a way to save the planet and maybe even some cash.