News

3 Conflict-free & Ethical Alternatives to Black and Salt & Pepper Diamonds October 17 2017

We love black diamonds, raw diamonds, and salt and pepper diamonds as much as the next person looking for a unique, alternative engagement ring. But unfortunately, the majority of those diamonds aren’t truly conflict-free (because at Aide-mémoire Jewelry, we know that relying on the Kimberly Process alone does not actually mean that a diamond is conflict-free)—so what’s a person to do? Well, we’ve tracked down a few great ethical, eco-friendly and conflict-free alternatives.

Black Spinel

.50ct Solitaire Octagon Engagement Ring with Black Diamond Alternative Ethical Black Spinel

Our 5mm Octagon Engagement Ring in matte 14k yellow gold, with a fair trade black spinel center stone.

We're excited to be able to offer black spinel as an ethical gemstone alternative to black diamonds! Black spinels look similar to a black diamonds, but are much less expensive. They are a deep, opaque black color, and are an 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. These black spinel are a fair trade level one, meaning that they can be traced back to the mine in Tasmania Australia, where our fair trade stone supplier have a significant impact on the mining itself. Black spinel is softer than a sapphire, but generally wears well and is more durable than topaz. 

Grey​ ​Moissanite

5mm Gray Salt & Pepper Moissanite Rustic Solitaire Engagement Ring in Rose Gold

Our 5mm Rustic Solitaire Engagement Ring, pictured in matte 14k rose gold with a grey moissanite.

Looking for an ethical and eco-friendly option for salt & pepper diamonds? Grey moissanite has a similar speckled appearance, making them a great (and ethical) alternative. Moissanite is about a 9.25 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, which makes them well suited for daily wear. These grey moissanites were part of a limited edition run by Charles & Colvard. We have several in stock in a range of sizes/shapes/colors. However, because they were limited edition, once they're gone, they’re gone.

For more information on moissanite, check out our blog posts here and here.

Dark​ ​Blue​ ​Australian ​Sapphires

Blue Black Sapphire Crown Solitaire Engagement Ring in Palladium

Our classic 5mm Crown Solitaire in matte 950 palladium, with a deep blue Australian sapphire center stone.

These deep blue/black Australian sapphires are a unique alternative to black diamonds. They have a fascinating depth to them, appearing mostly black, but flash with subtle hints of blue under direct light. Sapphires are a 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, so are suited for daily wear, and we have a limited number of these beautiful stones in stock in 5mm round.

Send us a message to get started customizing your engagement ring with one of these gorgeous stones!


Customize Your Ring with Colored Gemstones July 29 2016

You know you want a unique ring and you're pretty sure that you're interested in a colored gemstone--but where do you go from there? What are your ethical options?

We have a wide range of ethical gemstones to select from, with two newly available options!

Chatham Padaradscha Sapphires

Pink stones have been increasing in popularity in recent years, but many available options aren't hard enough to hold up to daily or near daily wear in a ring setting. We have a wide range of Padparadscha sapphires available to us, ranging from light pinks and peachs to more vivid pinks and fiery orange reds, in a wide range of cuts and sizes to fit our Engagement Ring settings.

4mm Chatham Padparadscha Sapphire Crown Solitaire Engagement Ring

Peach Chatham Padparadscha Sapphire Cushion

5mm Rustic Cushion Engagement Ring, 14k Rose, Light Peach Padparadscha Sapphire

padparadscha sapphires

5mm Rustic Cushion Engagement Ring, 14k White, Light Pink Padparadscha Sapphire

chatham padparadscha and chatham morganite

Can you tell the difference?

We get a lot questions asking about creating custom engagement rings with morganite, which has a tendency to chip over the course of its lifetime, making less than ideal for setting in a ring. That's why we had Chatham color match a Padparadscha sapphire for us! The stone on the right is Chatham Morganite and the left is our color-matched Chatham Padparadscha Sapphire! It has the same color and look as the Morganite option, but with a resistance to chip and scratching, so there's no need to worry about damaging your ring!

Don't see the color you're looking for? Our Chatham Sapphires are also available in a wide range of colors, shades, and cuts--send us a message or check out more of our available options here! Looking for a natural, ethical sapphire? Take a look at our Montana and Australia round cut options!

Grey Moissanite

These limited edition stones have a very unique look and color! Because of the way that moissanite is grown, its inclusions present as needle-like, which give the grey moissanite a cloudiness similar to black and raw diamonds, making them a great (and ethical) alternative.

As these are a limited edition product, our supply is also limited. Please contact us for availability or for an estimate.

grey moissanite cushions, 5mm

grey moissanite, 5mm round

Not quite sure what you're looking for, but interested in doing some more research? Read about 4 Ways to Choose an Ethical Diamond and Lab-Grown Gemstones!


Exciting news! November 24 2015

Exciting news here at Aide-mémoire Jewelry! We now have a limited selection of earrings available with only a 3 week lead time! These earrings come in 14k Yellow Gold or 14k White Gold settings, and Moissanites or Diamonds. You can find the earrings here.

 


An Eco-Friendly Choice: Lab-Grown Gemstones October 02 2014

Here at Aide-Mémoire Jewelry, we meet a lot of new clients who are perfect examples of what makes the Pacific Northwest so special: they value the environment, and love living in an area where the ocean meets the mountains meets the forest meets the city. They are nature-lovers through and through! This is what makes us the perfect team.

Image courtesy Andie Powers. Photo by Jaquilyn Shumate Photography

Most couples who value nature and the environment want to wear a piece of nature: a natural stone. The term “lab-grown” makes them feel uncomfortable and as if they are choosing something unnatural. However, one of the best things that eco-friends can do for the environment is invest in a lab-grown, synthetic or cultured stone.  

Does that mean that a lab-grown gemstone is not a real gemstone? No! The only thing that differentiates a lab-grown stone from a mined gemstone is its point of origin. Here are some benefits to a synthetic or cultured stone:

• They are REAL gemstones in every sense: chemically, physically, atomically and optically.  
• Lab-grown gemstones have a significantly lower impact on the environment.
• They are typically created by skilled laborers that receive fair wages and benefits, unlike most foreign mining practices.
• Lab-grown diamonds are rated with the same rating system as mined diamonds--the Four C’s--which are Clarity, Cut, Color and Carat Weight, and are available in different colors. 
• The primary lab-grown stones that Aide-mémoire offers are lab-grown diamonds (by request) and Chatham created gemstones (an option for many of our engagement rings).


Another type of gemstone is a simulant (not to be confused with a synthetic gemstone). Some common simulants are diamond simulants--stones that resemble diamonds--such as cubic zirconia, Moissanite, white sapphire, and lead crystal. These stones are usually much less expensive than mined or synthetic diamonds.

  

5mm Moissanite Rustic Cushion Cut Engagement Ring
5mm Moissanite Rustic Cushion Cut Engagement Ring. Choose from Moissanite, Forever Brilliant Moissanite, or a Chatham Sapphire.

Moissanite is another type of gemstone to consider if you want to minimize your eco-footprint--and one of our favorites! This is a jewel created from silicon carbide (SiC), based on naturally-occuring Moissanite (very rare--and originally found in meteorite particles). These are very hard and durable gemstones, second only to diamonds, but are much more brilliant!  

If you’ve really got your heart set on a non-synthetic or non-cultured stone, a recycled diamond may be another option for you. These are diamonds that are naturally occurring in nature and were previously set in jewelry which has since been removed, re-polished, then sold as loose diamonds. 

Questions about lab-grown or synthetic gemstones? Send us an email! We'd be happy to talk you through your options.