Ethical diamonds go beyond being conflict-free. Ethical jewellers take great care to ensure every stage of a diamond’s journey is sustainable and socially responsible.
This goes beyond the Kimberly Process and seeks to empower informal artisanal mining communities through fair wages and safe working conditions, with no form of exploitation along the way during mining or processing of ethical diamonds.
Human Rights Violations
Diamond mining has long been associated with human rights abuses. Smuggled diamonds have helped finance wars and rights violations in countries like Angola, Zimbabwe, and Democratic Republic of Congo for years.
Even though some companies have taken steps to address these issues, the problem remains pervasive and complex. Mining companies often fail to identify human rights risks and act accordingly, while some governments use their control of legal diamond production for personal gain or protecting corrupt associates.
One way to reduce these impacts is to purchase recycled ethical lab diamonds, which do not require mining. Or look for jewellers that can explain where their diamonds came from and any environmental impacts they may have caused. Be wary of companies offering vague responses about their sourcing policies as this could indicate they are not as ethical as claimed. Inquire instead about international standards like Kimberley Process for responsible business practices.
“Ethical diamonds” is becoming a trending topic within the diamond industry and among consumers concerned about environmental and ethical concerns surrounding new mined stones. Recycling diamonds offers one viable solution to avoid further mining while lessening environmental and worker impacts in the process.
Origin is key when considering environmental sustainability in diamonds; therefore, when buying, look for fair trade diamonds as well as those produced under sustainable lab conditions. Also look out for certification from your brand to ensure they’re not greenwashing and visit their website to view information regarding sourcing and manufacturing processes.
Ethical diamonds are produced under conditions that promote health and safety for miners and their communities, including paying fair market prices and offering safe working environments. Furthermore, ethical diamonds provide additional programs supporting workers, such as training and safety awareness – an improvement over conflict-free diamonds which fail to address worker exploitation or community health and safety.
Diamond mining employs approximately 10 million people globally. Criticizing or calling for the end of diamond mining — as some have done such as Leonardo DiCaprio in “Blood Diamonds” (2006) — would be devastating for them and their families.
Diamond industry and governments can work together to raise living standards in mining communities through improved pay, health care, education, infrastructure investments and other community investments. Establishing cooperatives of mine workers who collaborate on improving their lives together is another powerful form of social responsibility.
Be wary of companies that claim to be sustainable or conflict free but lack knowledge about where their diamonds come from; marketing gimmicks may only serve to convince you they do so responsibly. Gem Breakfast only uses reliable companies with proven ethical sourcing methods such as these – like Gem Breakfast itself.
As consumers become more socially responsible when purchasing items like an engagement ring, it’s essential that they realize not all diamonds are created equal. There are various methods available to consumers who wish to find an ethical diamond that not only conforms to the Kimberley Process but also addresses human rights and environmental concerns.
Unethical mining practices not only pose human rights violations but also have severe environmental repercussions. Mining produces toxic waste rock and tailings which pollute waterways, leaving behind toxic waters that mix with groundwater to form tailing ponds where toxic water mixes with freshwater sources to kill everything it touches, including animals and plants.
Fair trade practices seek to mitigate these issues by mandating that mines reduce their eco-footprint, invest in local communities and workers, and meet strict labour and human rights standards. Jewellery makers have adopted these practices into fair-trade diamonds that look and perform like their traditionally mined counterparts but come with ethical certification.