It’s heartbreaking to know that a diamond ring catalogue can include a list of ethical no-nos, from conflict diamonds funding hostile warfare to slave labour and other unfair practices during the manufacturing process.
Do you pride yourself as an ethical bride? Here’s a question for you: how do you make sure that no evils were done before the piece of dazzling bling lands on your ring finger happily ever after?
Engagement and weddings are supposed to be all-white affairs, and surely no one wants a blood-stained engagement ring. So here we’re giving you the low-down on choosing the perfect engagement ring that’s truly ethical and conflict-free. TIPS: thinking your man might surprise you with an engagement ring? Forward him this article so that he knows what makes you say ‘yes’ when he bedazzles you with the bling-bling!
What are Blood Diamonds?
Blood diamonds (the term made well known by the DiCaprio’s movie) are also known as conflict diamonds. The United Nations defines conflict diamonds as “diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments” (sourced here). And underneath these political unrests are humanity crisis where people living in those areas are often controlled by force to work in mines under appalling conditions, brutality and slave labour practice. In 1990s, extreme brutality over control of mines in West African country Sierra Leone has brought the world’s attention to this exploitative activity, both to our natural resources and civilians.
What are Conflict-free Diamonds?
Luckily the UN and international communities have stood up against these devious practices. The Kimberley Process Certification System has been in place since 2003 to guard against conflict diamonds entering the legitimate diamond supply chains. The process aims to do this by enforcing all gemstone traders and suppliers to follow a single legitimate procedure that focuses on the ethical and environmentally sound sourcing of diamonds (sourced here).
Another big win is that a voluntary system has been in place among the diamond industry to include a warranty on the invoice of every diamond sold stating it is conflict free.
How can I be sure a Diamond is Conflict-free?
Today, it’s estimated that 99% of the world’s diamonds is conflict-free (sourced here). However, even one single piece of blood diamond is way too many and there’s still a massive battle to fight. As savvy consumers, let’s do our part to put an end to these unethical practices, and make sure our hard earned money goes towards a piece of squeaky clean diamond!
The best way is to ask your jewelers these 3 questions:
- Where are the diamonds sourced from?
- Is there a copy of your company’s policy stating your commitment to conflict-free diamonds? Is the information publicly available?
- Is there a written guarantee from your suppliers stating all diamonds are conflict-free?
The bottom line? If your jeweler can’t give you firm answers and doesn’t have an openly displayed conflict-free diamond policy, forget about it. Shop somewhere else. The last thing you want is get tricked into supporting those unacceptable trade practices.
You know you can always count on us to inspire, so here you have our top picks of oh so swoon-worthy engagement rings all made from ethically trade diamonds:
So tell me dear fellow eco soul, what are the things you look for when making the important purchase of your life i.e. your engagement ring? Have you ever thought about if your piece of diamond is actually conflict-free? Do you have any tips to share with our fellow brides-to-be on buying ethically trade gemstone and diamonds? What are some other aspects of wedding planning that we could all be more socially conscious? I’d love to start a conversation with you so be sure to leave your comments below.
Till next time. Stay classy!
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Disclaimer: this story was written in collaboration with Diamond Emporium while all opinions are genuinely our own. Thanks for supporting our advertisers who make providing free content to you all possible!