How to Buy Conflict Free Diamonds

Two Methods:Choosing a Conflict-Free DiamondChoosing Conflict-Free Alternatives to Diamonds

It's easy to be swept up by the beauty of a diamond. But, it can also be hard to forget that many diamonds are mined under terrible conditions where the workers are exploited. Diamond mining can also fund violent movements that create instability in fragile African nations. One of the best things you can do as a consumer, is to ask questions. Find out where your diamond comes from and under what conditions it was mined. Or, choose a different ethically sourced gemstone which can be just as beautiful.

Method 1
Choosing a Conflict-Free Diamond

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    Research reputable jewelers. Your starting point for finding a conflict-free diamond is to find a jeweler you trust and who has a selection you'd like to choose from. The jeweler should be known to specialize in conflict-free jewelry. Consider using a jeweler who ethically sources their diamonds, funds projects in the communities where the diamonds are mined, and supports the Diamond Development Initiative.[1]
    • The Diamond Development Initiative tries to make all diamond mining accountable to human rights and environment standards. It hopes to support small scale and artisan miners in mining ethical diamonds while investing in local communities.[2]
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    Talk with your jeweler. Ask where the diamonds were mined. The jeweler should be able to tell you about every step of the process that the diamond takes from being mined to ending up in the jewelry store. If your jeweler doesn't know, is vague, or or assures you the diamond is fine without answering your question, find a more knowledgeable jeweler to work with.[3]
    • If the jeweler tells you that the diamond is certified by the Kimberly Process or came from a reputable source, continue asking questions until you get a more detailed response. You should find out exactly where the diamond comes from and under what conditions.
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    Recognize the limits of the Kimberly Process. The Kimberly Process is a certification program that tries to prevent diamond mining from funding conflict. Countries that participate in the Kimberly Process are supposed to self-regulate and trade only with other countries that agree to the program. Unfortunately, some argue that the program is ineffective since there's no staff or enforcement.[4]
    • The Kimberly Process doesn't address the serious issues of child labor and environmental destruction from diamond mining. There are also concerns that their definition of "conflict diamonds" is too narrow to be effective.
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    Avoid diamonds from areas of conflict. Several human rights agencies like Amnesty International have documented human rights abuse in several countries that mine diamonds. Avoid diamonds from these countries as well as from countries where mining funds conflict. Specifically, don't buy diamonds that have been mined from Zimbabwe, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, and Liberia. Instead, choose a diamond from an area where human rights are protected and environmental standards are followed. You might want to get your diamond from:[5]
    • Canada
    • Botswana
    • Namibia
    • Sierra Leone
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    Look for vintage or antique diamonds. If you have a family heirloom diamond, but don't like the setting or style of the piece, take it to a jeweler. The jeweler can usually reset or recut the diamond and create a new setting or design.[6]
    • Although you may not know where the antique or vintage diamond was mined, you'll at least avoid supporting current abuses and exploitation in the diamond business.

Method 2
Choosing Conflict-Free Alternatives to Diamonds

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    Buy a synthetically grown diamond. If you're still unsure or uncomfortable about buying a diamond, you might want to buy a lab-grown diamond or lab-grown gemstone like moissanite that looks just like a diamond. Choosing a lab-grown stone will guarantee that your jewelry came from a conflict-free source.[7]
    • Moissanite is almost as hard as a diamond so you can wear it without fear of scratching or tarnishing it.
    • Synthetic stones are usually less expensive than diamonds.
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    Consider buying a gemstone. You may decide that you don't want a diamond or synthetic diamond. Instead, you choose a colorful or clear gemstone or precious stone. You might want to buy an emerald, ruby, turquoise, or lapis lazuli if you want a pop of color or a piece of jewelry that's as unique as you are.[8]
    • Be aware that softer stones like opals and pearls will tarnish and scratch easier than harder stones. If you buy a softer stone, you may want to wear it only occasionally.
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    Research the source of the stone. Remember that even though your stone isn't a diamond, it probably came from a mine. Ask your jeweler to give you details about where the stone was originally mined. The jeweler should be able to give you specifics about where the stone was mined and under what conditions.
    • Some companies advertise fairly traded gems so it's worth asking if the gems are certified.
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    Check the source of your gold. Don't forget to check the material that supports your diamond, especially if it's gold. Current gold mining practices can be environmentally destructive, leaching mercury and cyanide. Ensure the health of the workers and the environment by choosing recycled gold. You can also purchase fair trade gold.[9]
    • Again, you need to ask your jeweler where the gold is mined. Fortunately, several large companies have begun pushing for mining regulations and investment in mining communities.[10]

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Categories: Jewelry and Watches