Conflict Free Diamonds
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Rarer Than You Think

a miner holds many carats of cut diamonds in various colors
The diamond industry has a certification process to assure buyers their gems aren't involved in violence: The Kimberley Process.
However, the certification has loopholes that allow blood diamonds to go into circulation, and the idea of an ethical diamond is more marketing than fact.

The first flaw is in how the Kimberley Process defines a blood diamond: "a conflict diamond is a rough diamond used by rebel movements or their allies to finance armed conflicts aimed at undermining legitimate governments."

The problem with this phrasing is perfectly illustrated by Zimbabwe, where the government kills and tortures mine workers, but the diamonds the country mines are still certified as "conflict-free" by the Kimberley Process. As you can see, these conflict-free gems are only guaranteed to be free of one very specific type of conflict. Kimberley Process stones still can (and do) fund human rights abuses.

The second part of the problem is that it's difficult (or even impossible) to track exactly where an individual diamond comes from; The Kimberley Process only tracks batches of gems, as opposed to individual stones. Diamonds may change hands up to 30 times before they reach the reseller you're buying from, and each time there's a chance an unknown diamond has been added to the batch and end up with KP certification.

Is There A Way to Guarantee my Diamond is Ethically Sourced?

Physically, there's no difference between a conflict diamond and any other diamond. An expert can't examine a diamond and tell you whether it came from a Zimbabwean mine or a Canadian one. Once the gem has changed hands repeatedly and been cut, it's impossible to trace it back to its source.

If the diamond you're considering is from Zimbabwe or Angola, you may want to say no. While there's no guarantee it's a conflict diamond, both countries have bad track records with human rights abuses in their mines. Instead, look for diamonds from a country with a solid human rights reputation like Namibia, Botswana, or Canada. Diamonds from Canada, the third-largest diamond-producing country in the world, lack the kind of conflict that might result in a blood diamond, and ensures stones are mined sustainably and ethically. Expect to pay more for a genuine Canadian diamond, but you can buy guilt-free.

What about Diamond Alternatives?

Thankfully, there are many great options for someone who wants a gemstone that's just as durable for a lifetime of daily wear as diamonds. My personal favorite gemstone is Sapphire , which comes in every color from white to black and everything in between. (Fun fact- rubies are just red sapphires!) If you're looking for a near perfect diamond lookalike and you don't like lab-grown diamonds or cubic zirconia, I recommend Moissanite , which is just as refractive and almost as hard as diamonds.

Coded by Maura Lenahan Dolphin of auram jewelry