Your eyes met, hearts dropped, rain fell, and you danced around in the slippery puddles with your beau, while music suddenly began to play. Then, all of a sudden, upon meeting each other, everyday has become your own song, which you sing and dance to, on the Swiss Alps… Okaaay, maybe not all of our romances are like every Bollywood film ever made, but we all have our own epic love story that can make a Bollywood film pale in comparison. Now, it’s time to take the next big step… because “you liked it, so you want to put a ring on it.” With all the options in the market today, it can be difficult to figure out what is legit and what is not.
Russian photographer Murad Osmann had a very similar dilemma when he proposed to his sweetheart Nataly Zakharova. The couple behind the Follow Me To Instagram craze, which went viral in 2012, attracted millions of followers, a million imitators, and made us cynics believe in romance and love again, have taken their love for each other and brought it a step up by sharing the love! Introducing, Follow Your Love, a conflict-free jewelry line for the modern couple. Inspired by Murad’s own search for an ethical diamond to propose with, the line features a range of high-end engagement rings, wedding bands and matching earrings, using 100% real, manmade, conflict-free diamonds. Engagement rings range from $4,200 to $6,900 and can be found on their website–additionally, their debut collection, dubbed the “Lotus” collection” (as the lotus is a symbol of spiritual enlightenment), is inspired by the couple’s travels last year to India.
When asked how the concept came about, Murad shares: “We were in India, I had been planning to propose and was quite nervous. As I watched Nataly so at ease with the local people, especially the children, and so at one with our surroundings, I realized, I had real doubts about presenting her with a diamond ring [due to the notoriety of “blood diamonds” that fund wars, create environmental degradation and labor exploitation, etc]. I decided to look for some alternatives and I discovered manmade diamonds. I learned that through technological innovation, man could now replicate the natural process that creates diamonds of millions of years, but in a matter of weeks. These diamonds are perfect in every way, identical and equal in brilliance, quality and beauty, yet without the question marks related to conflict, child labor or damage to the environment. I had discovered a perfect gift to express my love to Nataly, with which I could propose, one which would not compromise our values, her special sense of connection or spiritual nature.”
“On our travels we are often approached by youngsters who have their own dreams and who are naturally curious with what we’re doing,” explains Nataly Osmann. “Often they have none of the basics that we take for granted, like safe drinking water, electricity, or schools and education. Spending time with these kids is intoxicating, where we learn so much about them and indeed from them; we would love to do what little we can to help them realize those dreams.”
Furthering Follow Your Love’s mission of “Manmade for Mankind,” the socially-conscious brand will be donating a minimum of 10% of proceeds to their charity partner, The Adventure Project, a nonprofit that “adds venture” capital to create jobs for entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Here are a few ways a Follow Your Love purchase impacts mankind:
• $5,000 purchase will provide a farmer with access to irrigation in Kenya
• $7,500 purchase will enable a healthcare promoter to treat 300 people in Uganda
• $15,000 purchase will create one lifesaving job in a developing country
• $20,000 purchase will provide a job for a health care promoter in Uganda
“We are excited to be partnering with Follow Your Love,” says Becky Straw, co-founder and CEO of The Adventure Project. “We share values and the importance of creating opportunities and providing basic needs for those living in developing countries. We look forward to making a difference for individual entrepreneurs, families, and communities with Follow Your Love.”
We love the concept of spreading joy through love. Isn’t that the whole idea of love–a joyful, uplifting, and beautiful experience? We encourage you to learn more about them, and purchase the love of your life some sustainable and ethical bling with charitable contributions. After all, there’s no love greater than the guilt-free kind!