Ethical diamonds are a responsible and sustainable alternative to traditional diamonds. They are mined, cut and processed in a way that supports fair labor practices and environmental management.
However, buying ethical diamonds isn’t as simple as it sounds. Before you can be confident your purchase is ethical, you must know where the diamond was sourced and what impact it has had on people and the environment.
1. Environmentally Friendly
Eco friendly diamonds are created in ways that don’t negatively impact the environment. They are either created from recycled diamonds or by crystallizing carbon molecules in the air.
Aside from the environmental benefits, a sustainable diamond also costs less than a mined stone. That’s because it requires fewer resources to mine, and therefore a smaller carbon footprint.
The most common method of producing these eco friendly diamonds is through lab grown diamonds, which are also known as laboratory-created diamonds and synthetically produced diamonds.
They are created in the lab using a similar process to that of natural diamonds, but in a quicker and more efficient manner.
The main difference is that natural diamonds are made from a combination of graphite, diamond, and fullerene (a naturally occurring form of carbon). The synthetically created diamonds, on the other hand, contain only carbon. This means that the synthetically created diamonds can’t deplete any existing natural carbon reserves.
2. Fair Work Conditions
In order to be ethical diamond rings must be mined under fair working conditions. Workers must receive fair wages, be provided with safe and clean work spaces, and have access to safe drinking water.
Ethical diamonds are also sourced from countries that follow strict environmental and labour laws. For example, countries such as Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa have strict labor regulations that protect the wellbeing of workers and the environment.
The Kimberley Process, which was set up in 2003, aims to remove conflict diamonds from the market by certifying that they come from countries that employ fair labor standards. However, conflict diamonds still enter the supply chain from areas that are prone to human rights violations and violence, such as Angola, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.
The issue of human rights violations in small-scale artisanal diamond mining is especially alarming. Miners are underpaid and exploited, and often their families are enslaved as they dig for precious gems. Moreover, many of these workers do not have adequate mining equipment or safety supplies, making them at risk of injury or death.
3. No Human Rights Violations
Ethical diamonds are mined, sourced, and traded in a way that doesn’t exploit people or harm the environment. They’re expected to meet specific standards set by concerned organizations, and consumers can make purchases knowing that their diamonds are a positive part of a wider movement.
The global jewelry industry has seen a shift in consumer behavior in recent years. As consumers are increasingly aware of the issues surrounding their products, they want to know that their goods have been sourced and produced in an ethical manner.
However, despite the existence of a number of international standards that companies must meet to be considered responsible, many still fall short. The industry is primarily focused on meeting the Kimberley Process certification system that was developed in 2003 to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the supply chain.
This narrowly-defined certification scheme does not address the bigger problems of mining such as slavery, child labor, and unfair working conditions. It also does not ensure that mines are able to trace their diamonds back to the exact source, which can be an important factor for consumers who care about their diamonds’ origins.
Like ethically sourced coffee or sustainably made blue jeans, the traceability of diamonds is becoming more important to consumers. They want to know where the diamond came from and how it was sourced, and they’re asking jewelers for these answers.
Millennials and Gen Z are driving this shift, with their focus on sustainability and social responsibility. As a result, they’re looking for transparent supply chains that are free from human rights violations and environmental threats.
Traceability has become an essential part of the diamond industry in response to this demand. The Kimberley Process, for example, has helped eliminate a significant portion of conflict diamonds from the market. However, there is still a long way to go.