Like all things of value, diamonds often follow a treacherous path from worry to the ring on your finger. The jewelry industry has responded to growing concerns about human rights violations and other ethical issues in the diamond trade and has classified some diamonds as conflict-free. If you are looking to buy diamonds in war-torn areas and other vulnerable locations, a conflict-free diamond may be the right choice for you and your loved one.
A conflict-free diamond is a diamond mined and shipped without affiliation with rebel or terrorist groups. Procedures and agreements, such as the Kimberley Process, ensure that diamonds are mined and shipped per specific ethical standards.
Diamonds that do not adhere to these practices are known as blood diamonds or conflict diamonds. Blood diamonds often come from war-torn areas and are traded illegally. These diamonds attracted attention during the Sierra Leone Civil War in the 1990s and are featured in the 2006 film Blood Diamond. It shows how rebel groups use brutal tactics to smuggle and sell diamonds.
Conflict or cruelty-free diamonds are mined safely. When you receive a conflict-free diamond, it means that it goes through a process that prevents social and environmental damage.
Many ethical buyers focus on Canadian mined diamonds as an easy way to find conflict-free gemstones for their fine jewelry. Although Canada is one of the leading providers of ethical diamonds, it is not the only peaceful region in the world where these gemstones can be found. Australia and Russia also produce diamonds that are mined safely.
The Kimberly Process is a United Nations-mandated certification program designed to address some human rights violations associated with the diamond trade. Although these certification efforts have been successful, some buyers remain cautious. If you are not ready to commit to a new diamond, there may be other options that can help you achieve a classic engagement ring style without ethical implications.
Conflict-free diamonds are not the only way to avoid the ethical dangers of the diamond trade. While stones other than diamonds can be obtained safely and humanely, antique diamonds are also good options. Suppose your partner enjoys vintage style or has an exquisite setting. In that case, antique jewelry is a sure way to find unique, beautifully designed engagement rings that you can purchase without contributing money to the less ethical elements of the international diamond trade.
If you are looking to purchase an heirloom or antique ring for your engagement, it is a good idea to have it independently evaluated to make sure you get the promotion. The judgment can go both ways; You may find that the ring you have chosen is really very valuable and only needs professional cleaning to return to its former glory.
In 2003, the Kimberley Process was implemented in its member states. This process aims to track diamonds from mine to market and ensure that conflict diamonds do not enter the global diamond trade. However, there is little supervision, and there is no way of knowing which mine a diamond came from.
Due to the diamond trade’s complexity, stones can change hands dozens of times, from mine to various wholesalers, diamond cutters, more wholesalers, and finally retailers. Along the way, each dealer must confirm that the diamond package complies with the Kimberley Process.
After the war in Sierra Leone and the ongoing conflict in Africa, the diamond industry partnered with the United Nations to implement the Kimberley process certification scheme. The Kimberley Process has developed requirements and regulations to ensure diamonds are cruelly mined and shipped, and criminal activity is no longer supported.
Participating countries, including the US and more than 70, closely monitor incoming diamonds from mining to mining to final purchase. Each diamond is given a Kimberley Process Certificate, which confirms that the diamond is conflict-free. With the widespread adoption of the Kimberley Process, the number of conflict diamonds and related crimes has dramatically decreased worldwide.
Buying diamond jewelry is always a very personal decision, especially when purchasing symbols like an engagement ring. The choice is crucial that many modern brides even discuss what they want with their partners before buying the rings. If you go for the tradition and choose a surprise ring, it is a good idea to think carefully about what your partner would expect from a ring.