What Are Ethical Diamonds?
From the coffee we sip in the morning to the diamonds we buy, conscientious consumers are becoming more aware of the social and environmental impact of the products they purchase. Finding the right diamond is one thing, but making sure it’s ethically sourced is a whole other ballgame.
The 2006 movie, Blood Diamond, shocked audiences and brought attention to the issues surrounding conflict diamonds. It depicted rebel groups during the civil war in Sierra Leone in the 1990s, engaged in brutal tactics to smuggle and sell diamonds. Ever since, the question of ethical diamond sourcing has come to the forefront of diamond purchases.
A diamond is one of the most important and meaningful purchases you’ll ever make— so make sure they aren’t created by a cycle of ethical and environmental strife. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to choosing ethical and conflict-free diamonds.
What Is a Conflict or Blood Diamond?
Conflict diamonds or blood diamonds generally come from war-affected areas. During the civil wars between the 1980s and into the 2000s, rebel groups occupied diamond mines to fund their activities. These groups also intimidated the local population, massacred entire villages, and injured millions of people.
In places not necessarily ravaged by war, certain mines treat their workers poorly, underpay them, and may use child labor in their operations. Others use threats to keep their unpaid workforce laboring.
Fortunately, over the last few decades, many international organizations and human rights groups worked hard to significantly reduce the number of blood diamonds on the market. Experts state that nowadays over 99 % of diamonds on the market are conflict-free. But until that number reaches 100 %, many groups and diamond retailers will continue the fight against unethical diamond mining.
Conflict-Free & Ethical Diamonds
Conflict-free, cruelty-free and ethical diamonds are terms often used interchangeably but are not entirely the same. Conflict-free refers to diamonds which haven’t financed civil wars. Ethical diamonds take it a step further, ensuring equitable pay, safe working conditions, environmentally sound practices, and zero human rights abuses. This essentially means that a diamond has been mined and shipped without any connection to rebel or terror groups. When you buy an ethical diamond, it means it has followed a process where no societal and environmental harm has been done.
What Is the Kimberley Process?
Following the Sierra Leone civil war in the 1990s and continued conflict in Africa, the diamond industry partnered with the United Nations to implement the Kimberley Process. This created new requirements and regulations to ensure that diamonds are mined and shipped in the most ethical way possible and have no ties to criminal activities.
Participating countries (which now includes 82 countries) closely monitor diamonds, from mining and cutting to the final purchase. Once the diamond has been cleared of any association with criminal activities, the diamond receives a Kimberley Process certificate. Thanks to the widespread adoption of The Kimberley Process, conflict diamonds and related crimes have dropped considerably worldwide.
The World Diamond Council (WDC) is the diamond industry’s representative in the Kimberley Process.
The System of Warranties
The System of Warranties complements the Kimberley Process since it not only applies to rough diamonds but also to polished diamonds. This means that every invoice must feature a statement guaranteeing that the diamond is “Conflict Free”, in other words that it comes from a legitimate source that has in no way been involved in financing armed conflict.
The Woodeex Promise: Ethical Diamonds
Woodeex maintains a zero-tolerance policy toward conflict diamonds. We only work with suppliers that guarantee that the diamonds they sell to Woodeex comply with all applicable laws and are certified conflict-free.
Our company guidelines exceed the Kimberley Process, by providing access and being transparent about our suppliers, an exclusive network of professional diamond dealers from the world’s largest diamond exchanges.
By providing visibility into the diamond origin and the supply chain, we show the origin and the route each diamond takes to the consumer. This level of transparency is at the heart of our operations and what Woodeex stands for.