Friday, June 14, 2024

Is Kourtney Kardashian’s Diamond Engagement Ring Ethical? Here’s What We Know.


Kourtney Kardashian’s engagement ring from Travis Barker is about as shy as a Kardashian. But there’s substance to it—in more ways than one. Here’s what we know about the stunning gem and its ethical predecessors.

Oh, celebrity engagements. The good kind of gossip, right? Seeing Travis and Kourtney in that heart of roses on the beach, the hugs, the kisses, the smiles—and, of course, the ring. Definitely the ring. It has stolen the show—and for good reason.

The ring was designed by Barker along with the help of celeb jeweler, Lorraine Schwartz. She’s got a history of styling conflict-free diamonds. Here’s what we know.

Who is Lorraine Schwartz?

Schwartz has been designing jewelry for years. She’s worked with dozens of celebrities including Kourtney’s sister Kim. The $3 million engagement ring Kanye West gave to Kim was a conflict-free Schwartz gem. Schwartz also worked with Kardashian mom Kris Jenner, as well as a host of other celebrities including Blake Lively, Beyoncé, and Angelina Jolie.

Earlier this year, Beyoncé and Schwartz partnered to pay tuition for two Black industry professionals to earn their gemologist degrees from the Gemological Institute of America. The Beyoncé Knowles-Carter x Lorraine Schwartz GIA Scholarship covered full tuition and expenses for the distance-learning program.

“It is an honor to have this scholarship in my name, but the best part is teaming up with my friend Lorraine Schwartz to give two people an opportunity to learn,” Beyoncé said in a statement. “We both believe that learning is constant. This is a chance to learn from the best, create generational wealth and turn a love of gems into a career.”

Like Beyoncé, Jolie has also been a vocal advocate for education as well as conflict-free jewelry, even launching her own line of jewelry in 2013 to support the cause. Though not designed with Schwartz, Jolie’s “Style by Jolie” was designed with jeweler Robert Procop—he also designed Jolie’s engagement ring from Brad Pitt. All proceeds from the line go to her foundation, The Education Partnership for Children of Conflict.

Schwartz also recently worked with Prince Harry on a band he gifted to Meghan Markle for their anniversary in 2019. That bespoke diamond band was also conflict-free. Markle’s engagement ring, which featured two diamonds from Princess Diana’s personal collection also includes a conflict-free diamond from Botswana.

According to Schwartz’s website, the designer also supports a number of charities including Direct Relief, Feeding America, and United Way Worldwide.

Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative

Schwartz has long been a proponent of a more equitable diamond industry. Last January, she helped launch the Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative along with the Natural Diamond Council and honorary advisors including Pharrell, Kelly Rowland, and Tina Knowles.

The platform launched with a $1 million diamond credit dedicated to supporting emerging BIPOC jewelry designers.

“It is past time for our industry to be more supportive and share the magic of diamonds with a larger, more diverse group of jewelers,” Schwartz said in a statement.

“Helping BIPOC designers, and more specifically the underrepresented Black designer community, gain entry to diamond vendors and credit financing as well as expand their businesses is a necessary step in the process towards a more equitable industry. This program is another opportunity for me to give back to those communities that have embraced me and have been a wonderful part of my journey as a designer over the last 20 years.”

Image courtesy Lorraine Schwartz

Beyond the funding, the program is also working to remove barriers to entry into the market and provide resources to advance inclusivity and broaden the number of BIPOC jewelry businesses.

It announced its recipients last March: A first-generation American Samoan designer, Constance Polamalu; Black designer Dorian Webb; Jamaican and Puerto Rican designer Lisette Scott; Black designer and treasurer of the Black in Jewelry Coalition, Malyia McNaughton; El Salvadorian designer Marvin Linares; and Jameel Mohammed, Black designer and founder of Afrofuturist luxury brand Khiry.

“Creativity and innovation are the forces that drive our industry forward and in order for that to happen, we need more diverse viewpoints,” said David Kellie, CEO, NDC.

“This initiative is designed to support emerging BIPOC designers by giving them access to the diamond jewelry industry, which has traditionally been limited, and fostering their ingenuity and successes. We know that more diversity is needed in our field, and that this will benefit the designers and the industry as a whole.” 

Barker’s ring

Barker certainly proved he’s a die-hard romantic with that engagement setup, but he also lives by a personal code of ethics, too.

He’s a long-time vegan, appearing in campaigns for PETA, and debunking vegan myths on Joe Rogan’s podcast. He’s often spotted at the Los Angeles vegan restaurant, Crossroads—it was where he took Kourtney on their first date! In 2010, Barker partnered with the often-political hip hop duo Run the Jewels on the single, “Forever,” with all profits going to the Next Level Boys Academy. It works to support young men to build confidence and self-respect.

His CBD product line, Barker Wellness, is crafted with the highest-quality ingredients and a commitment to efficacy.

So, is Kardashian’s engagement ethical? There’s still little information available about the ring itself—even Schwartz isn’t saying much.

“It’s a flawless, beautifully cut diamond stone,” Schwartz told PEOPLE.

“I worked on it with Travis and he was a really big part of it,” she said. “He was really hands-on in the whole making of it. It’s gorgeous and they’re happy.”

Conflict-Free diamond rings

Popping the question soon? Be like Lorraine Schwartz’s clients and go with an ethical, conflict-free diamond. One brand, in particular, Brilliant Earth, makes it easy (and a lot more affordable). The brand offers both conflict-free mined diamonds as well as lab-grown diamonds, and you can snag them for under $5,000.

1. Design Your Own: 0.50 Carat Oval Diamond

2. Tacori Petite Crescent Cushion Bloom Diamond Engagement Ring

3. Embrace Diamond Emerald Cut Engagement Ring


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