Tamara McFarland, of McFarland Designs, creates jewelry made with recycled metals and conflict-free stones. She also donates a portion of her sales profits each month to a different charity in order to help make the planet healthier and happier. Because of her dedication to earth-friendly ideals, we chose her to create our custom wedding rings.
I feel it is important to share some excerpts from Tamara's website which explain some of the issues surrounding metals and gemstones and how she goes about trying to use these materials in conscious ways:
I use 100% recycled Harmony Metals and fair trade stones in my designs. I realize that the terms ‘ethical’ and ‘fair trade’ are somewhat subjective at this moment in time in the jewelry industry, as there are no established guidelines yet for fair trade metal and gemstone mining.
"All precious metals at Hoover & Strong are 100% recycled. When it is necessary to obtain metals from other sources, we buy metal from other earth-friendly refineries that, like us, only use recycled metal. We require any secondary refinery to provide in writing, full disclosure of their metal sources."
The situation with gemstones is a bit more complicated. Everyone has different ideas about what the best ways are to protect workers and the environment, and as with many other ethical conundrums, it can be tough to know what the right decision is. While I am always open to considering other perspectives, here’s what I’m comfortable with right now – (1) lab-created stones, (2) stones that are mined and cut in the US, and (3) stones obtained from outside the US through channels that can be verified to be promoting environmental health, worker safety, and local communities.
With all this transparency about Tamara's material sources, we decided that she was perfect for us. Although there are other jewelers out there who try to work in a similar fashion, we were sold on Tamara's honesty on her website, quality of previous work, and the ease with which we were able to communicate with her about what we wanted. After several emails back and forth discussing different options, Tamara created these beautiful rings for us out of recycled 14k white gold:
Initially we had tried to incorporate a diamond that we had been given by a family member, but it was difficult because I wasn't comfortable shipping it across the country, and the ring design I really wanted (which is what we ended up choosing) wasn't going to work with that stone. The ring that was designed for me has 5 stones - one for each year we will have been married at the time of our vow renewal. They are alternating moissanite and emerald, which are our birthstones (moissanite is a lab-created stone, similar to a diamond).
We love our rings so much, that I am considering having McFarland Designs create earrings and necklace for our wedding day as well.
For more information about diamond mining, check out this book: