Budgeting for an Ethical Engagement Ring


Main image – Fairtrade Gold Aurora Borealis Ring available from Serendipity Diamonds.

Setting your budget for an ethical engagement ring

If you have your heart set on an ethically sourced engagement ring, cost will certainly be a huge consideration, in the same way as it would be for any other type of engagement ring.

First things first. Why purchase an ethical engagement ring?

Commissioning an ethical engagement ring, firstly requires a basic understanding of ethically sourced products. Ethical jewellery is no fad, or buzzword, but a discerning choice openly available.

Buying an ethical engagement ring involves consideration for the people at the very start of the supply chain. These people work in harsh conditions—often lacking the basic safety equipment for mining materials. Many people purchase without knowing how materials have been sourced, and how people have been treated within the supply chain.

Gold ore, sourced from a certified Fairtrade mine. Photo courtesy of Hockley Mint.

A few years ago we set out to source responsibly sourced materials for our jewellery. Materials that could actually help to improve the lives and communities of those people working under difficult conditions for minimum wages. Fairtrade Gold sets a standard for safety and minimum pay, helping to empower communities of artisanal and small scale miners (ASM). Their system tracks the gold from the mine to the finished product under a fully audited system that gives reassurance to the end consumer.

An ethical engagement ring is created using responsibly sourced materials—with a positive impact on workers at the start of the supply chain.

First set your budget. 

Your first step should be setting a realistic budget that works for yourself. We have discussed previously the average cost of an engagement ring, but everyone’s circumstances are different. Salary, savings, financial commitments—all affect how much to spend on the ring. From semi-precious gemstones, and Fairmined Silver, to Fairtrade Gold and traceable CanadaMark diamonds, the cost can be small or great.

Look for an ethical jeweller

Your next step is probably finding a jeweller working in ethically sourced materials. Many self-employed ethical jewellers hand make items at the bench as one-off designs taking a great deal of time to create. The cost of a commission will vary from one jeweller to another.

We have a streamlined process for creating custom made, or regular designs in Fairtrade Gold. We have the ability to factor in CanadaMark diamonds, making engagement rings fully traceable.

All jewellers prices vary depending on the materials, time taken to create the ring, and profit margin on the finished piece. The gram price of Fairtrade Gold is sold at a premium to regular gold, which goes directly to the miner. For this reason, an engagement ring fabricated from ethically sourced materials will be more expensive than a non-ethically sourced design.

Current incentives for ethical engagement rings

In 2014 we aligned the price of Fairtrade Gold items at Serendipity Diamonds with regular 18ct Gold products. We decided to promote Fairtrade Gold (typically more expensive) in this way — absorbing the higher price of Fairtrade Gold for the near future.

When you view the Fairtrade Gold option in our drop-down product menus, you will no doubt see options for Fairtrade and regular gold. We work with both precious metals since not all products are available in Fairtrade.

Budgeting for an ethical engagement ring

Fairtrade Gold engagement ring with CanadaMark diamond, ethically produced, and showing the Fairtrade gold stamp on the inside of the band. 

The starting cost of an ethical diamond engagement ring

For modest budgets, below £500 many gemstone and fair metal choices exist for ethical engagement ring commissions. For this reason it should be possible to source an ethically produced gemstone ring fairly inexpensively.

For fine jewellery commissions—created with Fairtrade Gold and diamonds, our engagement rings start at around £500.00 (Example based upon Grace design 4 claw solitaire set with 0.25cts J colour SI2 clarity conflict free diamond.)

For a fully traceable, Fairtrade Gold and Canadian Diamond engagement ring, we suggest a budget from £700.00 as a minimum price and starting point. (Example based upon Grace, R1D041 Princess cut Canadian Diamond, F SI1 0.30cts set into Fairtrade 18ct White Gold.)

Responsible sourcing : the future of engagement rings

Responsibly sourced, ethical engagement rings will eventually become the norm. As we look across a broad spectrum of consumables—from bananas to clothing, large corporations are taking notice of the conditions that workers face at the start of the supply chain. Each year, we see more organisations joining a rapidly growing movement of positive change towards improving the lives of workers. We expect to see a greater adoption of ethical sourcing as more consumers demand to know where the raw materials come from.

Learn more about the Fairtrade movement on their main website. 

Researching the cost of ethical engagement rings

Further research can be done across the range of diamond engagement rings online. Use our ring builder to select Fairtrade Gold options for engagement rings, and view resulting prices, or contact us for additional help and guidance.

Mark Johnson

About Mark Johnson

Mark attended Liverpool University and went on to pursue a career in the diamond industry. After more than a decade working in polished diamonds, Mark moved to the Isle of Wight where he launched Serendipity Diamonds. He works most days from their busy Ryde showroom, photographing jewellery and writing for the Serendipity Diamonds website.

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