As global diamond sales reached $77.5 billion in 2017, it’s difficult to believe that something as beautiful as a sparkling diamond could have anything to do with forced labor or civil war.
After all, ethical diamonds are given to a loved one to symbolize love and commitment or purchase as a long-term investment.
But the market contains blood or conflict diamonds, which have mined in war zones and then sold illegally to finance more war and terror.
At the center of this unethical operation are rebel forces, arms merchants, smugglers. And also, dishonest diamond dealers who sell these diamonds to unsuspecting buyers.
Increasing concerns over ethical practices, environmental issues, and human rights violations have seen a transformation within the industry and the growth of ethical diamonds.
Blood And Conflict Diamonds
- Since 2013, around 140,000 carats of blood diamonds have been smuggled out of the Central African Republic, with armed rebels making as much as $5.8 million each year through the illegal diamond trade.
- But as the rebels raising millions for war fund and terror efforts. There is a high human and environmental cost.
- Many of the one million miners are five. And also, the conditions miners forcibly working in are incredibly hazardous.
- They also live in severe poverty. Unauthorized mining is also devastating for the environment, surrounding land, and ecosystems.
Shopping For Ethical Diamonds
- While it can be shocking to learn the true origin of many of the diamonds available for you to purchase, there are several ways you can support ethical diamond mining when you next buy a stone.
- Buy from a diamond seller with a zero-tolerance approach to blood diamonds and who supports the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. And also, an internationally recognized system requiring members to follow strict rules to ensure conflict diamonds don’t enter legitimate trade.
- Alternatively, you could choose to buy a recycled or reclaimed diamond, once owned and then put back into the supply chain.
- They often recut, polished, and placed in new settings. Recycled diamonds receive the same certifications as newly cut ethical diamonds.
- An increasingly popular way to avoid conflict diamonds is to purchase lab-grown and synthetic diamonds.
- The market for quality synthetic diamonds is booming, recording annual sales of more than $420 million.
- Looking identical to natural diamonds, these are entirely man-made and don’t pose any risk to the miner or environment.
- Lab-grown diamonds are of such high quality that the Federal Trade Commission has extended. And its definition of a diamond to include stones grown in laboratories.
- If you purchase a diamond grown in a lab, careful that they don’t tend to hold their value in the way traditionally mined diamonds do. However, they do offer an ethical and conflict-free alternative.
- When you choose a diamond, your purchase will impact the people responsible for mining it, cutting it. And also, designing it, as well as the person who sold it to you.
- By purchasing ethically produced diamonds, you will be doing fellow humans and the environment a huge favor.