Six essentials when choosing your engagement ring jeweller

Six essentials when choosing your engagement ring jeweller

Marriage is a big step in any relationship. It's a personal journey between two people who love each other and share similar values. The proposal to marry and an engagement ring are often the first serious steps on this journey, and the engagement ring becomes something you will treasure forever. The ring design is very important, but consider the business that will make it for you and if their values align with your own.

  1. Are they based in Australia, and is their jewellery made in Australia?

Australian jewellers must abide by Australian marketing, manufacturing, and employment laws. Australia has some of the tightest laws and a stable government, which helps protect your rights, workers' rights and the environment.


     2. Do they use responsibly sourced gold?

Recycled gold might seem like the right answer, but gold and precious metals will always be recycled due to their high value, so specifying recycled gold doesn't increase recycling or lessen harmful forms of gold mining.

Responsibly mined gold is the best option. Techniques used in responsible mining are less harmful than traditional small-scale mining, leading to a better environmental outcome. The more successful responsible mining processes are, the better they spread, reducing the industry's impact. 

Traceable Australian gold is excellent due to its extremely low use and high control of mercury, as well as the land rehabilitation programs written into law.

It's also nice to know you are supporting Australian jobs, benefiting other Australians, and creating a piece of Australian history to be handed down to future generations. 

The CSIRO (Australia’s government science agency) has developed a gold mining system that is cyanide and mercury free. An Australian-funded testing program concluded late last year in PNG with fantastic results. By specifying Australian gold you are helping to fund amazing projects like this.


     3. Do they provide a lifetime manufacturing warranty? And returns policy?

Established jewellery businesses can often offer extended customer service throughout the life of your chosen jewellery item. In the case of an engagement ring, this could be a lifetime or more. Engagement and wedding rings are significant investments and warranties such as this show the jeweller's confidence in the pieces they make. It also gives you peace of mind to know someone will help if you have an issue with your beloved treasure.


     4. Do they provide responsibly sourced coloured gemstones?

Due to its fragmented nature, the coloured gemstone industry is almost totally unregulated. Many coloured gems are mined by small-scale miners who sell to distributors. This creates a situation where the miners (and gem cutters) have little power and often lose out financially. This can lead to lower health and safety and poorer environmental outcomes.

Tracked and traced, responsibly sourced gems can show a path direct from the jeweller to the miner. The jeweller should be able to include origin information, such as the country and, hopefully, the exact location where the gemstone was mined and faceted. Australian gems, like sapphires and diamonds, are an excellent choice as their mining is governed by strict Australian laws.


     5. Where are their diamonds from?

You prefer Fairtrade, locally roasted coffee, and revel in searching through local beers and wines. You would expect the jewellery industry to treat the origin of diamonds similarly, but that's not the case. 

While the diamond industry is more integrated and better governed today than it was 20 years ago, there is still big money to be made for miners and distributors who work unethically.

When writing, Russian diamonds are being sold in Australia completely legally under the Kimberly Process as “Conflict Free”, but you will never know because suppliers and jewellers don't have to disclose the origin of their diamonds, and in cases like this, prefer not to. This is at a time when the G7 and EU have banned Russian diamond sales. Unfortunately, it's up to you to ask your jeweller where their diamonds are from. Very few will be able to answer with any confidence. If your jeweller doesn't know the origin of their diamonds, consider finding another jeweller like us, Utopian Creations.


     6. Does the jeweller sell Lab or Mined diamonds?

Whether you decide to purchase a mined or lab diamond is a personal choice that should take many things into consideration. If a jeweller chooses to provide only one or the other, they have made a choice for you, removing your right.

We suggest staying away from lab-only jewellery businesses. Generally, these will be new businesses that have tried taking advantage of low costs and high profits. Many will either work from small offices or online only. Hundreds of these lab-only businesses have started and failed over the last 5 years, most being nothing more than marketers and distributors, not manufacturing jewellers. They often have claims of sustainability and eco-friendliness but won't even know where their diamonds are grown.

Be wary of jewellers who only sell mined diamonds. They will tell you that only their diamonds are real and that lab diamonds are bad for the environment, and yet, in most cases, they won’t even know where they were mined, how much land was cleared, or energy was used.

A balanced approach is best, providing you with responsibly sourced options, both lab and mined. Your jeweller should provide in-depth diamond knowledge to help you decide rather than just tell you what they think you should buy. Everyone's ethical and financial situations are different; your jeweller should support this. We’ve written a Blog article, about some of the financial implications of your diamond choice.

Choosing a jeweller who aligns with your values is extremely important. A jeweller often provides lifelong guidance to support some of your most important purchases. Initially, your engagement ring may seem expensive, but within a short time, no matter what its original cost, it will become priceless as a part of your family history. We have skilled jewellers and designers at Utopian Creations who care deeply about our craft. We aim to celebrate the earth and its wonders by creating the highest quality jewellery that helps build a more diverse and beautiful world for all. Distilling your love and values into the physical form of your rings, from precious materials that have created joy and prosperity for the workers and their families in the supply chain. We love sharing our knowledge and look forward to meeting you and your family soon.