Dedicated: Why Are Ethical Stones Different?

Have you ever wondered if your diamond was ethically mined? Here’s how to tell.

Have you ever considered the deadly impact of conflict diamonds? Just take a look at these stats:

  • There are 100,000 child soldiers in Africa. That’s because conflict diamonds tend to fuel wars and child soldiers are forced to fight as adults in those wars.  By 2004, as many as 100,000 children as young as nine years old were fighting in armed wars.
  • There are 6-7 work day weeks child labourers mine for diamonds. These children work in conflict diamond mines. They do not go to school and can work up to 7 day weeks. They’re required to perform tough physical tasks that are hazardous, such as crawling through a narrow mineshaft or going on landslides.
  • 50,000 have died in Sierra Leone wars fuelled by blood diamonds. The profits made from diamond mines where child soldiers, adult slaves, and child labourers are forced to work, finance armed wars and conflicts. The wars include inhumane practises such as torture and slavery involving young children.
  • One million diamond diggers on the African continent earn less than $1 per day.

Ethical engagement rings are beautifully designed by Serendipity Diamonds, but how can you be absolutely sure your stones are conflict-free? Here are some tips.

Know The Stones

The UN adopted a system back in 2002 to end the practice of diamond trading for malicious means. They put in place the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme which outlines the requirements and regulations countries have to follow to ensure a diamond is mined and shipped in a legitimate, humane way. The diamonds that do meet these regulations are then shipped with a Kimberley Process certificate. When you purchase diamonds, the seller should be able to provide the certificate, if they can’t, be very wary of your stone’s origin.

Check Certification

Well-established and reputable jewellers will be able to tell you about the diamond’s history and guarantee that it is conflict-free. How can you tell if the jeweller is telling the truth? Simply ask to see the diamond’s statement, called the System of Warranties.

Shop Smart

Let’s say you’re looking for a diagonal oval 3 stone engagement ring, it’s a good idea to opt to shop at reputable retailers that specialise in conflict-free jewellery. Some jewellers import their stones from Canada, for example, and others give a percentage of their profits to fund local African communities harmed by the diamond industry.

Looking Beyond Canada

A lot of buyers seem to believe that all conflict-free stones are Canadian. While the country certainly has a solid reputation for mining diamonds in an environmentally conscious and conflict-free way, there are other producers, such as Australia, Russia, and even many African countries. The most important thing is that the diamonds come with documentation from the mine to the jeweller.

You Shouldn’t Expect To Pay More

There are a great many factors that can make a diamond more expensive, but being conflict-free certified should certainly not be one of them. If you work with a reputable jeweller that you trust, and do your research before buying diamonds, you can rest knowing you’ve done what you can to be a responsible diamond shopper. Remember, the Internet is a great source for discovering which countries are involved in conflict diamond mining.

Photo Source: Pierette Wiseman on Flickr

Lindsay Ginn

Livin' in your basement, eatin' your canned foods.