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Conflict Diamonds - the facts

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I have heard/read about "blood free" diamonds that have a traced history as to have been obtained without bloodshed. Has anyone heard of this ?

 

My fiancee also asked about me getting her a "blood free" diamond and I told her I did not know where to look.

 

Suggestions?

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This is a complicated question. "Blood diamonds", "Conflict diamonds" and similar terms are used to describe stones where the stones' history contains at least one worker who was not treated fairly. Of late, this has referred to revolutionaries in Sierra Leone and Angola who have been using slave labor to mine diamonds and then using the proceeds from the mining to fund their war but there have been plenty of other similar issues over the years. Diamonds have been synonymous with money for a long long time, and money has been a part of war since money was invented. Plundering natural resources has been one of the primary purposes of almost every war ranging from the Spanish conquistadors to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Although it's not usually about diamonds, it's a very similar issue whether you're talking about gold, iron, lumber or oil and all have all been plagued with similar problems. The manufacturing processes can also be done in an exploitive fashion and has lead to abuses in India, China, Vietnam, Russia and many other places.

 

There is no scientific test to know where a particular stone was mined, where it was cut or who was involved in the various processes although there are more clues available than there are with, say, oil or gold. The customary solution involves a certification system called the Kimberly Process where every time the stone changes hands during it's path from the mine to the retailer the seller must declare that they either mined it themselves using UN approved methods or they bought it from someone who provided them with the this assurance. This produces a chain of certification that leads all the way from the mine to the consumer. It works pretty well, and there has been an international treaty making it illegal to import diamonds into the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and most of the rest of the world without Kimberly Certification since 2002. If you buy a stone from a legitimate dealer in one of these countries, this solves about 99% of the problem.

 

There are some brands of diamonds where part of the value of the brand is that they guarantee the origin. The government of the Northwest Territories in Canada has a certification of stones mined and cut in Canada and, presumably, that process doesn't involve slaves or recently stolen lands. The governments of South Africa and Botswana have similar programs although they aren't as well marketed in the US as the Canadian goods. There are also cutting houses that offer various statements about how their workers are treated and where they get their supplies as part of their brand marketing. Most dealers can get these stones if you ask about them.

 

Another tactic is to buy vintage or antique stones. This doesn't guarantee that your stone was mined in a responsible way but at least it means that you aren't contributing to the current crop of pirates in Africa. Diamonds recycle pretty well and recycling is a good thing in its own right.

 

Congratulations on wishing to spend your money in a socially responsible way. I agree with you and I would like to point out that there is another side to this as well. Mining and manufacturing of diamonds is a major economic activity for many of the nations of the world and it's the way that hundreds of thousands of people feed themselves and their families. The tendency to boycott diamonds entirely, or to buy exclusively Canadian goods over these issues is harming exactly the people that it's supposed to help. The flip side of avoiding "blood diamonds" is to encourage the consumption of "development diamonds". There are fine people in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and many other places who both need and deserve your business every bit as much as the Canadians do.

 

You can read more about Kimberly Process, who they are and how it works on their official site here:

 

http://www.kimberleyprocess.com

 

Neil


Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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Excellent post Neil.

 

Deserves a 'sticky' status for any one to see that may be asking the question(s) the OP did.

 

I especially appreciate you pointing out the other side of the story as it is seldom mentioned.


Brian Knox

 

 

www.knoxjewelers.biz

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I have heard/read about "blood free" diamonds that have a traced history as to have been obtained without bloodshed. Has anyone heard of this ?

 

My fiancee also asked about me getting her a "blood free" diamond and I told her I did not know where to look.

 

Suggestions?

 

i was going to purchase a diamond ring from Blue Nile, which have great service and customer support, until the girlfriend mentioned she too wanted a conflict-free diamond. ugh! i live in a small town, so none of the jewelers were able to help. next step was online.

 

i first looked up on wikipedia so i get a better understanding.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_free_diamond

 

after checking out a few of the links on the page, i googled Polar Bear diamond:

 

http://www.polarbeardiamond.com/

 

in my google search i came upon Brilliant Earth.

 

http://www.brilliantearth.com/index.aspx

 

after researching the company and reading thier web page, i decided that this is where i want to buy one. i like the fact they provide canadian diamonds with a conflict free certificate, they try to use renewable metals and seem to be very social conscience company. i spoke with Eric and he was great help as he answered all my questions.

 

i think most diamonds are conflict free, but if you want to be sure, i'd make sure you get a diamond with a history behind it.

 

anyway, hope that helps.

 

FYI we havent seen the movie Blood Diamond yet. maybe we'll watch it after i give it to her.

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I have heard/read about "blood free" diamonds that have a traced history as to have been obtained without bloodshed. Has anyone heard of this ?

 

My fiancee also asked about me getting her a "blood free" diamond and I told her I did not know where to look.

 

Suggestions?

 

i was going to purchase a diamond ring from Blue Nile, which have great service and customer support, until the girlfriend mentioned she too wanted a conflict-free diamond. ugh! i live in a small town, so none of the jewelers were able to help. next step was online.

 

i first looked up on wikipedia so i get a better understanding.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_free_diamond

 

after checking out a few of the links on the page, i googled Polar Bear diamond:

 

http://www.polarbeardiamond.com/

 

in my google search i came upon Brilliant Earth.

 

http://www.brilliantearth.com/index.aspx

 

after researching the company and reading thier web page, i decided that this is where i want to buy one. i like the fact they provide canadian diamonds with a conflict free certificate, they try to use renewable metals and seem to be very social conscience company. i spoke with Eric and he was great help as he answered all my questions.

 

i think most diamonds are conflict free, but if you want to be sure, i'd make sure you get a diamond with a history behind it.

 

anyway, hope that helps.

 

FYI we havent seen the movie Blood Diamond yet. maybe we'll watch it after i give it to her.

 

 

Brilliant Earth does not appear to offer certification that the diamond is in fact Canadian. There conflict-free guarantee also appears to be just a piece of paper they came up with - nothing official. If the diamond doesn't have a laser engraved id showing it's from Canada and government (or possibly Canadamark) documentation along with it there's no way to prove it's Canadian.

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Brilliant Earth does not appear to offer certification that the diamond is in fact Canadian. There conflict-free guarantee also appears to be just a piece of paper they came up with - nothing official. If the diamond doesn't have a laser engraved id showing it's from Canada and government (or possibly Canadamark) documentation along with it there's no way to prove it's Canadian.

 

Actually it does comes with a Canadamark card. the card which is like a credit card is blue, with the Canadamark on it and a serial number. when we took the diamond to be appraised, they used a microscope to see the laser engraved Canadamark symbol on the girdle, followed by the matching serial number from the Canadamark card. when i looked through the 'scope, i had a tough time finding it, but i eventually did. she said if i used a loupe, it will be easier find, now i know where its located.

 

but if you plan on having the small side stones like we did, they do not have laser engraving on them.

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Brilliant Earth does not appear to offer certification that the diamond is in fact Canadian. There conflict-free guarantee also appears to be just a piece of paper they came up with - nothing official. If the diamond doesn't have a laser engraved id showing it's from Canada and government (or possibly Canadamark) documentation along with it there's no way to prove it's Canadian.

 

Actually it does comes with a Canadamark card. the card which is like a credit card is blue, with the Canadamark on it and a serial number. when we took the diamond to be appraised, they used a microscope to see the laser engraved Canadamark symbol on the girdle, followed by the matching serial number from the Canadamark card. when i looked through the 'scope, i had a tough time finding it, but i eventually did. she said if i used a loupe, it will be easier find, now i know where its located.

 

but if you plan on having the small side stones like we did, they do not have laser engraving on them.

 

There you go Fab...you still don't know then if your diamonds are 100% conflict free. Most reputable diamond dealers/retailers are in fact subcribers or signatories (like Cartier) to the Kimberly Process to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the marketplace. But like all things, if devised by man - man will find ways. No one can absolutely, guarantee that every diamond that they sell is conflict free. The most you can hope for is maybe 99% At least the companies that I know of will go that far at least. My neighber, Tiffany used to say their's were 100%, because they had their own mines in Canada and therefore controlled their supply chain. As I understand it, Tiffany's has sold their Canadian mine(s) and although may still purchase them, they also buy on the open markets in Belgium and Holland, like everybody else.

 

I think you did well and went further than most people to insure that at least the center stone of your ring is conflict free. Presume the best and it is likely that all of your diamonds are the same.

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It’s more like 99.9% The critics say it’s only 99.8%. :lol:

 

Every diamond legally imported into the United States since 2002 has been required to be part of the Kimberley process whether it came from Canada, Namibia, Australia or anywhere else. Every major diamond producing, diamond consuming or diamond processing country is a signer to Kimberley including China, India, Sierra Leone (where the DeCaprio movie is set) and even traditional ‘bad guy’ states like Russia and Vietnam. You would find it hard to buy a conflict diamond in the US, Europe, Canada, Japan et al if you tried. 0.1% of the world supply is still a serious problem, and the industry, the non-profits and the affected countries are working hard to make that even smaller but this is not nearly the problem that people are expecting based on the Hollywood portrayals.

 

Here’s some additional reading on the topic.

 

www.diamondfacts.org A diamond industry site telling their side of the story.

www.globalwitness.org Global Witness is one of the biggest critics out there.

 

Neil


Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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It’s more like 99.9% The critics say it’s only 99.8%. :rolleyes:

 

Every diamond legally imported into the United States since 2002 has been required to be part of the Kimberley process whether it came from Canada, Namibia, Australia or anywhere else. Every major diamond producing, diamond consuming or diamond processing country is a signer to Kimberley including China, India, Sierra Leone (where the DeCaprio movie is set) and even traditional ‘bad guy’ states like Russia and Vietnam. You would find it hard to buy a conflict diamond in the US, Europe, Canada, Japan et al if you tried. 0.1% of the world supply is still a serious problem, and the industry, the non-profits and the affected countries are working hard to make that even smaller but this is not nearly the problem that people are expecting based on the Hollywood portrayals.

 

Here’s some additional reading on the topic.

 

www.diamondfacts.org A diamond industry site telling their side of the story.

www.globalwitness.org Global Witness is one of the biggest critics out there.

 

Neil

 

Ok - So Hi - before i get blasted for being a one time poster - It is because I have jsut joined. I did however work for the largest diamond producer in the world. Who fairly reciently went into retail - where I worked

No the Kimberly agreement is nothing more than a gentlemans agreement. Be honest if you go into ANY retail store here in the US and ask if the diamonds sold are Kimberly compliant you we generally get a Yes. Occasionally I've got a ?????. How ever the next question is OK Prove it to me. And at that point everyone falls over.

I managed to get very close with being able to trace the true paper trail back to source to prove compliance but even with all the might of the diamond mogal there was no way to prove all stones to be compliant. So that said - as they compliant? Probably. But Probably is the best honest answer anyone can give you.

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