Before I get into this post, let me just say…HELLO, everyone! I’ve missed writing these past four months that I have not been attending to my blog. Life just gets pretty crazy sometimes, you know? A couple quick updates…I got married! Yep. Married. Hence the new blog name, Sarah Green (!!…and more on the blog name change in a sec). Here’s why: we were both getting asked a TON of questions about the wedding that we just didn’t care to answer, like “how’s planning going? what’s your color scheme? what are the girls wearing, what are the guys wearing? tell me all the details,” which I know is normal, and I sincerely appreciate the genuine interest from friends and family, BUT…I’ve never been the girl that planned her wedding since she was 8 years old, wants the princess dress (tbh I hate white), and wants to spend $15k+ on 4 hours just for the photos. I found that when asked these wedding planning questions, my answer was always “honestly, I don’t care much about that stuff, we’re just ready to be married now!” So we did that, and it felt amazing to do it exactly the way we wanted to, because often with huge, complex weddings, the couple’s style gets completely lost in what looks best in photos, what will please family, etc (note: I have nothing against a fairytale, big, extravagant wedding if that is what your wedding dream is! It just wasn’t mine, and never has been…you do you!).
So, there’s the story! Let me tell you…if wedding planning is stressing you out more than making you excited to be married, you should either 1) reevaluate why you’re doing what you’re doing at your wedding or 2) hire a wedding coordinator (like mine, who is AMAZING, and is still planning our reception!) who can make all of your dreams come true without you worrying about a single detail.
Moving on…why did my blog name change? I’m going to be pretty honest and open and say that I change my mind a LOT. If you’ve known me for a while, you’ve probably seen me pick up and leave ten different blogging projects. It’s not because I’m not passionate about any of them or don’t love any of them. It’s because there’s too many ideas that I love. I absolutely hate limiting myself to writing about one type of thing. In reality, I’m passionate about a lot of things that have nothing to do with one another. I’m an interior designer, and I geek out over architecture and design. I am also a yoga teacher, and I love writing about meditation, fitness, and the spiritual benefits of practicing yoga. I am a huge foodie, and I love making recipes and sharing all of the weird ingredients that I love to buy/use. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Writing is important to me. I love to write, and I love to share it. I’ve realized this year (because I’m focusing on being more grounded this year, read about that here) that if I want to continue writing part-time, I need to have a place where all of me is welcome. I tried to think of a name that encompassed everything that I am passionate about, but it’s pretty hard to mesh wellness, design, yoga, fitness, food, and spirituality into one word. Then it just hit me…why not just use my name? That’s the most authentic name I can come up with, right?! So, here we are. Sarah Nicole Green! Thank you for sticking with me through a million and one different blog names, different ideas and concepts, and for accepting me as I am now: a woman with diverse interests. A human, one could say…
Alright, let’s get to the point of this post! Ethical engagement/wedding rings!
I get tons of questions about my ring because it’s so different, which, of course, I love (enneagram 4 represent).
When Houston and I first started talking about getting engaged and what kind of ring I would like, I took to Pinterest asap (check out my jewelry board on pinterest here). Like I said, I was never the girl to plan her wedding ahead of time. I had no idea what style engagement rings I liked, and the more I looked online, the less I knew about my style. It wasn’t until I searched “non-traditional engagement rings” that I was able to start narrowing down a style that I thought I would love forever. After looking at multiple non-traditional engagement rings, I realized that a center stone could be in any shape, size, or color, but if the stone was some shade of green, I absolutely loved it. Next, I searched “emerald engagement rings,” and from there was able to narrow down a very specific style.
Next, we had to find a place to either find my ring (that was incredibly unique, LOL) or custom design it. The first thing I looked up online was “ethical engagement rings,” and popular online retailers like Brilliant Earth popped up, and I kept researching these online retailers while also asking around to coworkers and friends for local jewelers. Many of my coworkers recommended a little shop called Rings, Etc. here in Oklahoma, so we tried our luck, and they were incredible. She took her time to understand exactly what I wanted and help us get it within budget. One of the ways she helped us to get what we wanted within our budget was suggesting lab grown stones.
What are lab-grown stones?
Well, they’re pretty self-explanatory. They are gemstones grown in a lab! A lot of people automatically get turned off when they hear this. Words like “synthetic” or “fake” come to mind, but actually, lab-grown stones are 100% real gemstones.
These diamonds and colored gems are grown using lab equipment that creates enormous amounts of pressure, similar to what happens in the natural process, but much more quickly, and in a more controlled setting. Learn more about the process here.
There are multiple pros to purchasing lab-grown vs natural.
One is that you have more control over coloration and clarity. With natural stones, these are much more rare, thus the more expensive price tag. Another pro is that they are completely ethical and sustainable. If you don’t know anything about the gemstone mining process, please research it before purchasing a natural stone. Ignorance is bliss, for some, but as a consumer, you have a duty to know what you are purchasing, and the information is readily available. When you’re better educated, you’re able to effectively vote with your dollar. Another huge benefit to going the lab-grown route is that they are typically less expensive than natural stones. Like I mentioned, we were able to get the exact ring I wanted (that I thought we couldn’t afford, because let’s be honest, I have
expensive unique taste) by using lab-grown stones in lieu of natural stones.
Let me be clear: I would have been happy with a plain, solid band as my engagement ring. For me, it was never and has never been about having an extravagant, flashy engagement ring. However, engagement rings are very special and I wanted mine to be an expression of not only who I was, but who we are, together. It’s something that wasn’t critical for me, but was a very nice gift from my fiancee that I will cherish forever.
On the “rare” factor…
The only con that I’ve heard about lab-grown rings is that they don’t have that rarity that natural stones do. Engagement rings have gemstones to represent that you have something rare, something beautiful, something that takes time to grow and gets better with age. Truly, I love the symbolism, and I understand why people get hung up on that factor. However, I didn’t want my ring to remind me of slave labor, plain and simple. Ignorance is bliss, it’s true. I couldn’t unlearn what I had already learned about mining practices and the jewelry industry here in the U.S. Symbolism is beautiful, but I don’t need a rare gemstone to remind me that what Houston and I have is incredibly special to me.
Some might argue that you can still have an ethical engagement ring and a natural stone. That may be true, but it will cost you a fortune, let alone the time it will take to vet every single jeweler’s diamond source. Even after all of that time and money, there is still no regulation in the jewelry industry right now that demands transparency from diamond distributors. There is no way that you can guarantee your diamond (or other gemstone) was mined ethically. If you’re interested in learning more about how to purchase an ethical natural stone, check out this article from Time Magazine.
If there’s anything I’d like for you to take away from this, it’s the importance of educating yourself as a consumer. Lab-grown stones aren’t for everyone, but they were perfect for me! One of my best friends recently got engaged, too, and her fiancée purchased a lab-grown diamond. She absolutely loves it!
Get educated & do you.
It’s extremely important, in my opinion, to research a product (especially one that costs this much!) before making a purchase. If you’re passionate about social issues such as ethical mining practices & healthy working conditions for miners, lab-grown stones are a great route. They’re a great way to keep cost down on your ring, allowing you to get more than you could with a natural gemstone!