If you want to have a clean conscience, buying a blood diamond from a conflict-free country is the way to go. There are a few conflict-free countries, including Namibia and Botswana, that have strong environmental and labor standards. The setting of Blood Diamond is Sierra Leone, but this country has improved since the Ebola epidemic. There are several advantages to buying conflict-free diamonds.
Lab-Grown diamonds are an inexpensive alternative to mined diamonds
Aside from being an attractive price point, lab-grown diamonds also have significant environmental benefits. They are much more energy efficient than mined diamonds, which use 538.5 million joules per carat. This leads to less carbon emissions, waste, and pollution. Furthermore, lab-grown diamonds are not backed by millions of dollars of marketing. In addition, their process is much the same, which means that they are equally as beautiful and equally as durable as mined diamonds.
Mined diamonds are created by mining deep underground, which ruins local habitats and endangered wildlife while endangering the lives of laborers. On the other hand, lab-grown diamonds are created in controlled conditions that mimic the diamond-growing conditions deep within the earth’s crust. These diamonds are identical to mined diamonds, even to the naked eye. Lab-grown diamonds are far cheaper and easier to obtain than mined diamonds.
Kimberley Process Certification
A key part of the Kimberley Process is certification of rough diamonds. This process is a multi-country initiative that requires diamond suppliers to comply with strict standards. Participating countries must include minimum certification requirements in their national legislation, which includes a requirement not to deal in conflict diamonds. Otherwise, participating countries may not trade with them. They must also ensure that their suppliers’ practices are transparent and ethical. There are many benefits to becoming a Kimberley Process certified supplier.
The Kimberley Process has helped curb the flow of conflict diamonds into the mainstream market. This program has also helped to prevent the trade of diamonds from fueling conflict in conflict-affected countries. It is a crucial step to protect the environment and people’s health from blood diamonds. This program helps to ensure that the diamonds are conflict-free and traceable. However, it is not perfect.
Atrocities associated with blood diamonds
The UN has defined “blood diamonds” as gems that fuel armed rebellions and conflicts. This definition is not accurate, however, as there are some recognized governments that abuse their control over legitimate diamond operations to enrich themselves and their associates at the expense of human rights. Conflict diamonds have fueled wars in Sierra Leone and Angola since the 1990s, leading to a range of human rights abuses and environmental destruction.
In Sierra Leone, “blood diamonds” were a main fuel for the brutal civil war that raged for a decade from 1991 to 2002. The illegal trade of these stones has prompted questions about the ethics of the diamond industry. In a recent election, the government and opposition parties fought over the future of the country’s diamonds, as President Ernest Bai Koroma bragged about his efforts to turn the industry around.
Small-scale diamond mines vs. terriorists
There’s a battle going on between small-scale diamond miners and terrorist groups in Burkina Faso, which has a difficult history of dealing with armed terriorists. The country’s central government, which does not support the miners, has not made combating illegal small-scale mining a priority. The lack of government support for these groups means that they often operate in a country without adequate protection.
The international community has been critical of KPCS and the conflict between the two groups. However, in January, the African Diamond Council chairman made an announcement in Angola that the military had dropped leaflets to miners in Kabonga. The next month, it killed 30 fighters, but the conflict continues. In May, the government launched Operation Uprooting, which has led to more than 500 deaths linked to jihadist groups in both regions. In September, Islamist fighters seized 15 mines in the eastern part of the country, which they control.
Tiffany’s policy on conflict diamonds
In the years since the conflict free diamonds debate first started, jewelry companies have been trying to stop the trade in these conflict stones. For Tiffany, this means committing to the Kimberley Process, a certification scheme launched by the UN in 2003 to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the market. Although the Kimberley Process has not yet completely stopped the trade in conflict diamonds, it is a good first step. It will ensure that its diamonds come from legitimate mines.
The jewelry industry has been plagued by conflicts over blood diamonds and other major products. While other companies and governments have avoided addressing the issue of conflict diamonds, Tiffany has made strides in tackling this problem. In 2015, the jewelry company appointed a chief sustainability officer to further its efforts to source ethically. Because of the conflicting nature of conflict diamonds, the company focuses on the supply chain and sourcing of its diamonds. However, these efforts are time-consuming and may not benefit everyone.