Finding an Ethical Engagement Ring

 

I can't believe it's already been a month since Dave proposed to me! We climbed up to the top of the Poet Stone in Steep to watch the sunrise, and he asked me just as the first blackbird started singing - the best day of my life so far. It was a spontaneous proposal (the best kind!), which meant he didn't have a ring, so when we finally came back down to earth, we were able to choose one together. 

I knew I'd like a raw, unpolished emerald - like it had been plucked out of the earth. I also wanted to find a ring that was made from ethical materials, with an emerald mined from a sustainable, conflict-free, fairtrade source. I really want to make every stage of our wedding as environmentally friendly as possible. 

After lots of searching, I found an amazing artist called Olivia Mar and her collection of handcrafted jewellery, based in San Diego, California. She spent her youth traveling around Mexico and southwest America, inspired by nature and the ocean, before returning to San Diego to start her own jewellery business. She sources her gems from local miners, and every one is left in its earthly state - no artificial dyes, just a raw, unpolished jewel created by nature. 

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In the language of precious stones, the emerald represents inspiration, compassion and unconditional love. Olivia also uses ethically sourced copper as her metal of choice, and every ring is handmade to order. I wanted a raw, natural engagement ring that reflected mine and Dave's love for nature and simple living, and I couldn't have imagined anything more perfect. It's completely unique - I'm in love!

The use of copper in jewellery dates right back through ancient history, being one of the first metals we learnt to extract from the earth. I can't help looking at it and imaging something similar on the hand of a Celtic warrior or tribal queen! In alchemy, the symbol for copper was also the symbol for Venus, the Roman goddess of love, beauty and prosperity. 

Many also believe wearing copper close to the skin is beneficial for our health, allowing the body to absorb small amounts of copper over time, an element connected with a healthy brain, heart, bones and immune system. It sometimes leaves a blue mark on the skin, but this will disappear with warm water and soap. A copper ring can also develop a natural blue patina as it oxidises, which, depending on taste, can be removed with a little salt or vinegar.

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Not only is the ring absolutely beautiful, Olivia was amazing to work with and answered every question I had with real kindness and patience. I was able to track it online all the way from San Diego, flying over from Los Angeles, into Heathrow and finally to our local post office - it was so exciting! It's been the perfect start to a wonderful engagement. 

You can find my ethical emerald ring here - or take a look at the rest of Olivia's beautiful collection here. She works with copper, gold, rose gold, silver, and a variety of different gemstones.

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