If you’re reading this article, you’re probably either already vegan, curious about the lifestyle or eager to adopt a more ethical and sustainable way of living (hooray!). From food to fashion and skincare – there’s a cruelty-free approach to it all and it’s easier than ever to educate ourselves on all aspects of ethical living.
Within the ethical community, there’s a tendency to assume that ‘natural’ options are always best – and this certainly can make sense when we think of food, drinks and the products we use on our face and skin. However, this is not the case when it comes to diamonds. There is a common misconception that natural diamonds are essentially ‘better’ than man-made options, particularly when we look at mainstream society.
Perhaps you’ve seen Blood Diamond, and documentaries detailing the truth about diamond mining and decided that these jewels have no place in your life – I certainly did. If so, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that ethical, eco-friendly diamonds do exist, and you can enjoy beautiful, meaningful jewellery that is 100% in alignment with your ethical beliefs.
Typically, people will avoid natural diamonds because of the human rights abuses, and quite rightly so. We care about the planet, the animals and the environment, so of course we care about humans too – because compassion should be for all. However, there are other reasons to be taken into account which mean that natural diamonds are not an ethical choice – and in the diamond world, natural does not mean superior. It’s time the wider community realised that there is nothing ‘romantic’ about natural diamonds; in fact, it is quite heartbreakingly the opposite.
Ecological devastation, ongoing human rights abuses, controlled supply and cartel pricing are just some of the devastating impacts that the natural diamond industry has on our world. It’s also rather ironic that a diamond usually symbolises love between two people, but the story behind how it gets plucked from the earth and turned into an item of jewellery is about anything but love.
Happily, in today’s world, we don’t have to rely on natural diamonds anymore, and an increasing number of businesses are working to promote a kinder alternative. One of these brands is MADE Diamonds, a UK-based, sustainable, cruelty-free, vegan-friendly and ethically responsible business that has over three decades of experience within the jewellery industry.
MADE Diamonds director Steven Foulkes is dedicated to producing luxury engagement rings that are not only expertly crafted, but 100% in alignment with ethical values, particularly those which are important to us in the Vilda community.
The mission to raise awareness even amongst the ethically minded isn’t always easy, and there is often either a lack of knowledge regarding the devastation that diamond mining has, or a lack of understanding that there are suitable, responsible alternatives. At MADE Diamonds, the team creates the stones by building man-made/lab-created diamonds onto a purpose built core, offering just three limited edition designs at any time, all of which are made to order.
Steven believes that creating handmade and beautiful natural diamond alternatives is a chance to promote ethical engagement rings that are in alignment with the core values of people who, quite rightly, avoid the natural counterparts. “We recognised the need to make a stand for change and provide a better alternative to mined diamonds. We’re proud to be different, and it’s an honour to produce such a meaningful gift as an engagement ring for so many couples who share our values”.
So, what should you look out for when it comes to ethical diamond shopping?
The website message – You can tell a lot about a business from its website, so spend time researching the company, taking in the information presented. Do the owner(s) share your values? Are things properly and clearly explained? Are they upfront about how they work? Have they gone the extra mile to make it easy for you? A great example is the ethical wedding and ethical engagement guides that MADE Diamonds have written for their website, offering practical information to help you, beyond choosing the ring.
Authentic social proof – Are they active on social media? Are there reviews or testimonials – what are customers saying about them? Can you see plenty of genuine product imagery?
Core values and open channels – Ultimately, if you’re potentially parting with hundreds of pounds, you have to feel comfortable with where you’re spending them. Is it easy to contact the company and ask questions? Do they understand your beliefs? Is there a money-back guarantee? Do they offer a resizing service and other practicalities? These are all things to consider before committing to buying.
Ethical choices can be made in all areas of life, and you don’t have to be vegan to make these decisions – each positive choice is a step forward and we have a collective, societal, responsibility to look after our planet and everything on it. With the world starting to ‘wake up’ and more and more people seeing sustainability as essential for the preservation of our planet, we can truly enjoy luxury, quality items that are in keeping with our beliefs.
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Photos courtesy of MADE