Are Lab-Grown Diamonds More Ethical Than Vintage Engagement Rings? (2024)

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by Suzanne Sachs  5 min read



Many couples are looking past simple diamond quality and cost when shopping for an engagement ring, and ethics are a big factor in where and how such a significant jewelry piece might be chosen. Between lab-grown diamonds and vintage engagement rings, which can be considered more ethical? The answer is not always straightforward and will depend on what issues a couple values most as they choose their engagement ring.


In this guide, we will explain the following:

  • Defining Ethics
  • The Ethics of Diamonds
  • Mines
  • Labor
  • Impact
  • Policies
  • Ethically Comparing Lab Grown Diamonds and Vintage Engagement Rings
  • Environmental Impact
  • Conflict Free
  • Small Business vs. Large Corporations
  • What is Most Ethical For Your Engagement Ring?

Defining Ethics

Ethics is a moral code of right and wrong, good and bad. All aspects of our lives could be considered from an ethical standpoint, and every individual has different issues where ethics are a greater factor for their lives, whether it is a dietary choice, faith practice, charity support, political decisions, employment, or even shopping options.

The Ethics of Diamonds

There are several ethical questions that could be related to diamonds and might be significant for a soon-to-be-wed couple. When planning an engagement ring purchase, couples will want to consider questions such as:

• Mines

How was the diamond (or diamonds) mined? Did the mine create environmental damage? Were any offsets or mitigation measures used to protect the local ecosystem?

• Labor

What labor was used to mine the stones or create the ring? Were workers hired with fair practices, able to work in safe conditions, and paid a living wage?

• Impact

What is the economic impact of the diamond mine or lab facility? Does the revenue it generates support unfair government practices or terror groups?

• Policies

What are the policies of the jewelry retailer? Do they hire diverse employees, support charitable causes, or follow other ethical practices important to the couple?

It is highly unlikely that a couple will find any individual retailer or perfect engagement ring that will meet EVERY ethical consideration they may value. It is important to prioritize what matters most and feel comfortable with the purchase, even if that may mean it takes longer to choose the best possible ethical engagement ring.




Ethically Comparing Lab-Grown Diamonds and Vintage Engagement Rings

• Environmental Impact

Both lab-grown diamonds and vintage engagement rings can be stunningly beautiful and eye-catching, and they can also be very ethically different depending on what values a couple considers most significant. For example, the environmental impact of both types of diamonds can be very different. Lab-grown diamonds use tremendous amounts of energy to successfully create stones of sufficient size for jewelry use, which can put out large quantities of greenhouse gases.

Vintage engagement rings do not have those problems, but the mining practices when such natural stones were first taken from the earth could have resulted in significant local ecosystem damage which may or may not have been mitigated. Because of the age of vintage rings, it may be difficult to track down a detailed history to document exactly how the ring was first produced. On the other hand, vintage engagement rings have no modern environmental impact, and in essence are a form of recycling as the ring continues its journey with a new generation.


My experience with Vintage Diamond Ring was so excellent I really had to think about it for a while. First their selection of jewelry is profound. The quality is superior.”

 Claude P verified buyer

• Conflict Free

One big consideration with respect to diamonds is the idea of whether or not the stones are blood diamonds or could be considered conflict-free. This generally refers to the economy of diamond mining supporting illegitimate governments, terrorist regimes, or war actions. Most vintage rings were created long before these modern conflicts occurred, but might also have supported less than ethical labor practices in their time. Lab-grown diamonds may not be related to those types of unethical situations, but the large corporations might support different groups that couples do not want to contribute to with their diamond purchase.

I've purchased two vintage rings from Suzanne over the past decade and my wife has loved both. Great service, communication and speedy delivery.”

 Lee S verified buyer

• Small Business vs. Large Corporations

The ethical differences between small businesses and large corporations may also be an ethical concern for couples. Vintage engagement rings are most likely to support small, family-owned businesses and local economies, while lab-created diamonds require the support of large, extensive corporations due to the intensive – and expensive – manufacturing process. To lower the cost of jewelry-grade lab-grown diamonds, the same manufacturing lab may also supply smaller stones for industrial purposes that could be at odds with a couple’s ethics.

What Is Most Ethical for Your Engagement Ring?

Ultimately, a couple needs to consider their engagement ring ethics carefully, and decide which type of ring – lab-grown diamonds or a vintage engagement ring – might best match their personal convictions. By carefully considering what matter most to them and how their engagement ring represents their core values, a couple can choose the best ring to match their ethics and ensure they feel comfortable with this very important and lasting purchase.


Vintage Engagement Rings For Everyone:

No matter which era is your favorite, these time-honored rings have a rich history and individualized character and will continue to have a timeless beauty and elegant appeal that is part of a legacy to pass on to future generations.

Find The Perfect Engagement Ring:

Vintage rings are prized not only for their beauty but also for their exquisite attention to detailing and faceting. If you’re looking for a ring with a sense of glamour, sophistication and vintage charm, explore our collection of vintage engagement rings today!

Suzanne Sachs

Suzanne has always believed vintage rings can change lives. She's been in the jewelry industry for over 35 years, working with vintage jewelers, diamond dealers, diamond cutters, and gemologists. Suzanne started Artdecodiamonds in 2000 and understood the demand for vintage rings throughout the world. She ultimately started in 2014, and understands each vintage ring is a reflection of you – your history, your relationships, your style, your elegance and is honored to have the opportunity to help you showcase your flair in a unique and exquisite way.
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If you love vintage or eco-friendly jewelry please feel free to contact Suzanne or browse our collection of eco-friendly vintage engagement rings.

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