We’ve been shopping for wedding rings. And there’s something that’s bothering me. As I’ve researched our bands, I’ve discovered that the gold industry is a dirty industry. The process of mining and refining gold ruins the environment (contaminates the air, the water, the soil, reduces green mountains to barren plateaus), and gold is often mined in underdeveloped nations. And the big mining companies don’t really care what indigenous people they’re hurting. These mining operations destroy local farms, families, and cultures, and the money generated from the mining isn’t going back to these communities, or even in the miner’s pockets–it’s going straight into an executive’s pocket. I’m not cool with this, and don’t want the money Dustin and I will spend on wedding bands to support these kind of unethical operations.
Luckily for us, there are several eco- and people-friendly jewelers available. We’re looking at BrilliantEarth.com right now, but there are others. And in another turn of good luck, most of the eco-conscious jewelers we’ve looked at are really quite chic in their designs. Neither Dustin and I want anything too fancy, but if we did, we’d have plenty of options. But as with anything that takes more effort to produce in an environmentally responsible way, the price tag is a little bit higher. And it just might be a little too high for us to afford.
For example. This is the ring Dustin wants:
It looks nearly identical in three very different jewelers. But the cost? Not so identical.
At BrilliantEarth, it’s $850. At Zales, $649. At Jared, $579.
This is the ring I want:
At Brilliant Earth, it’s $350. At Jared, ~$170. At Zales, $100.
We’re looking at a savings of right around $500, depending on gold prices, of course. For a lot of weddings, $500 wouldn’t be a big deal. But let me put it in perspective: $500 is my entire wedding dress budget. $500 is roughly two months of groceries. $500 is half of my monthy salary (pathetic, no?). But at the same time, with that $500, Dustin and I would be contributing to a clean version of the gold industry. We’re essentially voting with that $500, saying to the normal gold gurus that we don’t like how they run their businesses.
Yet another decision we’re going to have to make.