Conflict free and Ethical Diamonds: What is the difference ?
Known for their sparkle and meaning, diamonds are also related to social and environmental issues. In regards to this industry, the repercussions are connected to different topics. Obviously, our intention here is to inform our customers and give an overview of the global situation. As a result, we divided this section in two main categories: conflict-free diamonds and ethical diamonds.
As a worldwide industry, diamonds are subject to illegal trade. As a matter of fact, we are mainly talking about diamonds that are illegally sourced or sold, and the money is used to finance wars against governments. To prevent and control this issue, the Kimberly Process was created about two decades ago.
What is the Kimberley Process?
It is a controlled procedure that was created in 2000 during a reunion in Africa. The Kimberley Process purpose is to prevent conflict diamonds to be sold worldwide. Many organizations were attending: United Nations, European Union, World Diamond Council and the government of 54 different countries. In this way, they developed an international certification scheme that requires all diamonds to have a certification starting at their extraction. This certificate states that the stone answers all the minimum requirements to be part of the Kimberley Process, and will follow each step of the diamond’s transformation. To keep a better control, the countries that are part of the KP are only authorized to trade with other members.
Why is it important to have a conflict-free diamond?
The diamond sourcing is done in different locations around the globe. The mines are found in developed like underdeveloped countries. As a high value worldwide industry, many diamonds were observed to be part of illicit trades. From illicit mines to cargo theft, conflict diamonds are known to be financing rebels’ wars against governments. Consequently, the mine labor related to these illegal processes is done by men, women and children that are exploited. More precisely, the poor work conditions lead to death in many cases and this is why conflict diamonds are also named “blood diamonds”.
Since its beginnings, the Kimberley Process came to an efficient method to prevent these atrocities. As a matter of fact, a better control of the diamond’s trade would at least help to overcome these consequences. Here is an example of its performance: In 1999, Sierra Leone had a $1.2 billion market for legal diamond trade, and in 2005 the number was up to $140 billion. Obviously, this is a singular and exceptional increase, but it shows how of a good impact the Kimberley Process had and still has today.
In the hope that we can make a difference, at the Langlois Jewelry we only operate with conflict-free diamonds. It is important that our pieces shine from the inside like the outside.
In continuation to the conflict-free diamonds, ethical diamonds are more complex to identify and find. However, they are an inspiration for the future and they go above and beyond many aspects of the diamond industry.
To start with, they respect human’s rights. Like mentioned earlier, mining can be related to the exploitation of men, women and children. Therefore, all ethical diamonds will overcome these weaknesses of the industry and respect their workers with better work conditions, good salaries, etc.
In addition, there is the economical side of diamond trading. The mining companies ensure the wellbeing of the communities in the surrounding by helping them with better infrastructures and resources for example. They need to have a good impact for the towns that were exploited in the past.
Ethical diamonds will also state their extraction’s location. What does that mean? It confirms that the mine where it was sourced uses ethical and responsible techniques. In some cases, it is even possible to know in which country the diamond was extracted.
And finally, it implies that it is sustainable. Considering that mining is done on a vast territory and that we need to use heavy equipments, the diamond’s mining can have an irreversible impact on the environment. Therefore, ethical diamonds are known to protect the environment.