Where Do Diamonds Come From?
Precious and semi- precious stones have often been the source of conflict, exploitation and unethical practice, which is why it is important to ask where- and how- your gemstones were sourced.
You may have heard of the phrase ‘blood diamond’ which is one of the most prolific unethical uses of a precious gemstone. A blood diamond particularly is a diamond mined in a war zone and used to finance guerrilla warfare, though it is becoming more commonly used to refer to a diamond that has negative affects to its sale. It is mainly a problem in Africa, where they are exported to other countries and the money is used to finance war or human rights abuse. The mines located in eastern Congo are often located in dangerous areas far from populated areas. People who work there are often illegally forced and coerced to work the mines, including children, who are often killed in mudslides and tunnel collapses.
Conflict minerals is the term used to cover any gemstone used for finance in this way, which have been known to have been used like this in The Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. This also covers essential minerals used in mobile phones, pacemakers, digital cameras and many more.
Against Conflict Minerals
Countries like the United States have been gradually making and changing laws that mean that a traceability of a diamond is more transparent. Diamond producing countries have also taken action through the implementation of a certification scheme called the Kimberly Process that shows the willingness of the community to change. As this becomes more and more prevalent, other countries have been taking notice of it too. Celebrities like Ryan Gosling, Mila Kunis and more have been standing up for the ethical sourcing of gemstones.
Companies like Gems TV, that focus on supporting the mining communities where they source their gemstones, and Gemfields who focus on tackling the environmental effects that are associated with the mining industry. The Gems TV channel website has a promise to “Responsibly Transfer the Ownership of Nature’s Most Precious Treasures”, help to educate the communities of remote mining communities on safe mining practices and ensure that the sourcing of gemstones is ethical from start to finish.
So if you’re looking for a new ring, pair of earrings or pendant with a sparkling emerald, diamond or sapphire set into it, then make sure that you buy from a company with an ethical vision.