For many guys, there comes a time when you need a men’s wedding band that is both stylish and durable. While that can be hard enough to find, you should also be considering how sustainable your wedding band is. Is it eco friendly? Does it have ethical diamonds? This opens up a whole new can of worms – luckily, there are several jewelers leading the charge and making men’s sustainable wedding bands that are both stylish and ethical.
What Are Eco Friendly Rings?
From the metals in the band itself to the decorative diamonds on the exterior, there are major environmental and ethical impacts of wedding bands. The metal industries, like gold, platinum silver, and palladium, are all guilty of environmental pollution. Most gold is removed from open-pit mines, in which huge chunks of the earth are removed and processed for trace elements. Gold miners produce 13 pounds of toxic emissions and 20 tons of waste – at minimum – to make a ⅓ ounce 18-karat gold ring.
Mined diamonds have a huge impact on habitats of local wildlife, as well as heavy energy use and over 126 gallons of water use per carat. Mined diamonds have also made the news for unethical treatment of laborers, including child labor, dangerous mining conditions, and unregulated working conditions for diamond polishers.
In comparison, eco friendly rings are made with ethical diamonds that adhere to the Kimberley Process, which is an initiative that aims to increase oversight and transparency in the diamond industry, eliminating conflict diamonds that have severe negative impacts on the environment and surrounding communities. Sustainable wedding bands are also sometimes made with lab-grown diamonds, which do often require nonrenewable energy, but have a lower impact on the earth and lack the negative conditions for workers. Eco friendly rings also use fair trade, fair-mined, or recycled metals.
Top 10 Sustainable Men’s Wedding Bands
Aether utilizes lab-grown diamonds in its rings. What’s unique about Aether is that they use atmosphere-collected CO2 to make the diamonds, which are anatomically and chemically identical to mined diamonds. In other words, while other companies are releasing CO2, Aether is fighting climate change by removing CO2 from the atmosphere and turning it into diamonds.
For every 1 carat produced, 20 tons of CO2 is removed from our atmosphere. To put that into perspective, that’s enough CO2 to offset the carbon footprint of one American for 1.25 years. Additionally, Aether is working to become completely carbon-negative by 2023 and aims to pull 100 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere within the next ten years. Their rings also feature fair-mined gold.
Ecksand creates men’s sustainable wedding bands. All of their ethical rings are made from 100% recycled gold or platinum. Ecksand prides itself on transparency, which is why they break down the different types of ethical diamonds they use, from conflict-free mines in accordance with the Kimberley Process to lab-grown diamonds and recycled diamonds. The bands are handmade in small quantities in Canada by master jewelers.
Perhaps the most ethical option for men’s wedding bands is recycled metal. Kimani offers two sustainable band options: one in a comfortable 2mm and a classic 3mm. In either case, you’re getting 18K recycled gold, handmade in Antwerp. Choose between brushed or polished, and yellow, white, or rose gold.
UK-based Taylor & Hart abides by using ethical diamonds that are either lab-grown or sourced from conflict-free mines that are in accordance with the Kimberley Process. They also offer rings made with sustainable materials, like recycled gold and platinum or fair trade gold. However, you do need to order a custom-made ring in order to take advantage of these metals. They are also super transparent about their supply chain so that you know exactly where the materials in your ring come from.
Clean Origin uses 100% lab-grown diamonds and recycled metals in their eco friendly rings. Most rings are 14K or 18K white, yellow, or rose gold. Platinum rings are 90% pure platinum. Every center stone lab-created diamond from Clean Origin is independently verified and graded, using the same standards as mined diamonds to ensure quality. They also offer free resizing, 100-day returns, and a lifetime warranty.
Vrai creates rings made with diamonds grown in a zero-emission foundry that is completely powered by renewable energy from the Columbia River in the Pacific West of the U.S. For every diamond carat produced by Vrai, they save 143 pounds of carbon dioxide, 2,011 ounces of air pollution, and 250 tons of earth, in comparison with mined diamonds. The diamonds are set into solid gold or platinum bands after being shaped by their Belgium-based master cutter.
Rings by Melissa Joy Manning are made from 100% recycled metals and created in a refinery adhering to the highest environmental standards. Diamonds and sapphires in all rings are ethically sourced and are either reclaimed, Canadian, or adhere to the Kimberley Process. To take it all a step further, their pieces are handcrafted in their Green-certified studio, in which they practice zero waste and utilize eco-packaging, like recycled, post-consumer content bags. They also practice carbon offsetting for every box shipped.
MiaDonna creates men’s wedding bands with ethics in mind, as they use only lab-grown diamonds and recycled metals. They also have a quick turnaround time, with the ability to handcraft custom orders in 14 business days. They donate a portion of profits to Greener Diamond, which is a charity that works to empower and restore diamond mining communities that have been impacted by killing, maiming, and displacing that goes along with the traditional earth-mined diamonds.
Super unique men’s wedding bands from Noa Sharon Designs are always made with 14K / 18K recycled gold. Designs range from minimalist and modern to avant-garde and edgy. Whatever you choose, the rings are always handmade and customizable. Diamonds and gemstones are conflict-free and fair trade, with lab-grown diamonds available on request.
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Catbird’s eco friendly rings are made entirely of fair-trade or recycled gold with conflict-free, ethical diamonds and gemstones. The rings are made in a small studio in Brooklyn, handcrafted by a team that works together in the same clean, well-lit, safe space. They offer simple, modern men’s wedding bands as well as funkier, new-age options. Catbird constantly reviews the materials they use to ensure that they are using the best, most ethical options.
Images via brands.