Ethical wedding jewellery made with soul from Shakti Ellenwood // The Natural Wedding Company

Today we have the next instalment in our Meet the Maker series – getting to know more about the face behind Shakti Ellenwood the creator of ethical wedding jewellery made with soul.

Shakti is one of the incredible ethical wedding jewellery designers from our directory. She specialises in exquisite fair trade wedding and engagement rings with proper heart and soul. Based in her studio in Somerset, all of her jewellery is handcrafted and receives a special ‘blessing’. She is truly passionate about her craft and her route to designing jewellery is truly a fascinating one.

Intrigued now? Well we asked her some questions for you so you can find out more…

Ethical wedding jewellery rich in ritual and romance

Ethical wedding jewellery made with soul from Shakti Ellenwood // The Natural Wedding Company

Hi Shakti, welcome to the Meet the Maker series thank you for taking part. We’d love to know the back story behind your business, how did it start out?

Well, it all began back in India in 1994. I was living between Japan, Thailand and India and during a visit to Pune I became very sick with a high fever. I was living in the infamous ‘White House’ guest house and a concerned fellow traveller and resident, Asi, took me in and kept watch over me. He was a jeweller and sat at a small work bench, on the floor, hammering, soldering and sawing.

I became captivated by the intricacy of the work and the beauty of the high karat gold and gemstones he worked with. When I had recovered, he presented me with the most beautiful gold and turquoise ring…I was hooked! I knew with all certainty that this was what I was meant to be doing.

From there I followed a boyfriend to San Francisco and by an act of serendipity I got a job at The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, where I trained in the Graduate Jeweller program over the next five years. Later training with 5th Generation Armenian Master Goldsmith, Hratch Nargizian, a man of extraordinary skill and talent, who remains my mentor to this day.

Ethical wedding jewellery made with soul from Shakti Ellenwood // The Natural Wedding Company

Such a wonderful fascinating story! The story isn’t the only thing fascinating about your business, you describe your rings as being “rich in ritual and romance”, could you tell us more about this and what that means to you?

I sat with the Huni Quin tribe, who live in the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. They instilled in me the importance of ritual in all that you do. How all things must be created with a conscious awareness and with respect to the materials you are using, where they have come from and where they are going. To the Huni Quin all of life is prayer whether they are hunting, cooking or singing. I have described in more depth the details of how this is incorporated into my work in the question on ‘little gold prayers’.

Every ring is rich in romance from the inside out, a symbol of love a commitment. This romance is created by the ancient love songs I sing as I work, by the artisanal aspect of how they are made, the prayers bestowed upon them and ultimately to the dignity given to the miners who pull this precious metal out of the earth. Visually, this romance can be see through the delicacy of the work, the ‘secret’ hearts which are carved into the back of the engagement rings, the star settings and the milligrain edging often seen in my jewellery.

Ethical wedding jewellery made with soul from Shakti Ellenwood // The Natural Wedding Company

Ethical wedding jewellery made with soul from Shakti Ellenwood // The Natural Wedding Company

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Kate and Aidan's outdoor eco wedding with a hike to the venue, mountain biking, and cornflowers in beer bottles // Scuffins Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Kate and Aidan’s outdoor eco wedding, set on Masson Farm in the rolling hills of Derbyshire, is truly inspiring. This biking, hiking and climbing loving couple had a personal vision for their wedding day, but rather than it being about bunting and flowers (though there is an abundance of both) their vision focused on ensuring their celebrations were sustainable and ethical.

The couple and their guests reached the wedding venue by cable car and a hike, before they were married in an outdoor ceremony. Afterwards the reception was held in a tipi that could only be accessed along a steep road which provided seclusion and created an intimate, relaxed atmosphere. Kate and Aidan’s relaxed outdoor eco wedding has been beautifully captured by TNWC recommended supplier Chris Scuffins Photography.

We caught up with Kate to shed some light on their ideas and explain the reasons behind the couple’s choices…

Kate and Aidan's outdoor eco wedding with a hike to the venue, mountain biking, and cornflowers in beer bottles // Scuffins Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Bikes draped with bunting // Scuffins Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Kate and Aidan's outdoor eco wedding with a hike to the venue, mountain biking, and cornflowers in beer bottles // Scuffins Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Blue bridemaids' dresses with Gypsophila bouquets // Scuffins Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

Wedding tipi // Scuffins Photography // The Natural Wedding Company

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16 beautiful ethical engagement rings for a Christmas or New Year's Eve proposal // The Natural Wedding Company

With Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve less than two months away what better time for a round-up of our favourite 16 ethical engagement rings. With those two days the most popular days in the whole year to get engaged, I imagine there are a lot of (slightly anxious) men and women out there with rings on their mind.

Why choose an ethical engagement ring?

There are all kinds of ways to propose these days, but it has never been easier to choose an ethical engagement ring. What do we mean by ‘ethical’? We are talking about engagement rings made from fair trade gold and silver, recycled gold and silver, and ethically sourced diamonds and other precious gems. In addition to this, many of our recommended wedding ring suppliers are offering more unusual creations using sea glass, lab grown eco diamonds, and sustainable wood (more on those below).

Whatever you choose, do not underestimate the impact made by your choice to propose with an ethical engagement ring. Now onto our top 16 of the most beautiful and unique ethical engagement rings, all available to buy from our recommended suppliers collections.

Modern Ethical Engagement Rings

The teardrop shape of this ethical solitaire diamond engagement ring gives it an interesting twist that will set you apart from the usual diamond engagement ring. Designed by Glasswing Jewellery on a dainty recycled gold band, this is one of my favourites. Buy it here.

Ethical teadrop shaped diamond engagement ring // Glasswing Jewellery // The Natural Wedding Company

Slade Fine Jewellery always come out with some beautiful designs, part modern but with a liberal sprinkling of Tolkein-esque elvish magic. We were particularly captured by this grey rosecut diamond set against that earthy yellow gold, which in this case is recycled eco gold. Buy it here.

Yellow eco gold ethical engagement ring with grey rosecut diamond // Slade Fine Jewellery // The Natural Wedding Company

The warmth from the rose gold and the ‘rubover’ setting of this solitaire ethical engagement ring from long-time fair trade gold and silver champions CRED Jewellery, create a modern but romantic feeling ring. Buy it here.

Rosegold solitaire ethical engagement ring // CRED Jewellery // The Natural Wedding Company

With this design, April Doubleday has combined sleek modern lines and a ‘rub over’ setting for ethical diamond ring with the slightly hammered fair trade gold band for a natural feel. Buy it here.

Ethical diamond engagement ring with hammered fair trade gold band // April Doubleday // The Natural Wedding Company

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Ethical diamond ring by Lilia Nash Jewellery

Today’s guest blog post addresses the issue that many of us go out and pick jewellery we like without much thought to where it has come from or what efforts have gone into sourcing the gemstones and metal. Lilia Nash, who is one of our recommended jewellery businesses, not only creates beautiful wedding and engagement rings, but she ensures she knows just where her raw materials are sourced from.

Over to Lilia to tell us a bit more about her gorgeous ethical wedding jewellery…

Ethical gold diamond engagement ring by Lilia Nash Jewellery

I fell in love with gemstones when I was young, and when I decided to start designing engagement rings and wedding jewellery, I wanted to do so without damage to our planet’s resources.

You may not know when you buy a piece of jewellery from a store as to whether or not it has been made from recycled gold or fair trade gemstones. Very often you just fall in love with something you see. I would like us to pay more attention to what we are buying, so that the jewellery we buy is responsibly sourced.

Ethically sourced sapphires from Lilia Nash Jewellery

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Ethical gold wedding rings

Sometimes it’s nice to take a step back from wedding planning, from all the lovely details and fun plans for this incredible celebration, and look at the deeper part of marriage.  I think an important part of that is choosing where you buy your engagement and wedding rings from – of all the many items you purchase for your wedding, your rings will have one of the biggest environmental costs.

No one likes to be bombarded or overwhelmed with terrible statistics or facts about the environmental costs of something like a wedding ring, often it just makes you feel even more powerless to make a difference, but we can’t ignore that there are some pretty bad facts when it comes to conventional mining.

Ethical engagement ring from CRED Jewellery

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1930s inspired Penelope Collection

It seems I’m having a bit of a 1920s and 1930s inspired day on the blog today, following on from this morning’s glamorous wedding cake I get to introduce you to the stunning new collection from CRED Jewellery.  The Penelope Collection from designer Annabel Panes was inspired by the cocktail drinking ladies of the 1920s and ’30s, in particular her own grandmother.

1930s inspired fair trade engagement ring

This fabulous 13-piece collection includes engagement rings, necklaces and earrings, all created from Fairtrade and Fairmined certified gold and each item set with ethically sourced gems.  I particularly love the deep and rich colours of the gems used, especially the Amethyst.

Niki from CRED Jewellery told me “Annabel has taken the elegance and glamour of the 1930’s and applied a modern twist.  The deep blues and reds of the precious stones are placed in delicate white gold settings that maximize their splendour and reflect the romantic elegance of the time.”

CRED Jewellery amethyst engagement ring

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Kate Hamilton-Hunter Studio floral tin wedding jewellery

This beautiful set of jewellery could be yours – the perfect gift for your maid of honour or bridesmaid, the mother-of-the-bride, or for the bride-to-be.  Created by the Kate Hamilton-Hunter Studio from floral tins cut into hearts, and secured on a chain with Swarovski pearls, they are ideal wedding jewellery.

Kate Hamilton-Hunter Studio floral tin wedding jewellery

Kate’s jewellery is handmade with an eco-twist, with many items made from recycled biscuit, sweet and toffee tins.  The designs include both modern and vintage inspired collections, with each item designed and made in North Wales.

Kate Hamilton-Hunter Studio floral tin eco wedding jewellery

This pretty set could be winging its way through the post to you if you get your entry in below.  I know that many of my readers are helping out friends, siblings and daughters to plan their wedding, so perhaps you’d like to win this for the bride-to-be or someone else special to her.  If you are a bride-to-be you’re welcome to enter to win it for yourself as well!

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