When Krish Himmatramka was working as an engineer in the oil industry, he would spend his spare time in his trailer in northern Louisiana scouring the internet for the perfect engagement ring for his girlfriend. But he struggled to find one that was ethically and sustainably produced.

After researching the jewelry industry, he decided to quit his job and start the brand Do Amore, which means “I give with love” in Latin. His girlfriend’s ring—structured with recycled rose gold and an oval diamond from Botswana—was one of the first Do Amore created.

Himmatramka’s rings have an average price of about $3,000 and can be made using natural diamonds or lab-grown ones such as moissanite, an alternative in the crystal family. But what really sets the rings apart, he says, is that proceeds from the purchase of each one contribute to providing water to an underserved area. The company has given almost 8,900 people access to clean water through 25 wells built in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, and Nepal.

Consumers insisting that their diamonds be conflict-free or ethically mined and sold is nothing new. But brands including Do Amore, Vrai, Brilliant Earth, and Clean Origin feel the need to go further, touting minimal carbon emissions and the use of recycled gold and platinum to appeal to the millennial and Gen Z clients that care about combating climate change.

Three-quarters of millennials say they’d alter their buying habits because of environmental concerns, according to a report from Jefferies Financial Group Inc., while 34% of baby boomers would do the same. But millennials and Gen Z will account for an estimated four-fifths of luxury industry growth in the coming years—and companies are responding.

“Shoppers today really talk about voting with their wallets,” says Kegan Fisher, co-founder of jewelry service Frank Darling. “As I look more to startup brands and new companies that are forming, everyone is thinking about that from the get-go, not as an add-on.”

Doing More
The toll that producing sparkly gems takes on the environment often goes largely unnoticed, but customers are waking up to the reality that beautiful jewelry often has an ugly side. Each metric ton of gold produced last year was responsible for 32,689 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the World Gold Council. That’s the same amount as burning about 36 million pounds of coal.

A report released in May by Trucost for the Diamond Producers Association found that diamond mining by its members, including Alrosa, De Beers Group, and Rio Tinto, produced 160kg of carbon dioxide per polished carat in 2016. By comparison, the production of a 13-inch Apple MacBook Air contributes 136kg of carbon, according to the report.

The rings from Do Amore are made from recycled gold, palladium, and platinum and are displayed in ring boxes made from jarrah wood, which is grown in forests in New Zealand and Australia through an operations that preserves the biodiversity and soil quality of the local ecosystem.

The company has also signed the No Dirty Gold campaign, which supports groups working to end water and land pollution from gold mining practices.

First « 1 2 3 » Next