We live in an age where we feel compelled to be responsible towards the people, the environment and society as a whole. Ethics and social justice has become a hot topic in recent times, where not only should a person seek to better themselves through both spiritual and material gains, these gains should be done through ethical means.
Over the past few decades, ethical sourcing of diamonds have become a hot topic, and is a topic we are extremely passionate about. A diamond must not only be extracted from the earth in a responsible manner – both in treating its workers fairly as well as ensuring that the environmental harm is minimalised during the mining process, but the diamond must also be conflict-free – originating from a place that does not value the diamonds over the lives of the people involved, or so-called “blood diamonds”.
The Kimberley Process was introduced to curb this unethical trade in diamonds, and while there may be detractors, this process does more good than harm, and has progressed the diamond trade in leaps and bounds, ultimately producing an environment and trading market where diamonds can be sourced and traded in an ethical manner.
Make sure you are buying only ethical and conflict-free diamonds! Only buy your diamonds from established and trusted sources, such as our two top recommended online diamond retailers – James Allen and Blue Nile. With them, you can be sure that the diamonds you buy are ethically sourced and 100% conflict-free. You can enjoy the luxury of a beautiful stone while ensuring the peace of mind that the stone has not been tainted by corruption or violence.
How are Diamonds Mined?
Diamonds are formed over millions of years with the pressure of the earth compressing carbon, and ultimately forming a beautiful gemstone. One way of mining diamonds is to dig deep underground – often miles and miles underground into ancient kimberlite formations. This process is known as pipe mining and is used in many places throughout the world.
Another process is known as alluvial mining. This kind of mining is done by scouring the riverbeds and ocean floor for diamonds. However, in informal mining camps in certain parts of Africa, this is done in an environmentally-unfriendly manner – the workers remove sand around the riverbanks and wash the soil through it to find these diamonds. This process destroys the rivers and the land surrounding it – land that could have been better used for agriculture or grazing. Furthermore, this process pollutes the rivers and oceans, as well as the lands around it – leaving the area a dead piece of land where there is nothing but pollution and destruction of nature.
The destruction of the environment is only the first step in unethical diamonds. The workers of these mining camps are often paid an extremely low wage, as they often have nowhere else to go. Many of these workers are children, participating in this unregulated and dangerous work. This kind of backbreaking labour is carried out in often unsafe conditions, risking the lives of children who should be in school and robbing them of their future.
In the 1990s, the issue of “blood diamonds” or conflict diamonds have become a hot topic in the diamond industry, as people began to discover that diamonds are traded in certain parts of the world to fund wars and purchase weapons. These conflicts have resulted in a massive loss of lives – an atrocity that should not be present in this day and age. These blood diamonds have seeped into the industry, and made its way to unsuspecting retailers and ultimately – innocent and unknowing consumers like you.
The Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process was formed in 2003 as an attempt to curb such atrocious and unethical means of obtaining and trading in diamonds. After all, who would want a diamond that was tainted by the blood of innocent lives?
The Kimberley Process is a global initiative to bring together diamond miners, traders and retailers in order to carefully vet and certify those which are engaging in the business in a ethical manner. Members of the Kimberley Process are obliged to satisfy a set of requirements that ultimately block and prevent the trade of unethical and conflict diamonds. These members are also required to be transparent about their mining and trading practices, and are also required to only trade with other members that fulfill these stringent requirements. And finally, they must certify their shipments as conflict-free, as well as provide proof and certification of this fact.
This process ensures that the members who participate in the Kimberley Process engage in their business in an ethical manner, and as a result, also protect their workers, the environment and society as a whole so that consumers can have the peace of mind they need.
So who can I trust?
Fortunately, in this day and age – the majority of diamond retailers engage in ethical diamond trade and avoid these conflict diamonds – the PR disaster that awaits upon touching the subject simply isn’t worth tarnishing their good name for it. However, some smaller retailers may not be as transparent with their processes, so it still pays to be vigilant when you are sourcing for diamonds.
Fortunately, you can bypass this moral quandary altogether by simply shopping in well-known, reputable and trustworthy companies that have built up their business and established themselves in the industry. Two of our recommended retailers when it comes to diamonds are James Allen and Blue Nile. With them, you can shop with peace of mind, and focus on what really matters – the quality of the diamond. Read our reviews on James Allen and Blue Nile to find out why they are your best bet.