A Vicar’s Guide to Ethical Wedding Rings.

There can be no doubt, marriage remains one of the happiest moments in a person life, and it is the ministers’ good fortune to be a part of that special day. Wedding days create memories that will last long into the future and it continues to be a rite a passage central to every culture of every age.

Equally places of worship are still one of the most popular locations to tie the knot (37% in the UK, according to Wedding Report 2015-2016) and while some vicars are being asked to adjust their thinking, with regard to vows, photography and music, to ease modern day wedding proceedings there are certain traditions that continue steadfast including the exchange of wedding rings.

For many faiths, especially Christianity and Judaism, the exchange of rings between two people is a sign of love and commitment and this beautiful and time-honoured tradition is one that continues at nuptials, regardless of the faith and gender of those getting wed.

According to The Church of England Statistics for Mission 2015, there were 47,000 Church of England (CofE) marriages and services of prayer and dedication after civil marriages during 2015. The Book of Common Prayer of 1662 provides the traditional vows that accompany the exchange of wedding rings:

“With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

Although the matters of worshipping with the body and endowing worldly goods are now often modified in line with modern thoughts, the symbolism of the wedding ring remains sacred. The equality of the spouses is emphasised in the Roman Catholic Church when the bride and groom recite these words and exchange their rings in turn:

“take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

In Judaism, Orthodox grooms declare the following words in Hebrew while both bride and groom declare them in Reform Judaism:

“You are consecrated to me with this ring according to the law of Moses and Israel.”

With so many cultural changes afoot yet so many wedding ceremonies taking place regardless, is is time for religious leaders and representatives, such as vicars, priests, reverends and rabbis, to engage with the changes of the world we live in and the importance of sustainable, Fairtrade wedding rings as symbols of pure, everlasting love? Here are our suggestions:

  1. Accountability, traceability and justice.

It is very important to know the source of the wedding rings you buy but, when it comes to making recommendations, provenance is second to none. Valerio Jewellery is a Fairtrade Gold, and associated precious metals, license holder and all of our gold and Fairtrade silver is sourced from Peru. This means that the miners we work with benefit from improved health and safety, gender equality, environmental standards, a fair price and more. Read more about the benefits of Fairtrade Gold here.

Santa Filomena's primary school has been the beneficiary of Fairtrade Gold premiums. District of Sancos, province of Lucanas, department of Ayacucho, Peru. Photo: Eduardo Martino

Santa Filomena’s primary school has been the beneficiary of Fairtrade Gold premiums. District of Sancos, province of Lucanas, department of Ayacucho, Peru. Photo: Eduardo Martino

What is more, conflict-free diamonds are used for all Valerio Jewellery designs. This means we only source from countries such as Canada, Australia and Botswana where we can guarantee traceability, from mine to market, and we will never use a stone for which provenance is uncertain.

In line with this, we always know the source of our gemstones too. Whether sapphires, rubies or emeralds, you can rest assured that when a ring bears the Valerio Jewellery mark the gemstones used are fully traceable from trusted sources that hold ethics in high regard.

What many people do not know is that the majority (over 80%) of people involved with mining are extremely poor and marginalised, typically earning less than $2 USD a day. Woman, children and old people work in hazardous, ecologically toxic conditions to earn a daily crust. Indeed our friends at Earthworks No Dirty Gold campaign estimate that 20 tonnes of toxic waste is produced to create a single wedding ring. This alone is enough to motivate anyone to move towards and promote Fairtrade Gold wedding rings. Social and ecological justice are at the foundation of all the world’s faith communities, and promoting Fairtrade Gold to prospective couples is a wonderful way of tangibly advancing these aspirational ideals.

  1. Personalisation for special people

Many people will come to you for wedding advice and recommendations but it is important to remember and reiterate that each love and union is unique. This is why Valerio Jewellery offers a bespoke wedding ring design service – we want to make sure that each ring is as special as its recipient.

Look for the Fairtrade stamp as proof your wedding ring is created from Fairtrade Gold.

Look for the Fairtrade stamp as proof your wedding ring is created from Fairtrade Gold.

You already know that a Valerio Jewellery ring will be crafted carefully from Fairtrade gold or silver and fully traceable gemstones or conflict-free diamonds but when you recommend our custom crafted jewellery service we will work with each couple to fulfil their specific needs, from style to practicality. From the initial consultation through the design and creation of their perfect wedding ring, you can be sure we will work with you to delight another happy couple. See our seven steps to heavenly custom crafted fine jeweller for more information.

  1. Harmony and love everlasting

Just as it is your aim to create a harmonious union between two people in the eyes of God, Valerio Jewellery’s ethos is to create a harmonious union between the miner, the retailer and the consumer. With this in mind, we strive to provide each and every customer with the opportunity to mark and celebrate their marriage without the needless exploitation of the planet and other human beings.

Exchanging Wedding Rings - Say I Do to Fairtrade Gold

Exchanging Wedding Rings – Say I Do to Fairtrade Gold

When you promote Fairtrade Gold, you can be sure that each couple will receive a beautiful wedding ring that is ethical and elegant. We create the world’s purest jewellery for men and women and will help to establish that pure and lasting bond with the ultimate symbol of love and commitment. Please see our collection of stunning ethical wedding rings here.

And finally lets support the Fairtrade Gold I Do campaign. Together we can not only transform the lives of marginalised mining communities, but revolutionise the jewellery trade by making Fairtrade Gold a default wedding ring purchase.

Should you, or any of your congregation, require any further assistance, advice or would like to get Greg to come and speak to your community or congregation please contact Greg who will be only too happy to help.