Two years ago my Facebook newsfeed was filled with blurry Thirsty-Thursday snapshots. It has now transformed into a flurry of engagement announcements, barn-chic wedding albums, and #weddinghashtagsfordays.
While we may be the generation to be a bit flashy on social media, it turns out that millennials are actually more financially practical than our materialistic reputation suggestions. Not only are millennials frugal with splurging, we are more likely to consider the impact of our purchases. As a result, the diamond industry is changing drastically.
Though I have no plans of getting married myself in the near future, I think it’s crucial that our generation takes a mindful approach to tying the knot.
Here’s the case for buying secondhand engagement rings and diamonds
1.It’s smarter and more cost-effective
(Click below to pin it!)
The rule of thumb has always been to spend two months worth of your monthly salary on a wedding ring. That tradition is slightly changing, but the average engagement ring is still about $5,000 in the United States. Yikes.
As a result, 4/10 millennials actually say that they would sell their engagement rings to pay for a major life purchase. According to a new study by WP Diamonds, engagement rings are low on the buying list, behind student loans, housing, car payments, and travel. Low and behold, we are more interested in security and experiences, instead of material possessions.
But why can’t we have our avocado toast and eat it too?
Buying secondhand engagement rings can cut the cost in half without compromising on style or value. It’s time we make new traditions that won’t break the bank.
2. It’s the most ethical choice
I’m sorry to tell you, but it’s no secret that the diamond industry has a lot of blood on its hands-literally. The United Nations defines “conflict” or “blood” diamonds as “…diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments.”
In Central and Western Africa, these diamonds are traded to fund war. In Sierra Leone, blood diamonds funded the armed conflict that led to 75,000 deaths and another 2 million displaced. Men, women, and children have been forced into slavery to extract these diamonds. According to NewsWeek, this war is what also worsened the Ebola crisis.
It’s been 15 years since to global attempt to ban “conflict diamonds”, and luckily the percentage on the market has dropped from 25 to 5 percent. However, the conventional diamond industry is still highly problematic.
As Time Magazine reports, “diamond mining even outside a conflict area can be brutal work, performed by low-paid, sometimes school-age miners.”
The complex supply chain of the industry can make it extremely difficult to track where exactly diamonds are sourced.
As it turns out, us millennials do in fact care about this. 90 percent of millennials will buy from a brand whose social and environmental impact they trust.
The best way to support conflict-free mining is to opt for secondhand engagement rings. Doing so ensures that there is not additional unethical labor involved in sourcing these rings.
Because why should a symbol of purity come at the expense of exploiting others?
3. It’s better for the environment
(open-pit mine in Canada)
The Greener Diamond Organization states, “it is so important that the definition of a conflict diamond is redefined to include the protection of the environment”.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s almost impossible to find a new diamond on the market with minimal impact on people and the planet.
In many of the traditional diamond-mining countries, the extraction process causes soil erosion, deforestation, and displacement of local populations. For example, many abandoned mines in Sierra Leone are left completely empty and destroy the entire eco-system.
But even the ethical alternatives in Canada can have the same impact. The environmental impact statements show that these open-pit mines leak chemicals into Canada’s waters, harm fish and birdlife population, and literally uproot millions of tons of rock and soil each year.
But as Time Magazine quotes, “Millennial consumers are looking for more than the 4Cs [the classic Cut, Carat, Clarity and Color]”.
Buying secondhand engagement rings and diamonds is the most eco-friendly option on the market. This way, you’re giving the diamond rings that already exist a second life.
4. It can still feel just as custom and unique
You may be totally nodding your head right now to all of the aforementioned, but still be stuck on one thing: I want my (or my partner’s) engagement ring to be special. I want it to be made for them and feel as good as new.
This is understandable. But 9/10, I bet you wouldn’t even notice secondhand engagement rings are pre-owned. And actually, diamonds are resold all the time. There’s a chance that the diamond sold at the store may have been returned or resold as well.
Besides, you might be able to actually find the design you’re looking for at a better price on the secondhand market while taking it off the hands of someone who’s grateful to sell it.
This is the concept that started DELGATTO | IDoNowIDon’t, the sponsor behind this post. The company came about when Josh Opperman tried to sell his ex-fiance’s wedding ring and was only offered 30 percent of what he paid originally.
Now the award-winning marketplace is the top seller in the secondhand diamond industry and has been featured in Forbes, Buzz Feed, Marie Claire, and the Today Show. Their marketplace sells engagement rings, wedding bands, and diamond jewelry for a variety of budgets.
And if you’d like to trade a few of your old jewelry pieces for cash to travel the world instead, you can also sell your old jewelry on DELGATTO | IDoNowIDont as well.
As for me, I’m not sure who I’m getting married to or when, but I’ve already made up my mind on one thing. I’ll be opting to buy my engagement ring secondhand.
*this post was written by myself but sponsored by the recycled jewelry marketplace, Delgatto | IDoNowIDon’t. As always, all opinions are genuine and my own. Other opinions expressed on The Mindful Mermaid do not necessarily reflect those of this brand.