The truth behind conflict-free diamonds
One question that we frequently get asked is: “Are your diamonds conflict free?” Great question!
Today we want to share with you insights on the current industry standards, gaps in the current system and what you need to know before purchasing a diamond.
Current Industry Standard
Are our diamonds conflict free?
The truth is that we don’t always know. Actually no one knows, unless you own the mine and control the entire mining, cutting and selling process. Infact according to Gemological Society of America (GIA), there is no scientific or technical way to tell where diamonds came from once they are cut.
Kimberley Process was introduced in the year 2000 with raising concerns of consumer boycott over the sale of diamonds to fund brutal civil wars in Angola and Sierra Leone. The adoption and implementation of the Kimberley Process reduced illegal trading of “blood diamonds” significantly. However the Kimberley Process is not fool-proof.
So should you boycott diamonds? No, not yet. That would be even more harmful to people who work for less than $1.25 a day, doing all the hard work to find the precious stones in the first place.
Gaps in the Current System
Critics point out that Kimberley Process does not account for unfair labor practices, human right abuses and environmental impact – something that you and I would both agree should be part of the conflict-free definition. The definition of conflict-free according to the Kimberley Process is extremely narrow – it only applies to gemstones used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate government.
What You Need To Know Before Making A Diamond Purchase
1. Most jewelers don’t know the origin of natural diamonds as they sourced after being cut and polished
2. You are supporting the miners if you buy natural diamonds
- By purchasing lab-made diamonds, you are negatively impacting the livelihood of the people who are hard at work at the mines in order to feed their families
- Many consumers make the mistake of paying a lot of money for lab-made diamonds when they can cost half as much as natural diamonds. It’s true that lab-made diamonds are conflict-free but you shouldn’t be paying a premium price.
3. Ask your jeweler what they are doing to support fair-trade diamond certification movement
- Even if your jeweler does not know the diamond origin, it would be helpful to know what steps your jeweler is taking to ensure the diamonds are sourced ethically
- Does your jeweler support organizations such as Diamond Empowerment Fund and the World Diamond Council that advocate for a comprehensive, fair-trade approach towards diamonds? What do they know about the working conditions of the people who mine, cut or polish diamonds?
4. You can do your part in support of a fair-trade certification movement (similar to what we are seeing with coffee)