Conflict Diamonds
Not A Girl's Best Friend

solitary diamond

Understanding what conflict diamonds are and what it means to look for conflict free diamonds is the first step to bringing an end to the ugly history surrounding diamonds.

A while back when the movie Blood Diamond was released it was a wake up call for many of us in the dark about the beautiful diamonds worn so proudly on our fingers or around our necks. It helped bring to life a situation that some people were already trying to stop. Conflict diamonds that were mined often with forced child labor and used to fund war.

For years conflict diamonds have been a source of funds for brutal rebellions in Sierra Leone, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Ivory Coast among others. Many innocent men, women and children have been caught up in this and suffered horrible treatment at the hands of rebels. Since the 1990's when a true awareness of this situation began many people have been demanding changes.

The Kimberly Process To Track Diamond Sources

Although resolutions were initiated by the UN and The World Diamond Council the first effective solution was proposed in 2003 led by diamond industry officials. It created a voluntary process to track diamonds from the mine to the point of sale and to certify diamonds as being conflict free. While this an important first step there are many who believe the process needs work.

The concerns center around a system that is voluntary and is only as effective as the governmental agencies and other officials that monitor the process. It also only addresses diamonds used to fund combat and do nothing about other human rights or environmental violations that surround gem mining.

What You Can Do

As a consumer, you can have a loud voice in this if you begin to question retailers about their diamonds. Amnesty USA recommends that we ask our jewelers if they buy from suppliers who:

  • Include a written guarantee that states the diamond is not a conflict diamond.

  • Has a code of conduct that does not allow the buying or selling of conflict diamonds.

  • Trains their staff about the company policies and government regulations.

  • Keeps records of all invoices and have them audited yearly.

  • It may seem difficult to ask these kinds of questions but if that beautiful diamond is a once in a lifetime purchase and with what we now know will you be happy knowing it could have caused someone to suffer just so you could have a beautiful ring.

    Begin with questions to sales people.

    Where did these diamonds come from?

    Can you guarantee that they are conflict free?

    They should be able answer these questions easily and with authority and be willing to provide more information. Retailers want our business and if enough of us ask questions like these jewelery stores and others in the industry will respond.

    Where To Shop

    There are no easy solutions to buying diamonds. At every turn it appears there are problems that make it very hard to know if a diamond purchased did the least harm both to people and the environment. But there are solutions.

  • Brilliant Earth

  • A diamond retailer that offers Canadian diamonds. They are "guaranteed to originate from ethical and environmentally responsibly sources". The diamonds are tracked from mine to customer and are said to follow strict conflict free and environmental policy. Their website contains quite a bit of info the make learning more easy. Check out Brillant Earth.

  • Earthwise Jewelry

  • Leber Jeweler has created this line of jewelry. They also use Canadian diamonds believing it is the best way to track country of origin. They are also committed to try and find a solution to diamond mining in Africa. Go to Earthwise Jewelry.

  • Green Karat

  • They have a strong commitment to beautiful, ethical and environmentally friendly jewelry. No conflict diamonds here. Lab-grown colored diamonds are their choice of gem and they present good arguments for the use of these types of diamonds. Learn more through their interesting and very informative website at Green Karat.

  • Antique Jewelry

  • This could be an option if you love the beauty and history in older jewelry or are happy to find a treasure once owned by someone else and remade to create your own unique item. Estate sales, auctions, antique markets, private sales, eBay or even flea markets could unearth a hidden gem. No mining involved.

    Diamonds have received the most publicity but all forms of mining raise serious concerns for people and the environment. There are alternatives if you look for them. Learn about dirty gold and the other choices some jewelers offer. Choose to buy other gem stones that are fair traded and environmentally responsible. Our awareness and desire to ask questions when shopping for jewelry will begin to have an impact.

    Your once in a lifetime diamond purchase can symbolize more than love, commitment or beauty. It can also show your own commitment to being in a world that treasures life and the environment around us.

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