Jewelry is more than sparkle, glitz, and glamour; it is a statement, a sentiment we share with others, an affirmation we give to recipients or ourselves. But it quickly loses its shine when it has unsafe, unethical, and even blood-soaked origins. As consumers, we are better informed than ever; we have virtually unlimited data, facts, figures, and intel at the tip of our fingers. While the diamond industry has traditionally been shrouded in mystery, it is time (past time) for transparency.
Sustainably sourced diamond engagement rings, pendants, earrings, bracelets, and other products are not only beautiful - they are mined and distributed in a way that is responsible to and conscientious of individual workers, communities, and the environment.
Diamond Jewelry: Sustainably Sourced
Purchasing sustainably sourced diamond engagement rings and other products is not just about “feeling good” about our jewelry. Yes, that is part of it. We want to be proud of the pieces we wear. But it’s not about us. It’s about the people, communities, and land that are directly involved in the mining of diamonds that really matter here.
Unsafe, unethical diamond mining practices have a number of negative consequences:
The Kimberley Process has slowed the flood of conflict diamonds, also called blood diamonds, to a trickle. It has kept 99.8 percent of these diamonds off the market. But, as many argue, it does not go far enough. Stronger measures are necessary. Just because a diamond does not fund the activities of an armed militia or government group does not mean it is an “ethical” diamond.
Mining companies like De Beers, which still dominates nearly a quarter of the diamond market, use highly regulated practices and comply with strict ethical and environmental standards. The type of companies that work with K. Rosengart adhere to guidelines with care, producing stones that customers across the world can truly enjoy.
Other companies conduct artisanal or informal alluvial mining. They do not comply with these standards, and it puts people at risk. Unsafe working conditions are just one of the pressing issues in the world of informal mining, which is done by hand. Violations against people are also common.
Unethical diamond mining practices impact communities; from child labor to substandard wages, entire populations are left vulnerable - even as one of the world’s most sought-after substances lies beneath their soil. Issues with poor infrastructure, lack of medical care, and lack of educational opportunities are rampant.
Unscrupulous mining practices are also highly detrimental to the environment. It can deplete precious supplies of freshwater, contaminating billions of gallons with acid mine runoff, as well as utilizing countless gallons of polluting fossil fuels.
By contrast, mines and distributors that are committed to sustainably sourced diamonds implement proper regulations and safeguards; they pay people living wages; they invest in communities, and they work to mitigate their impact on the environment. These are the origins you want your diamond pieces to come from.
Where Can You Find Sustainably Sourced Diamond Engagement Rings and Other Products?
When you are searching for the right diamond jewelry, sustainably sourced is a must. To find it, you may look into:
- Diamonds from reputable sources. When you are looking for sustainably sourced diamond engagement rings or other pieces, there are some red flags you should avoid. For example, diamonds from Angola, Zimbabwe, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Liberia tend to be associated with human rights violations and harmful environmental practices. Those from Canada, Namibia, Sierra Leone, and Botswana typically get the green flag. You also want to work with a jeweler who sources their stones from a reputable supplier who in turn carefully vets their distributors.
- Recycled diamonds. In the “do no harm” category, recycled diamonds allow you to enjoy the beauty of the stones and transform “old” into “new.” The original diamond may not be pristine, so to speak, but you are not engaging in any further commerce that can fund unethical mining.
- Lab-grown diamonds. Some people prefer lab-grown diamonds. They are not, however, natural stones. Labs are typically happy to announce this clearly and transparently as it’s a marketing tactic. You may see them referred to as “sustainable diamonds.” Yes. But this implies that mined diamonds are not sustainable. This is not the case when you do your homework and choose the right jeweler/supplier. So buyer beware - and be selective!
We want to wear pieces of which we can be proud. When they come from reputable mining companies, distributors, suppliers, and jewelers, the sentiments we wish to convey will not be marred. They will shine through, beautiful and clear.