Joyous Jewelry: Wedding Bands and More


Choosing engagement jewelry

For some information on picking out engagement jewelry in a just and green way, and about the social and environmental impact of diamonds, in particular, visit The Knot.com

Choosing wedding bands
The traditional Jewish wedding ceremony involves the giving, exchange, or mutual acquisition of an object of value — usually this item is the wedding band or bands which the couple will wear after marriage. These items will be a permanent symbol of joy and connection for you and your partner — so consider purchasing a ring with people and the planet in mind.

Consider the social and environmental impact of gold
The mining of gold moves huge quantities of rock, and separates tiny amounts of gold using dangerous chemicals, often in some of the poorest regions of the world. Mining the gold for a single ring can generate more than twenty tons of mine waste, according to the No Dirty Gold Campaign, Gold mining leaves behind toxins such as cyanide and sulfuric acid, which pollute air, soil, and water. And when mines exhaust the gold in a particular region, they frequently close up shop without repairing the ecological damage and economic dependence left behind. In addition, gold mining has been implicated in human rights abuses in Ghana and the Congo.

Consider recycled gold
One way to find gold wedding bands without contributing to the destructive mining of virgin gold is to purchase wedding rings made from recycled gold.
  • GreenKarat:, 800.330.4605.
  • Leber Jeweler:, 312.944.2900.
  • Brilliant Earth:, 800.691.0952. Brilliant Earth, based in San Francisco, not only uses only recycled metal in their rings, but is also committed to conflict free diamonds. In addition, 5% of all their profits are donated to directly benefit African communities damaged by the diamond business.
Be sure to ask any jeweler you are considering purchasing from if any of their gold products come from recycled materials. More gold jewelry comes from recycled gold than in years past, so there is a good chance at least part of the gold in their collection could come from recycled gold sources. 
Consider heirloom or vintage wedding bands
There may already be pieces of beautiful jewelry in your family that you can use as meaningful wedding bands, or a gemstone that can be re-set for a new ring. Or shop in vintage boutiques for second-hand pieces of jewelry. Finding previously loved jewelry can conserve both money and resources.

Look for gold jewelry from “Golden Rules” retailers
The No Dirty Gold Campaign has drawn up a list of “Golden Rules” for the socially and environmentally responsible sourcing of mined gold. If you decide to purchase gold rings for your celebration, try to patronize one of the more than three dozen major jewelry retailers that have pledged to adhere to these guidelines, found at, and to avoid the campaign’s list of industry “laggards.”

Regardless of where you end up purchasing gold jewelry, you can ask jewelers to ensure that the gold in their products was not produced at the expense of local communities, workers, and the environment by signing the No Dirty Gold pledge:

Reconsider gold wedding bands
One way to avoid participating in the dirty mining of gold is to look for wedding bands made of another, less scarce, material, such as the meticulously handcrafted wooden wedding bands from Wood Rings, Based in Marin County, this company  produces rings made of wood, wood and gold, and wood and silver, and partners with American Forests, who works to restore and enhance North American Forests.
“Your teachings are more precious than gold, even more precious than much fine gold, and sweeter than honey ...”
--Tehillim/Psalms 19:11

“My wedding band is a daily reminder of the commitment that Harlan and I made to each other. Every time I look at it, I feel happy and remember the moments we shared under the chuppah. Because I wanted to only have positive connotations with my ring, I chose to purchase a band made of 100% recycled platinum from By doing so, I ensured that my ring was produced under fair labor standards and didn’t necessitate environmentally destructive mining.” 800.330.4605
—Paula Wertheim Luxenberg
Have suggestions? Real-life stories using these or other ideas? Please share them with us for future versions of the Guide!