Gold mining is a dirty industry: it can displace communities, contaminate drinking water, hurt workers, and destroy pristine environments.
It seems like the problems with gold apply to other metal mining operations as well, so that also rules out platinum. What to do? The NRDC and other green wedding planning sites recommend:
Of course, these ecologically- and socially-responsible rings look just as beautiful as conventional rings. According to the New York Times, buying from Chicago-based Leber Jeweler's Earthwise line is another option. And most of Tiffany's gold is mined without using cyanide.
And then, there are...wooden rings! I immediately fell in love with these rings from Touchwood Rings:
A simple search on for "wooden wedding rings" on Google will yield lots of options, including:
I also love the rings at Tropical Grains, but I need to do research to see if titanium is okay.
There's also this directory from the International Commitment Ceremonies Registrar. It's nice to know there are so many choices for ethical rings.