As summer approaches and we start attending all those friends’ weddings, we admire the beautiful rings and diamonds that symbolize love and commitment. Yet some of those diamonds may have a dark history. Because diamonds are such a valuable gem, the journey from the mine to the store often involves violence and bloodshed, hence the term “blood diamonds.” How do we understand this issue, and how can we actively make sure that the gift we give loved ones doesn’t hurt others in the process? Here’s how you can start:
Step 1.) Educate yourself on blood diamonds with this infographic:
2. Know How to Shop
When browsing through stores, make sure to ask at least three of these questions:
- From what country are your company’s diamonds imported?
- Do you know where the diamond was mined, cut and polished?
- Can you provide a guarantee in writing from your diamond supplier stating that this diamond is not a conflict diamond?
- Can I see a copy of your company’s policy on conflict diamonds?
Don’t let them pull a fast one on you either about it being more expensive to get conflict-free diamonds. Keep in mind that due to the Kimberley Process, the awareness and reverence of Conflict Diamonds is established among the jewelry world. “Experts agree that any reputable diamond dealer should be able to provide the necessary documentation to put your mind at ease. If they can’t do that, simply take your business elsewhere.” ~ Alia Hoyt from HowStuffWorks.com
3. Consider Alternatives
- Diamonds from Canada, Russia or Australia
- Man-Made Diamonds: Lab grown diamonds (same genetic makeup) & diamond simulants which achieve mimicking the look of real diamonds. Look into companies like Gemises and MiaDonna.
- Vintage Gems
- Even wood rings! Check out eco-friendly and unique SimplyWoodRings.
- Tanzanite is 1000X rarer than diamonds. Consider this deep blue stone found in Africa. Check out tanzanite.com.
4. Educate Yourself Further
According to Katie McDonough from SALON.com, 1 in 4 diamonds in the market today are conflict stones, if not from overlooked illegal transactions, then from more than 500,000 individuals’ maltreatment in the processing of unpolished diamonds before shipment. Some critics of the Kimberley Process and Conflict Diamond movement assert that it is “better safe than sorry” to not buy real diamonds at all to escape the possibilities of promoting inhumane treatment around the globe.
The problem is, there are multitudes of innocent people in India and Africa who need their rough diamond business to thrive in order to survive. Hence, pointing back to the previously listed stores and alternative actions. To learn more check out:
5. Broaden Awareness
Not many people are aware of Conflict Diamonds, their significance or how to take practical action regarding these catastrophic circumstances. Take responsibility for this new information and pass it on through email, Facebook, Twitter, day-to-day conversation, etc. If you talk to anyone who is interested in buying a diamond for any reason, you know what to do! Join us in making an impactful difference in people’s lives in seemingly small ways.
If you would like to get more deeply involved, donate or volunteer at HandsForAfrica.