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A Guide to Ethical and Conflict-free Jewelry

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With Society moving forward into more ethical practices in production and consumerism in food, clothing and travel, other areas such as diamond production, the process of sourcing gems, needs a closer look.

Unethical Practices

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. This popular line sung by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ still rings true today. Diamonds are a common gift for anniversaries and proposals. But where do they come from and how are they sourced? How can you, as a consumer, avoid the unethical ones? And how can you have conflict-free jewelry?

Unethical Diamond Mining

Diamonds are sourced rough in mines around the world, in hazardous conditions. In Africa, child labour in mining is still prevalent. Adults earn less than a dollar a day working in dangerous conditions. Although some companies regulate this practice using machinery instead of laborers, the World Diamond Council (WDC) says 14% of unethical mining or ‘Alluvial Mining’ exists. In poverty-stricken areas, these irresponsible practices have devastating effects on the environment, causing soil erosion and deforestation.

Blood Diamonds

‘Blood Diamonds’. or war diamonds or ‘conflict diamonds’, are rough gems mined in diamond-rich countries at war. These diamonds are used to fund further combat activity and are neither legitimate or regulated. Once these blood diamonds are in the supply chain they are indistinguishable from the rest.

Ethical Diamonds Do Exist

Considering a diamond is given with love, the story behind its origin should not contain human rights abuses, cartel pricing or environmental damage. In order to make sure your diamond is ethical, an international scheme known as The Kimberley Process claims to have stopped 99.8% of global production of conflict diamonds. The KP stamp ensures that the diamond has gone through a strict process of requirements that certify your diamond is ‘conflict-free’. And conflict-free jewelry is the future.

How else can you make sure your diamond is ethically sourced?

While the KP stamp guarantees your diamond is conflict-free, there are other ways that you can make sure your diamond isn’t the product of unethical practices.

  • Look out for the stamp of Fair trade certified mines. Fair trade certification ensures workers receive 95% of the internationally agreed price of the gold and further money to invest into their communities.
  • CanadaMark Scheme certified diamonds are completely traceable and wholly transparent. Tracked from mine to market, their origins are ethical and environmentally friendly.
  • Avoid diamonds mined in places such as Zimbabwe, Liberia and DR Congo where war has always tainted the industry. Purchase from Australia, Canada and Namibia and always ask your jeweler for a full, traceable history of the stone.

Blazing the trail with lab-grown diamonds

Using cutting-edge technology and advanced science, lab-grown diamonds look identical to the real thing. Created with the same chemical DNA as a natural diamond, these synthetic stones have all the same qualities as a real diamond but none of the unethical practices. Only a qualified expert with sophisticated machinery would be able to tell the difference. Man-made conflict-free jewelry have diamonds ethically sourced. And eco-friendly and could pave the way for conflict-free diamonds without conflict.

Images from Unsplash

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