If Valentine’s Day has got you thinking about popping the question sometime soon, then you’ve probably already started looking at the different types of rings available.
Choosing the right cut, clarity and carot can all be factors that influence the overall price of an engagement ring. And let’s be honest, if you’ve already started your search for the perfect ring, then you may be wondering how people can afford diamonds the size of a grape - as they’re certainly not cheap!
But natural diamond rings aren’t the only option and there are other more affordable (and ethical) ways to show your special someone just how much they mean to you. After all, if you’ve started your search, you may be aware that there are some negativities around some natural diamonds and the environments that they are sourced from.
The lifecycle of a natural diamond
It’s widely known that diamonds start their life as a rough stone that is buried deep within the earth. But what many people are not aware of is that extracting and mining diamonds can be a bit of a messy business, and in some severe cases, put human lives at risk.
There are many different forms of diamond mining, but the three most common ways are open-pit, underground and alluvial mining.
Open-pit and underground mining usually involves fancy equipment and technology that extracts the stones from deep within the ground. While the machinery used may not be viewed as that sustainable, this way of mining is more ethical than others. Alluvial mining, however, is quite the opposite. This type of mining involves manual labour, with workers physically sourcing the rocks themselves. In some case, workers can experience bad working conditions and can easily be exploited if working for the wrong types of people.
And while it’s certainly not the case that every natural diamond is sourced unethically, it’s worth being aware that disposing of the waste that mining produces can often cause severe damage to the environment too.
Leftover rocks (also known as tailings) can often be deposited in large man-made dams. The waste is then dumped into a ‘tailing ponds’ and covered in toxic chemicals such as arsenic and cyanide, which are strong enough to dissolve lead, copper and zinc. As you can imagine, these types of chemicals are dangerous and can both containment groundwater and cause death to any nearby living creatures. Not exactly the fairy-tale image you’d pictured, huh?
Okay, okay, so before we put you off proposing completely it’s probably also worth mentioning that not all diamond manufactures source and dispose of diamonds in this way. But it is worth asking the question about where the diamond you intend to buy came from, when it comes to that all important purchase.
Ethical lab-grown diamonds
Now you can actually buy a diamond in a more safe and ethical way! Lab-grown diamonds are a popular trend that many people are leaning towards when buying their special someone a diamond that is both beautiful and sustainable.
Lab diamonds are made up of nearly all the same chemicals as mined diamonds and look exactly the same appearance-wise. They have the same sparkle, hardness and durability. The only real difference is that they’re made in a lab, rather than the earth. Oh, and they also do not have any traces of nitrogen (which natural diamonds do).
Don’t get us wrong. A perfectly cut lab diamond can still come with a hefty price tag as it’s pretty much identical to the ‘real thing’. But, in some cases, a small cut lab-grown diamond can be up to 40% cheaper than naturally mined diamonds so are not only easy on the eye, but easy on the wallet too.
What has ethical diamonds got to do with travel?
Now, what has all this got to do with travel? Well, at Alpha, we know that many couples travel abroad to ask that all important question. And as a brand who promotes sustainable travel, we try to help guide our customers to make ethical choices during their trips.
Whichever type of diamond you choose, it’s especially important to have financial protection in place if you are travelling overseas with it. From a travel insurance perspective, the full value of the ring probably won’t be covered under your personal possessions cover limit as travel insurance policies aren’t designed to protect high valuable items.
What you should do instead is insure the ring under your home or contents insurance and make sure it offers away-from-home protection too. That means that should it become lost, damaged or stolen in the run up or during the engagement, your insurer will most likely cover the costs.
If you are planning to travel abroad (or even away from home in the UK) to ask your special someone to marry you, then the last thing you need is a holiday mishap that ruins the big day. So, it’s especially important to have travel insurance in place for any other disasters that could happen during a break, such as trip cancellation, lost luggage, emergency medical assistance and much more. Why not check out our couples travel insurance and get a quote with Alpha Travel Insurance today?
Alpha Travel Insurance is a trading name of Travel Insurance Facilities Plc, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FRN306537. tifgroup is trading name of Travel Insurance Facilities Plc registered in England No. 3220410. tifgroup; all rights reserved. Registered Office: 1 Tower View, Kings Hill, West Malling, ME19 4UY. All policies offered are on a non-advised basis