Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blood Platinum?

Unless you are a completely oblivious Bride then you are probably already well aware of the devastating role the world demand for diamonds has had in prolonging conflicts in parts of Africa. Diamonds not certified as having come from legitimate governments are usually referred to as Blood or Conflict Diamonds (and even with a certificate it can be questionable).

This issue has been on our social radars for a while, but today I read a very interesting article on the destructive effect platinum mining has had in southern Africa as well. Who Pays the Price of Platinum? explores the role that platinum mining has played in the displacement of locals from their land and the pollution it has caused in local water sources. This pollution has led to higher rates of death and disease in the local population as well.

Unlike with diamonds, the main destination of platinum is not jewelry markets. Oddly enough the growing demand for clean air is driving the market because platinum is used to create catalytic converters (how ironic, no?). Platinum rings, are also a part of the platinum market, however, and demand for platinum has skyrocketed in the last two decades (the price has skyrocketed as well).

What are your thoughts on this? Knowing that platinum mining causes harm to others does it change your desire to have a platinum ring? Aside from not wearing a ring are there options out there for a wedding ring in which the negative impacts on the earth and on society are minimized? It seems to me that almost any material that has to be taken from the earth has the potential to be destructive...is there a solution?

***In interest of full disclosure my engagement ring and wedding ring are platinum***



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post! Thanks for raising awareness of this important issue!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 9:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting about this. My ring is from GreenKarat; the emerald is created, and stunning, and the 18K white gold is 100 percent post-consumer recycled. They also help buyers recycle their own old jewelry, and have "green" and worker-friendly workbench practices. I knew early on that I didn't want the blood, sweat, or tears of any Colombian or South African children on my symbol of enduring love... And their jewelry is so, so beautiful. We could have spent tens of thousands, but the ring I have is incredibly beautiful, and kind.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 7:14:00 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Very interesting article. It's starting to feel like you can't win no matter what you do.

Friday, March 28, 2008 4:40:00 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

How about purchasing vintage jewelry?

Monday, May 12, 2008 7:27:00 PM  

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