This will be a two piece post in which I delve into the diamond industry and the ugly truth behind it (well, some of it) and at a later point I will talk about some of the best jewellery companies who are making a positive impact on the world.
For those that don’t know not all diamonds are beautiful, some diamonds can have a a very ugly past. I am sure you have all heard of movie ‘Blood Diamond’ if not have a look at the trailer
After the movie, the diamond industry was scrutinised across the world. Did it get any better? Yes slightly. Should you feel like your diamond comes guilt free in 2018? No, absolutely not.
Diamonds have always been a misleading industry. Way before the problems of Sierra Leone and the war funded by diamonds ever existed. The diamond industry has always been cruel. As with any industry, where big bucks can be made by the man sitting in his office at the expense of others much less well off, paid pittance, hardly getting by, it has always been a problem and will always be a problem until us, the consumers demand that it isn’t!
The problem with an industry that chooses to ignore certain elements, is that it will not be managed fairly or done so rightly and when it comes to money and greed – humanity goes out the door. Some diamond miners, particularly the ones working in Africa live in a totally different world to what you or I can ever imagine. Some of them are beaten, humiliated, raped and murdered …… all for a diamond. Children might be forced to work and face the same injustice, which leads to an ever lasting cycling of no education and one path in life. This has to stop.
The guy sitting in his office, simply does not care about these people suffering. The people suffering mean NOTHING once money (big money) goes into the already rich guys bank. The diamond mines, might be advertised as being maintained and monitored closely, as being safe places to work with fair pay, but some of them are not. You as a consumer might also be told that the diamonds are conflict free and above all NOT a ‘blood diamond’! But what does that mean exactly?
The term ‘Blood Diamond’ is so loose and so open to interpretation but most of all it is so misleading. A blood diamond is a diamond that does not help fund a rebel group. A blood diamond could however be a diamond that was found by a child slave, that was found by a miner who had been beaten the night before, it could be a diamond found by someone who has to work 2-3 months to make the same wage you or I would in one day. To use miners in Canada as an example, what they earn in a day, doing the same job, in a much safer environment, where health and safety are not only available but also is forced upon them, working hours are regulated and above all, they are treated with dignity and respect – they earn more in one day than some african miners would earn over 8 – 12 weeks in the complete opposite environment but doing the job with the same end goal – find diamonds!
Just to note. I know I have mentioned Africa mainly in this post, but this is a problem in different other countries too, like Venezuela.
Kimberly Process Certification
Unfortunately, even though the Kimberly Process has brought some positive change, in some places, in other places it means jack shit and can even be faked on a diamond cert and sold on to shops, allowing the cruelty and torture to continue. It’s not enough and it’s not defined properly!!It does not mean no harm done and no blood shed!! But most of all it is a misleading term not telling the truth as to what the consumer believes it stands for. It needs to go into more detail and it needs to be pushed harder to make sure that no harm is done to anyone working in the diamond industry. So just because a jeweller might tell you that a diamond is Kimberly Process Certified, unfortunately does not mean that it was ethically sourced.
How Do You Purchase An Ethical Diamond
Ok, so you want to do the right thing. You want to buy a diamond ring, but you don’t want to contribute to the ugly side of the industry. There are a few different ways you can go about making the right choice as a consumer.
- Ask Questions. First do your research, find a jewellers that you think you want to shop from, either ring them up and ask a series of questions. I found these from Reflective Jewellery, were you can read a much more detailed post about being a conscious consumer when it comes to diamonds. These are some great questions to ask when you want to learn more from your Jeweller
- Where is the actual location of the mine your diamond come from?
- What is the name of the company that owns the diamond mine?
- What is the social impact of the mine on the ground?
- What is the environmental impact of the mine?
- Say Nope! If the jeweller can’t answer these questions or get’s hesitant or snarky when being asked these questions, don’t shop here. Given the benefit of the doubt they genuinely might not know, the answer to some, but in all honesty they should know what they are selling and where it comes from.
- More Research (yey)! When you get your answers, research these companies and see what you think about them. Make up your own mind when you get all your information.
- ‘Antique On Fleek’. Ok so I totally just made that saying up, but hey, it works. Is a vintage or antique ring something you would like? It’s worth looking into them. Yes there might be a chance the original origins of the ring may not be ideal, but since the original buy no harm has been done since then, you are making a consumer choice to show that if something can’t be traced ethically, you would rather buy something pre-loved and second hand. Not only that, but the environmental damage is immensely lessened buy buying a preloved diamond.
- Synthetically Good. One fool proof way to make sure the diamond you buy is ethically sourced and and causes little to no environmental damage is to buy rings made in a laboratory. The diamonds look exactly the same as real mined ones but you can look and buy them guilt free.
- Buy From Good Shops. Buy from shops where in their mission statement they clearly state the difference that buying their rings make. They might help bring fresh water to communities or education or land restoration or youth leadership training. Some of the shops I would recommend are Brilliant Earth and Do Amore
- Family Heirlooms. Ok now I personally don’t think these are something you can exactly go around asking for, but if you are lucky enough to be gifted a beautiful family ring. Love and cherish it …. I say that as an idiot who was gifted the most amazing emerald gemstone by my grandmother before she passed away and I lost it, guys I don’t regret a lot in my life but loosing this crushes me every time I think of it.
They are some of my top tips when trying to source you diamonds, based from the research I have done. This post geniuenly took a long time to do up as there is so much to it, so much that I didn’t speak about and so many things that are undergoing change (like Sierra Leone becoming a good and ethical supplier of diamonds). I suppose the main thing I wanted to do with this post was to make people aware that not every diamond is beautiful and you need to do your homework before you make a purchase, not to just trust your jewellers words, sometimes they genuinely might not know the truth. I know this post may not be as glitz and glam as some of my previous ‘Wedding Wednesday’ posts, but unfortunately, this is the world that we live in, we need to research everything to make there is no ugliness behind the purchase. I hope you, the reader have learnt something from this, and if you have anything to add please do so below 🙂
I will do a post at a later stage with information on jewellery companies that are having a great impact on the world and want to make a positive change. One of which is a company with whom I hope to buy the emerald ring pictured in my main post and just above at a later stage in life, if I ever do a ring revamp 🙂 The company which source ethical / recycled materials in order to make and design their rings – Kristin Coffin. But can we just take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the twig ring set is 🙂
If you would like to read some more on this subject some of the websites I found to be helpful are: