After sharing Our Engagement Story, I’m spilling all the details on my incredible, ethical engagement ring by Saint Mae! This major decision went so much deeper than just shape and style. The amount of time and love poured into the collaborative creation of my one-of-a-kind ring is one of the details I love most about it. It was a milestone moment and investment that also helped contribute to a kinder, more peaceful and sustainable world through Saint Mae’s incredible mission.
John and I didn’t talk about engagement rings. We never went shopping or looked at them online. He expressed to me that he wanted that moment and the ring to be a total surprise. The only thing I asked of John was that the ring be unequivocally conflict free, ethical and sustainable. This meant a hard no to commercial jewelers and diamonds.
A year or so before John popped the question, I occasionally sent rings I liked to my best friend which she dutifully passed along to John. Since getting engaged, I’ve looked back at some of those rings. They were beautiful but my style was all over the board. I was very into round stones for a time, then oval. Some of the rings I shared were super delicate and vintage-looking while others had more of a modern, bohemian flair. I clearly didn’t even know what I wanted with regard to style.
Thankfully, John had a clearer vision on the perfect ring for me. He enlisted the expert help of our dear friend Carli Gerard, owner and founder of Saint Mae, to help bring it to life in the most spectacular way.
Carli is a wildly talented and brilliantly creative female entrepreneur who has made it her mission to align beautiful jewelry with ethics, sustainability and charitability. Something that is rare in this industry saturated with greed, exploitation and unjust practices. Carli has dedicated herself to inspiring change within the jewelry industry, leading by example and setting the standard for what truly beautiful jewelry looks like. Hint: it’s so much more than sparkling stones.
While I get to wear this beauty on my finger everyday I played no part in its creation. Therefore, I’m sharing John and Carli’s voices on this collaboration.
Carli Gerard: Founder of Saint Mae
The Intersection of Jewelry and Ethics:
Carli: At Saint Mae, responsibly sourced diamonds are our passion. It’s estimated that over the last six years, 60 million carats of conflict diamonds made their way into the jewelry market, ready to be sold to people all over the world. The problem is most consumers just have no idea.
A few more quick facts:
- 3 Million Deaths are attributed to Conflict Diamond Mining
- $0.07 – Average daily pay for a conflict diamond worker
- 46% of miners are between the ages of 5-16
- 100 million people in the USA own at least one earth mined diamond
The conflict diamond definition, as per the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), is “a rough diamond mined in an area controlled by rebel forces whose sale is used to finance anti- government military action.”
Traditional earth-mined diamonds are known to have funded civil wars, violence, worker exploitation, and other social injustices. But it doesn’t stop there. Due to a weak regulation of the industry, diamond mining has also caused environmental devastation, severely damaging the land and water – creating irreversible damage to ecosystems.
The good news? With the US accounting for an estimated 50% of diamond jewelry sales, we have the power to make a serious change. Saint Mae goes above and beyond in pursuing only the highest ethical and socially responsible standards for all of the diamonds that are used in each and every one of our pieces.
Say no before you say yes:
Saying yes to responsible sourcing means improving lives, strengthening communities, and protecting the environment along the way. Saint Mae suppliers source stones that originate from specific areas like Canada’s Northwest Territories with respect for the sustainability of the natural environment and people living in the community, demonstrating their commitment to follow internationally recognized labor, trade, and environmental standards.
Saint Mae is a proud partner of @diamondfoundry offering our brides sustainable lab diamonds created in the US. Saying no to commercial, conflict diamonds and yes to a lab diamond as Caroline did means:
- No mining
- No carbon footprint
- No cartel pricing
- No conflicts funded
- No land displacement
- No wildlife displacement
- No animals harmed
- No ground water polluted
- No local communities displaced
At Saint Mae we pride ourselves in solely offering our clients conflict free earth-mined, lab-grown, or alternative stones (repurposing vintage stones, moissanite, etc.) that have been sourced responsibly with respect for the environment and surrounding communities so you can feel confident about the pieces you’re purchasing.
When purchasing jewelry, choose to support businesses who source ethically and produce sustainably. Know where your products are coming from. Choose quality over quantity. Slow fashion instead of over consumption. You have the power to make a real change and we challenge you to join in the revolution.
John: Creating a Custom Ring with Saint Mae
John: Friendship is what initially led me to creating Caroline’s ring with Saint Mae. I knew Carli’s creative eye, attention to detail, impeccable style and the incredible aesthetic of her wedding that Caroline and I attended in 2016. I was fully confident that she would flawlessly execute what I envisioned for Caroline’s ring.
Creating an engagement ring, proposing — all of this was so major and obviously totally unfamiliar to me. Even though we were across the country, Carli made me feel like she was right there, holding my hand through the entire process. She was quick to respond, even if it was an off hour or the weekend. She made herself available which really added that level of attention and care. I felt that she was just as invested in this monumental moment as I was.
Her communication was excellent, especially given this foreign territory for me. She took my design idea and created a computer rendering. After the first round, I realized I wanted the sides open which presented a few challenges but together we adjusted and she made it work.
There were so many elements that I wouldn’t have thought of in the design process like the size of the casing in relation to the size of the band, ensuring the ring would be stackable, the depth of the casing so the diamond wouldn’t poke Caroline’s finger. Carli also assisted me in determining the appropriate diamond for the budget without jeopardizing the clarity or carat size.
Carli made my design fully come to life. Her expertise and precision is very cool to witness. She totally knocked it out of the park.
Join The Revolution
My ring is like nothing I’ve seen before and it’s better than anything I could have dreamt of! Knowing that my ring is 100% conflict free without contributing to civil wars, environmental degradation, child labor and exploited workers makes it even more exquisite.
An engagement ring can be such an enormous and impactful investment. Saint Mae believes in sustainability and slow fashion. Making high quality, responsibly sourced and consciously created pieces that are affordable and transparently priced. Giving back is at their core so they also donate a portion of every sale to VOW to End Child Marriage.
I am such an advocate of supporting a business like Saint Mae when purchasing jewelry. Placing your business and trust with someone who will consciously create with respect and responsibility for the people and planet. As a female entrepreneur myself, I also love that Saint Mae is a female-owned and charitable jeweler.