By Åse Anderson
With an increasing number of brides opting for ethical engagement rings, it's good to know that sticking to your principles doesn't mean having to compromise on design. Spanish born Arabel Lebrusan creates delicate, feminine conflict free engagement rings and wedding bands crafted entirely from ethical materials, including Fairtrade and Fairmined gold as well as Canadian diamonds and Fairtrade gemstones.
Arabel recently expanded her selection of bridal jewellery with the new Cosmos collection. Launched at the end of last year, it includes seven new designs: Aurora, Aurora Borealis, Solar, Solar Eclipse, Nova, Supernova and Efflorescence. Made in the UK and featuring a central conflict-free Canadian diamond, the rings are available in Fairtrade certified yellow, white or rose gold.
Named after the famous Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis engagement ring recreates the magic sheen of the bright dancing lights with a diamond-encrusted band set with a round brilliant-cut gem. The Nova diamond engagement ring, featuring a square-cut gem on a chunky, contemporary band, is equally stunning in its simplicity.
Arabel's desire to increase the availability of ethical jewellery was the driving force behind her decision to set up her own business. After studying at Central Saint Martins she worked in the fashion jewellery industry for many years, where she was exposed to some of the darker sides of the industry and its practices. She says: "It was a very delicate subject that, after travelling around the world in different jewellery making setups, I had to address. After designing for many years for other companies, I always thought that if I was to start my own brand it had to be ethical."
Her beautiful, unique ethical engagement rings have quickly made her a name to watch. Arabel was shortlisted for the BJA Designer of the Year last year and was named in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 in 2013 as well as being a runner-up in the Houlden Designer of Excellence Award.
The inspiration for her designs comes from a multitude of sources, including, in her own words: "My Spanish roots, heritage, craftsmanship, fashion, traditional clothing, lace, religion, rituals… to mention a few!"
Her range of conflict free engagement rings also includes the nature-inspired Secret Garden collection, available in Fairtrade gold or recycled platinum with Canadian diamonds.
Arabel says there has been a definite increase in brides looking for ethical engagement rings, driven by a keener awareness of how our consumer choices impact on the world around us.
As one of the first licensees for Fairtrade gold, Arabel is committed to supporting the Fairtrade Foundation's I Do campaign, which is launching this week. She says: "The Fairtrade Foundation is doing a great job in raising awareness about the ethical issues in jewellery sourcing and we should support them in their effort. I think long term it will benefit us all."