There’s a lot of hype around conflict-free diamonds, and rightly so. Who could live happily ever after knowing that somewhere in the world, someone lost a home or a family member because of your diamond engagement ring? It’s not easy having that on your conscience, which is why jewellers and jewellery retailers everywhere are striving to only buy and sell diamonds that are certified conflict free. But how can we be 100% sure that our bling has never had a hand (however small) in wars or terror regimes around the world?
The honest truth is that you can never be totally, unequivocally certain. Documents can be convincingly forged, supply chains can be corrupted, and traders can make honest mistakes despite having the best intentions. And the Kimberley Process – despite claiming that 99% of diamonds in the global marketplace are now conflict-free – does have its imperfections.
However, you CAN be sure beyond all reasonable doubt that your diamond is conflict-free if you follow a few simple guidelines…
Demand the nitty gritty details. Don’t be afraid to grill your jeweller on the subject of conflict-free diamonds. Ask them to provide information on their supply chain, their stance on the issue of blood diamonds, and be sure to ask for proof of where your diamond was mined. Don’t accept obviously ‘easy’ or ‘salesy’ answers. A good jeweller will not only know these details inside out, they’ll also be happy to walk you through them from start to finish.
Familiarise yourself with diamond producing countries. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but countries with high standards and ethical, usually sustainable mining practices include Canada, Russia, Botswana and Namibia. Ones to avoid at present include Liberia, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone. However the situation is ever changing and some countries on various ‘to avoid’ lists have in fact made big improvements in recent years. Always look for the most up to date and accurate information.
Buy from Kimberely Process endorsers. The Kimberley Process was established in 2003 to eliminate conflict diamonds from the global marketplace. Participants are required to not produce conflict diamonds, trade only with each other, and follow a certification process so that all diamonds are traceable from the mine. In reality the Process has a lot of loopholes and its scope is very limited. However, purchasing a diamond from a jeweller who endorses it is at least one step above one who makes no mention of it. Again, don’t be afraid to grill them – consider the Kimbereley Process endorsement as the minimum criteria and go from there.
Check the paperwork. Don’t even think about purchasing a diamond without seeing the paperwork first. Your jeweller should supply you with a System of Warranties document, which is basically a personal declaration by them that they’ve obtained their diamonds from reputable sources. The individual diamond should also have its own certificate from the GIA or another established authority on gemstones, which helps trace the diamond to the mine. And then there’s the obvious stuff like sales dockets, refund policies and so on. When you do purchase, make sure you get a copy of all of the above for your records, too.
Choose the right jeweller. Do your research and choose a jeweller you can trust. Whether it’s a big name brand or an expert individual, the right jeweller will not steer you wrong. Voice your concerns about conflict diamonds and they’ll do everything they can to source the most ethical gems for you. And that’s before they even begin to create the engagement ring of your dreams!
Canada Mark Diamonds are sourced from Canada’s Northwest Territories and are mined with the environment and local socio-economic needs in mind. JamesAllen.com is the exclusive online retailer of these diamonds and are offering a discount on all settings purchased with Canada Mark diamonds from now until the end of the year.