Keen to do things differently, the new Sponsor that we are introducing on the blog today encourages couples to look beneath the surface of wedding and engagement rings to discover where the materials to create the designs were sourced and by whom each has been made.
Welcome, Ingle & Rhode, branded ‘The Ethical Jeweller’ for their conscious approach to deliver ethically sourced and totally-traceable ring designs, without compromising on beautiful craftsmanship.
Set up by David Rhode and Tim Ingle, the company prides itself on its collection of wedding and engagement rings created using conflict-free diamonds and gemstones, and recycled or Fairtrade gold or platinum, for feel-good jewellery that avoids environmental damage and labour exploitation, with all rings made to order here in the UK.
Meanwhile, for those wanting something truly individual and unique, Ingle & Rhode offer a bespoke service where couples can visit its showroom to create a custom ring with the help of its expert craftsmen and women.
Here to tell us more and showcase some of Ingle & Rhode’s stunning designs is one half of the pioneering and caring duo, David Rhode…
Can you give us a brief overview of what Ingle & Rhode offers to couples ?
David says: Ingle & Rhode began with my own hunt for an ethically sourced engagement ring back in 2006. I was unable to find a jeweller who could tell me where their diamonds had come from or the conditions under which their jewellery was produced – it was hugely frustrating and surprising as many fine jewellers that claim to use conflict-free diamonds can’t guarantee this.
This experience sparked the idea for a jewellery brand which could do things better. I enlisted the help of my friend, Tim Ingle, and we set about establishing a jewellery company centred on ethics and sustainability. That’s how Ingle & Rhode came to be.
We currently specialise in ethical eternity, wedding and engagement rings, using only conflict-free traceable diamonds, such as Canadian diamonds and Fairtrade gold or recycled platinum.
Another popular part of the business is our bespoke wedding and bespoke engagement rings offering, our clients can sit with one of our designers at our London showroom or talk through their needs over the phone, to create a one-of-a-kind custom engagement or wedding ring. All our rings are made here in the UK by master craftsmen and women.
What are the main materials used by Ingle & Rhode to make rings and how are such materials sourced?
Conflict-free traceable diamonds and gemstones such as emeralds, rubies and sapphires. Canadian diamonds come with a certificate of origin and unique number engraved into them to ensure traceability.
We use only Fairtrade gold to create our white gold, yellow gold and rose gold rings, this ensures better pay and working conditions for miners. We also only use recycled platinum as there is no Fairtrade equivalent currently – recycled platinum is the same quality as recently mined platinum.
Why would you encourage couples to select ethical jewellery – in what ways would they be benefitting others and the climate?
There are a growing number of jewellery brands who use terms like ‘green’ and ‘ethical’, however they are simply using this as a marketing tactic to mislead clients and cannot support these claims if probed. For example, the Kimberly Process was established to tackle blood diamonds and many jewellers will therefore say they offer conflict-free Kimberly certified diamonds but there are many loopholes with this which means diamonds can still be smuggled from conflict zones to be certified.
To avoid any issues, we only use diamonds from traceable sources such as Canadian diamonds, this avoids the risk of any human rights abuses and as much environmental damage occurring.
By offering the use of recycled gold and platinum in our rings we also avoid further environmental damage caused by mining. Recycled gold and platinum have the exact same quality as newly mined precious metals.
Can you tell us about the choice and styles of wedding and engagement rings that you offer?
We offer a range of diamond engagement rings and sapphire engagement rings in our collection. However, our bespoke service means clients can also create rings using rubies, emeralds or other gemstones. Popular styles also include the trilogy or vintage-style halo engagement rings. We find many of our clients are particularly keen on using rose gold in their ring.
For our collection of wedding rings, we offer all of the traditional styles such as court bands, flat court bands and D-shaped rings in recycled platinum and Fairtrade white gold or yellow gold. We also offer bespoke finishes such as matt or milgrain edges, some of our clients prefer unique wedding rings incorporating diamonds or other gemstones, which we are happy to create.
What advice would you offer when shopping for an engagement and/or wedding rings – what are the main elements to take into consideration?
Is the stone conflict-free?
Many jewellers will tell you that their diamonds are “Kimberley-certified” and are therefore conflict-free – but this is not enough. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was introduced in 2003 in an attempt to eliminate the trade in conflict diamonds; however, diamonds produced in conflict zones are still being smuggled to KPCS regions to be certified. The problem is therefore far from eradicated, and blood diamonds from places like eastern DRC and Zimbabwe are still on the market. If your jeweller cannot trace a precious stone back to its source, you cannot be certain that it is conflict-free. Kimberley Process Certification is not enough.
Can my jeweller tell me exactly where this stone was produced?
If your jeweller cannot trace a precious stone back to its exact source, you cannot be certain that it hasn’t been smuggled from a conflict zone, so you should steer clear. For example, Ingle & Rhode’s diamonds come only from the Ekati and Diavik mines in Canada where they are mined, cut and polished with due care for the environment and human rights. Many of the larger stones are even engraved using Canadamark certification. They are all traceable and 100% conflict-free.
Where has this diamond been cut and polished?
Despite being conflict-free, many diamonds and other precious stones are still cut and polished in sweatshop conditions, often by children, for well below the minimum wage. Make sure your jeweller knows your stone’s source, so that you can be sure it has been cut and polished according to strict guidelines.
Is the metal either Fairtrade or recycled platinum?
Ask you jeweller if they source certified Fairtrade gold. Workers in Fairtrade certified gold mines receive a guaranteed Fairtrade Minimum Price for their gold as well as a Premium to spend on improving their businesses or on community projects, such as education, clean water and healthcare.
If you’re looking for a platinum ring, unfortunately there is no Fairtrade platinum available at the moment. However, you should ask your jeweller if they can offer recycled platinum. Recycled platinum is indistinguishable from new metal but greatly reduces demand on mines, thereby lessening the impact of unethical mining practices.
Where will my ring be made and by who?
Most of the jewellery bought in the UK has been manufactured in countries in Asia. This is a cost-saving approach for businesses here but comes at the expense of working conditions and pay as well as the quality of the finished ring. The best jewellery is not made this way. Your jeweller should be able to tell you exactly where your jewellery was made, and ideally the names of the craftsmen and women who created it. For example, Ingle & Rhode only use craftsmen and designers here in the UK, so you know your ring hasn’t had to travel miles around the globe.
What metals and designs are proving particularly popular for wedding rings at the moment?
Fairtrade white gold and platinum wedding rings are the most popular currently.
What would you suggest for couples wanting wedding bands that differ to the norm?
We have created thousands of bespoke rings since 2007 and many of those have been unique or unusual wedding rings. We’d recommend discussing your requirements with us face to face or give us a call so we can give some initial guidance, however anything is possible, and we are happy to work with you to create your truly unique wedding band.
In terms of engagement rings, are there any particular settings, designs, stones proving particularly popular at the moment?
Classic diamond engagement rings in white gold, featuring a round brilliant cut or cushion cut diamond are still very popular, however there is a growing trend for rings using rose gold. We have also seen the trilogy (three stone) engagement ring style grow in popularity, most likely from coverage Meghan Markle’s engagement ring received.
There is also more demand for non-diamond engagement rings, such as those using ruby, emerald or sapphire gemstones.
What is the feedback like from couples about Ingle & Rhode?
We have 5-star reviews across Trustpilot, Google Reviews and Facebook and the direct feedback we receive tells us that clients appreciate our honest and ethical approach without the pushy tactics common in the industry. It’s a great feeling when a client comes back in to choose their wedding bands after having had such a positive experience sourcing an ethical engagement ring.
How can our readers get in touch or find out more?
We’d love to discuss with any readers their requirements for wedding, engagement or eternity rings. We can also offer other bespoke jewellery options. Simply give us a call on 020 7499 2012, send us your enquiry via our website or visit our London based showroom. Please also get in touch if you wish to learn more about our ethical sourcing policies and how we do things differently at Ingle & Rhode.