What’s the difference?

How do you decide upon a handmade wedding ring or a mass-produced one when choosing your wedding rings?

A Handmade Wedding Ring

A handmade wedding ring means that an artisanal craftsperson sat at a bench with some gold and used various skills passed down through generations of goldsmiths to create a ring specifically for you. These skills will include using hand tools to solder, saw, file and polish. Although they may be similar, each ring will have unique elements because human hands made it.

It takes time, patience and skill. It involves a love and passion for the art of goldsmithing that dates back to Egyptian times.

Shakti in the studio making handmade wedding rings
mass-produced wedding ring

A Mass Produced Wedding Ring

Typically, a mass-produced wedding ring is found in a high street chain of jewellery shops or a large jewellery house such as Tiffany’s.

The process involves making a prototype on a computer and then printing it in wax thousands or hundreds of thousands of times.

Each wax is identical before being cast in metal via a rubber mould. The castings are then cleaned and polished ready to be sent to stores.

A manufacturing plant usually creates these rings, which unskilled workers will then clean up after casting.

Design

A mass-produced wedding ring is a bog-standard ring devoid of artisanal charm . If you choose this option, you will be wearing the same identikit ring as millions of other couples. It will say nothing about your unique personality or relationship and you will probably have very little emotional connection to it.

In the UK, mass-produced gold wedding rings are typically made with 9ct gold, which is only 45% gold. Also, white gold rings will be plated to create a brighter whiter colour. This plating only lasts for a few years, so your wedding ring will start to look flakey and patchy before you know it.

In contrast, if you opt for a handmade wedding ring, you should be able to learn about the designer, know who made the ring, and where it was or will be made. If you require, you will be able to sit with the artisan to look at the rings and ask any necessary questions.

If the designer prioritises ethics, which is an important factor to consider, you will be able to find out where the materials are sourced. Sometimes, the goldsmith will be able to update you on the progress of your rings and even send you images of the work in progress.

In the initial communication, you will be able to have input into the design and decide if you would like to add diamonds or gemstones, you will be able to consider the width and depth of the ring that looks good on your finger. You may even opt for a bespoke ring that allows you to work with the designer to create your dream ring.

It is a very personal process that allows you to connect your wedding ring with your heart.

Inipi and Fayette ethical wedding rings hand made with 18ct Fairtrade gold 800px
Mens handmade wedding rings made with 18ct Fairtrade gold

Ethical Handmade wedding rings

In most instances, with a mass-produced ring, you will have no clue where your gold came from or where it was made it. It may have been mass-produced in Thailand or India without considering human rights or fair wages.

An ethically handmade wedding ring, made with 18ct Fairtrade gold, is a high carat gold with a beautiful warm yellow colour. Fairtrade gold is ethically sourced and also fully traceable. The goldsmith will be able to tell you the exact mine from which the gold came making it a far more sustainable option. Fairtrade gold is called gold with heart for a reason. It ensures that workers are paid a fair living wage for their gold and given a 10% premium to build schools, buy computers, make wells for much-needed fresh clean water, etc. It considers human rights for all.

To me, a wedding ring is a symbol of love and hope and I believe that that starts with the origins of the metal and respect for human life and consideration of the environment.

Certified B Corporation logo with Fairtrade gold miners from CECOMSAP certified mine in Peru
Fairtrade Gold logo 2020
the Rainbow Charly ethical handmade wedding ring 18ct Fairtrade gold and ethically sourced diamonds

Connection

A handmade ring has the power to connect you to this incredible ancient art. It tells a story both personal and universal. It creates unique memories.

It is a modern heirloom to be treasured for lifetimes to come.

Ethically sourced handmade jewellery has soul and that is something you won’t find on the high street.

Women's handmade wedding rings
Esma ethical ring made with a heart shaped emerald and 18ct Fairtrade Gold.

Price

You would think that a mass-produced wedding ring should be less expensive than a handmade one. However, this is not always the case. When it comes to large jewellery houses such as Cartier et al., they charge a premium because of their name, large retail rents and many other expenses that come with a high-profile brand.

You may be pleasantly surprised to find that a hand-crafted ring doesn’t break the budget.

I believe your wedding ring should bring you joy in both the way it looks and also the way it feels in your heart.
“To wear my jewellery in the fast speed of our daily lives is to add something comforting no only to the body, but also to the heart.”
Shakti
If you like my designs and would love to know more, please contact me.  You are only an email away from having the rings you truly deserve.

by Shakti Ellenwood

Shakti is a Certified B Corporation goldsmith working from her studio boutique in Devon, UK.  She specialises in ethical wedding and engagement rings made with 18ct Fairtrade gold.