We went to an antique jewelery store in Boulder yesterday and were disappointed by the overly-ornate jewelery and the hoity-toity-ness of the employees.
We stumbled into a very small traditional shop, in search of more antique store leads. We were impressed by the variety, as well as the warmth of the store owner. It got me thinking (and I'm sharing my thoughts with you so you can call me out on my potential hypocrisy): Would it really be so terrible for me to buy a ring from a traditional store?
First of all, I would only be purchasing half of what the average person purchases for their wedding rings (since we did not purchase engagement rings). Secondly, I do not own (nor do I plan on purchasing) any other "real" jewelery.
As an environmentalist, I'm always trying to find a good spot on the spectrum from absolutism to hypocrisy. For example, I'm a vegetarian who wears leather. In my mind, we can't drive ourselves completely insane by adhering uncompromisingly to rigid principles in our current world (i.e., absolutism). But on the other hand, we can't compromise our principles every time it's convenient for us. For example, even if a meat dish is the only option available, I won't succumb just because I'm hungry.
So I don't know how I feel about going the traditional route. I definitely wouldn't get a diamond (but I'm not deluding myself into thinking that the environmental and social impact of mining metal and other jewels isn't also disgusting).
Interestingly, a promising alternative has sprung up. An environmentally conscious jewelery designer--greenKarat--lets you send in old gold and they recycle it into new jewelery. Matt's mom has graciously offered to donate one of her rings to the cause, and I'm wondering if I could also round up some support. I like how it promotes environmental consciousness and it's quite sentimental. A good balance, I'd say.