Did you know that in addition to being a symbol of your love and commitment, the sparkly diamond in your ring could also represent child labor, poverty and even death? By making sure that you are not buying jewelry that contains conflict diamonds, you can help to end the destructive cycle fueled by these gems. Learn how you can send a message to the world about your stance on unethically harvested diamonds and purchase clean diamonds with the information below.
The Story behind Conflict Diamonds
Conflict diamonds, which are also referred to by other names such as blood diamonds, have a history of being used to fund the illegal actions of military, rebel and terrorist groups. According to Amnesty International, billions of dollars in profit from the diamonds were exploited by these rebels and warlords to buy weapons during the wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Sierra Leone where citizens were terrorized, mutilated and killed. Although these wars are mostly over, diamonds are still being mined in rebel areas and are being sold in the international market.
In addition to funding war and terrorism, these diamonds are mined by workers who are severely underpaid, work in very hazardous conditions, and are often children. Workers in this industry are usually untrained and do not have safety equipment, which increases their risk of injury and death through events such as landslides and mine collapses.
Finding Conflict-Free Diamonds
There are some jewelers that do not know if the diamonds they are selling were acquired through illegal or unethical means. This means that it is up to you to determine whether or not these diamonds are conflict free. You can start by asking a few questions:
– Where do the diamonds you sell come from? - Does your company have a policy on conflict diamonds? - Can you show me documentation proving that your jewelry does not contain conflict diamonds?
You can also inquire about a Kimberly Process Certification. This certification was initiated by the UN in 2002, and it provides verification for legitimately obtained diamonds. If a jeweler can’t show you this document, then you might want to consider looking elsewhere for your wedding jewels.
Other Diamond Options
One way to avoid supporting conflict-diamonds is to purchase diamonds that are sourced from nearby areas such as Alaska or Canada. Another option is to buy man-made diamonds, which are identical to natural diamonds and guaranteed to be conflict free. Lab-created diamonds are also an eco-friendly option for your diamond needs.
The Power of your Voice
As the chief consumers and recipients of diamonds, women can have a significant impact on the diamond industry. By refusing to purchase or wear diamonds that support terrorism, child labor, poverty, and dangerous working conditions, you will be sending an influential message to the industry and the world as a whole. This is a way to show that you care about our earth and the people inhabiting it.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.