#2 - "Dirty diamonds" and "Green gold"
Even if you didn't see the recent film, Blood Diamonds, you've probably heard of the dark history of the South African diamond trade. I've been to South Africa (for the Parliament of World's Religions in 1999) and have done research on the diamond business and, believe me, it's every bit as bad as rumor has it. Please, do NOT feel obliged to buy diamonds. They are not a (good) girl's best friend.
Working in the wedding industry I feel a special call to steer couples towards wedding and engagement rings that do not rely on violence, pillage and unethical practices to bring the sparkly baubles to your finger. Fortunately, there are many options to "go green" when it comes to the symbol of the ring.
Here are some favorite new ways to put the stone on your heart-line finger:
"Green" gold - Every wonder where old electronics with gold and silver parts end up? Some of them get to have a second life as beautiful rings! Companies like Brilliant Earth have made the best of the past.
Junk becomes jewelry - "junk to jewelry" takes discarded objects and re-imagines them to make something lovely.
Go personal - There are thousands of amazing artisans who are making jewelry and selling online through sites like Etsy. You can support a struggling artist and get a ring that's made to order.
Think outside the box - Some of the most interesting wedding rings I've seen were made of unusual materials. One couple I married had chosen petrified wood for their rings. Another had used recycled glass. I've seen them in tungsten and steel and titanium.
The most intriguing wedding rings I saw were made of?.. color! The bride and groom had the rings tattooed on their fingers!