December 13, 2010

Diamonds Free from Blood & Tears. ~ Rachel Ava

Is that sparkle worth this true cost?

Your diamond ring may sparkle brighter than the Eiffel Tower on New Year’s Eve…but  where does your diamond really come from?  If you can’t answer that question, then you need to take a step back and seriously consider the trail your ring has made from the mine to your pretty little finger.

It is completely possible to enjoy a gorgeous piece of jewelry without feeding into an international conflict or ecological problem- if you take the proper precautions when you’re purchasing.  The best practice in diamond ring consumerism is making sure that your diamond is completely conflict-free.  The first time I ever bought a diamond, I was already at a point in my life where understood the possible negative ties my purchase could have.  I did a bit of research (before I was ever involved in the diamond industry) and found out exactly how I could avoid fueling injustices in African mining regions with my diamond dollars.

What is Conflict- Free?

A working definition of “conflict free” means that the sale of the diamond will not go to fuel any rebel factions.  Conflict diamonds, or blood diamonds have been tied to human rights violations, violence, exploitation, and civil wars in Africa.

Although the widely known definition of “conflict free” means that the diamonds don’t have a connection to civil war or rebel initiatives, it’s important to take diamond security one step further and make sure your diamonds do not come from areas that infringe on the basic human rights of the workers in the diamond mines, or on the environmental wellness of the mining area.  Damages to the environment in diamond mining areas are not only detrimental wildlife, flora, and fauna, but they are extremely dangerous for the rural human populations that live in the area.

One of the most controversial regions of diamond mining today is from Zimbabwe.  Zimbabwe mines and controls a majority of the world’s rough diamond trade.  Their practices do not adhere to the regulations of the Kimberly Process Certification scheme- which has led to a suspension of sales from the Marange region of Zimbabwe.  Although these diamonds are heavily sanctioned, they are still exported and sold internationally.

How to do your part:

There’s no need to give up on the dream of gorgeous engagement rings- you just need to be aware of the origin and arm yourself with facts.  The world Diamond Council has a great website where you can learn all about the negative and positive effects diamond have on the global market.  You can also view the answers to all of your questions on the site, Diamond Price Guide.  I found this site particularly interesting when I was searching for diamond facts recently.  My sister graduated from High School last June when the Kimberly Process was under way- and I really wanted to make sure that the diamonds I bought for we were eco-friendly and conflict free.

To really be sure that your diamonds come from a conflict-free zone, buy Canadian diamonds.  Canadian diamonds can leave you assured that the mining process is not harsh on the environment, and the workers are all treated well and paid a fair wage.  Finding out the history of the diamond is almost as rich and interesting as the unique diamond itself.  So do a little research and wear your diamond proud!

Thanks to Town Project for the featured image.

Rachel Ava is a jewelry and diamond expert, with a passion for all things nature.  She works as a consultant for major jewelry companies and in her free time she writes and researches about conflict-diamonds and best-consumer practices.  She is also an avid yogalaties practitioner.

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