Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bling to Save the Planet!

I've been meaning to write about my ring for awhile, because I'm just so happy that I could get something beautiful, and stylish, and sparkly, and also know that it 's creation wasn't having a devastating impact on people and the planet.

Though I'm well known for being a magpie because I have such a fondness for sparkly shiny things, I stopped wanting a diamond ring after I read a comment somewhere in the blogosphere that said 'do you really want the blood of a bunch of Africans on your hand?'. Well, thanks for putting it so graphically. Why no, I don't.

Diamond mining has been implicated in many of the social and environmental ills that have befallen Africa, and it behooves us to think about how First World consumption occurs on the backs of Third World suffering. Not to be too much of a downer, but I didn't want to start my life with Mr. Barefoot standing of the backs of children and exploited workers laboring in poor conditions in a toxic diamond mine.

Mr. Barefoot and I then considered using my grandmother's ring - but I wanted something new and all my own - or getting a vintage ring - but I'm a bit superstitious about the vibrations that metal can hold and transmit.

I looked at some socially-conscious ring makers like Green Karat and some local shops, but didn't love any of their designs.

Enter Brilliant Earth, and their conflict-free, sustainably-mined diamonds and recycled gold. I spent hours pouring over their website. The Offbeat Bride did a great post about them recently, with tons of details.

Even better was the fact that their showroom is just across the Bay in San Francisco. We BARTed over one morning, and had a lovely, no-pressure try on session with a knowledgeable consultant. I was glad we didn't get a ring online, because the one I loved on the website just didn't look that good on my hand. Eventually, we narrowed the options to a few and I left the final decision in Mr. Barefoot's hands.

Though I knew the ring was coming, I was stunned by his proposal (but that's a post for another day...). The ring is absolutely beautiful, sparkly, all that it should be, and I am so happy knowing that it was produced with the least negative impact on people and the planet possible. (It's also not very large, as was my desire, since I use my hands a lot and didn't want a big rock that was going to get caught on things all the time. However, I was none too pleased when a female friend (and ex) of Mr. Barefoot said, "Oh, how dainty [eg, tiny]!" Hilarious post about 'diamonds as dicks' here.)

What made the ring even more special is that PK, the Musical Marathoning Mammalogist, who got engaged several months before me, and Dr. Cowgirl, who got engaged about a month after me, also got their rings at Brilliant Earth. It feels very sweet to share this source with friends (see photo above). Now, I'm trying to convert the recently-engaged Water Doc to our club...


AmyJean said...

IT's always great to get something nice for yourself that also helps the environment!

Sadie said...

Whoever the ex is, she's a total B-word and clearly can't use her hands. Yay for dainty and worthy of real womens' hands.