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Diamonds Aren't a Girl's Best Friend (Unless They're Recycled)

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I used to have a thing for diamonds. Maybe it was too many afternoons eating popcorn and watching old VHS movies -- Marilyn in the pink dress, Audrey in the oversized sunglasses -- or maybe it was just the fairy-tale scenario that little girls seem to be steeped in since birth.

In any case, I brandished my great-grandmother's single solitaire with pride through high school and college, until the day my husband and I decided -- on a whim, after two weeks of knowing each other, at the ripe old age of 25 -- to get married, and it became my official engagement ring.

I'm still pining for the diamonds that got away, an eternity strand set in yellow gold that would replace the boring old band that sits matron-like on my ring finger.

If I knew then what I know now about gold mining -- it leads to razed forests, disrupted ecosystems and giant trenches of earth poisoned by cyanide and sulphuric acid that pollute the water table and, according to the EPA, generate more toxic waste than any other industry in America -- I wouldn't have chosen that gold ring in the first place.

I would have gone vintage -- you know how much I love to pop some tags -- or looked for designers that use recycled metals, like Alkemie, Melissa Joy Manning and Tumbleweed Bead Co.

And had I been in the market for diamonds, I would have sought out ethical wedding and engagement ring designers like Brilliant Earth, which collects conflict-free diamonds from environmentally sustainable Canadian mines -- rather than African mines, which are known for funding wars, child exploitation and environmental degradation -- and sets them in recycled metals.

These rings symbolize a commitment to ethical values, as well as love. And we do have an anniversary coming up.

Honey, are you reading this?

Nothing in this post is sponsored. There's no free diamond on my finger!

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