With February in full force, the hopeful dreams of spring blooms and warmer temperatures aren’t the only things floating in the air. Everyone’s favorite winged, diaper-wearing archer is at it again this Valentine’s Day, piercing both the love skeptics and the love saturated with equal amounts of courage and passion.
It’s not just conversation hearts and chocolaty confections being doled out to loved ones — an estimated 6 million love-struck Americans are planning to propose or are expecting a proposal on Valentine’s Day, according to one CNN report. That’s great news for couples looking to celebrate their love and seal their commitments, and even greater news for the titans of the jewelry industry, who are expecting an estimated $4.4 billion worth of sales in silver, gold and diamonds.
But succumbing to cupid’s potent charms doesn’t have to mean falling prey to the social and environmental costs associated with many fine jewels and precious metals. The gem trade is plagued with financial civil wars, pervasive brutality and potential chemical spills from harmful mining practices. This guide to eco-friendly engagement rings — covering everything from conflict-free diamonds to environmentally safe metals — is a good place to start when shopping for that perfect symbol of sustainable love.
Next page: Finding ethical diamonds