Our diamonds don’t contribute to human misery. Your hand crafted jewelry doesn’t finance wars. When you buy a diamond, you want to know that its origins are as pure as the love it symbolizes. You want to feel that your purchase has done some good rather than that it has funded or motivated harm.
Conflict-free diamonds: what does that really mean?
You may feel confident that most of the diamonds you see in shops are conflict free diamonds. You may have thought that the problem of ‘blood diamonds’ had been addressed long ago, but that’s not necessarily the case. A study found that as many as one in four diamonds could be linked to conflict or human rights abuses. How does that happen?
A lot of stone cutting is done in Surat, a city in Gujarat, a state in India. The uncut stones are shipped in from all over the world, including conflict hot-spots. Investigators have discovered that legitimate diamonds were mixed with diamonds that were ‘undocumented’. That is to say, their source was basically unknown. By the time these stones have been cut and become available for sale in Mumbai, there’s no saying where they came from, and with diamonds providing funding for many conflicts, you can’t be sure what you’re getting.
Finding genuinely conflict free diamonds that are also mined in accordance with the principles of fair trade and worker rights means knowing every detail about their origins, and at Jaume Labro, that’s exactly what we do.
Better than “conflict free”
Many jewelers say that their diamonds are “conflict-free” based on the Kimberly process. However, there are enormous loopholes in this system since it only covers diamonds that are sold to finance rebel movements. As a result, a “conflict free” certified diamond may have been linked to violence, human rights abuses, exploitation of workers and environmental destruction.
We therefore exceed current industry standards by ensuring that no such abuses have been perpetrated in the supply chain and that our gemstone sources are untainted by ethical violations. From the mine to our store, all our diamonds and precious stones are chosen from sources that uphold the highest standards of ethics, respecting human life, worker rights and the environment.
Conflict-free diamonds: what does that really mean?
Kimberley Process certification was conceived in 2003 in order to prevent the trade in conflict diamonds. This is defined as diamonds used by rebel groups to undermine legitimate governments – but that also leaves a lot of loopholes open. A violent setting may not match the definition of a conflict diamond, and that means that your search for a blood free diamond becomes all the more difficult.
Global Witness, a founder member of the Kimberley Process is no longer one of its members. Its reasons? It believes that the process is gravely flawed and may even help people to launder blood diamonds.
Just looking at the definition of conflict free diamonds is enough to raise eyebrows. What if the legitimate regime in a country is unable to control its own forces, or doesn’t care when its army interferes with civilian rights? What about fair trade? Are mine workers given proper rights, and are no children employed in mining activities? Do mining activities impact heavily on the environment, and if so, what damage do they do? The Kimberley Process leaves these questions unanswered.
As a result, organizations such as global witness are concerned that the Kimberley Process may be doing more harm than good. A certified diamond may lead its buyer to suppose that it comes from an ethical source, but in reality, it may have caused damage to human lives and the environment. Thus, there are those who fear that instead of promoting blood-free diamonds the loose regulations within the process are allowing for the legitimisation of blood diamonds.
There’s also the issue of smuggling. It deprives resource-rich but cash-strapped nations of tax money to improve living conditions, and Kimberley certification is all too easy once the diamonds have passed through clandestine networks into more mainstream markets.
So how will you know if you have a conflict-free diamond?
What critics of the Kimberley process are calling for, and what many goldsmiths and suppliers of conflict fee engagement rings are already implementing is detailed tracing of the origins of diamonds throughout the supply chain. You actually have to know which mine a diamond comes from before you can be sure that the diamond has been mined without causing any suffering to human beings or severe damage to the environment. You have to know how the mine owners treat their workers, what they are paid, and how they contribute to impoverished communities in their area.
Obviously, the average person trying to find out where to buy conflict free diamonds online doesn’t even know where to begin. They can ask questions, but will these be answered truthfully? Their suppliers may even be deluded into thinking they have non-conflict diamonds when, in fact, these diamonds have been smuggled from one area to another, obliterating their real origins.
For professionals such as the stone buyers from Jaume Labro’s studio who travel the world in search of fine diamonds, it’s not only quality that matters. The Kimberley process is well-meant, but need to be overhauled. In the meantime, it is up to diamond buyers to know where their diamonds really come from, and that can be easier said than done!
However, for the man or woman on the street, knowing whether they have a conflict free engagement ring or not is sheer guesswork. And as we have seen – certification may not be enough to ensure that a diamond’s origins are as beautiful as the sentiments it symbolises.
Diamonds CAN help impoverished communities
At the same time, there are ethically run diamond mines and diamond dealers who are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that their diamonds are ’clean’. Ethical diamonds can benefit communities, countries and even the environment by providing funding for environmental and community upliftment that would not otherwise have been available. Honest workers can get jobs where safety matters and where they are assured of a fair wage. Taxes can be used to provide healthcare, better education and economic development. Diamonds CAN contribute to a better life and a better world.
When you buy a diamond, you want to know that its origins are as pure as the love it symbolizes. You want to feel that your purchase has done some good rather than that it has funded or motivated harm.
How to find conflict free diamonds?
As veterans in the precious stones trade, we already have some idea as to where we should and shouldn’t purchase gemstones. And there’s more to a ‘clean’ stone than alack of actual violence. We want to know that it has made a positive contribution to the world we live in so that you can wear it with pride. Here’s what we want to know about every diamond we buy:
- Where was it mined?
- Who were the beneficiaries?
- Are working conditions safe?
- Are children excluded from working on the mine?
- Were fair wages paid to the miners?
- Were steps taken to protect local ecosystems?
- Extra points if proceeds were invested in protecting and improving the natural environment!
- Extra points if profits went towards improving community wellbeing!
- Where were the diamonds cut?
- Were diamond cutters treated as fairly as miners?
With Jaume Labro, you can be sure that we’ve done due diligence and that your stones are traceable through every step in the supply chain. We don’t just favour diamonds that can be proven as conflict-free diamonds, we look for real benefits to society and the environment.
To put it simply, you don’t just get conflict free diamonds from us. You get diamonds that have helped to improve the world we live in. We love a particularly fine diamond as much as the next person, but if one of our traceability questions remains unanswered, we simply won’t buy it. Nor should you. We make sure that you’ll never have any regrets, questions or doubts about a diamond from Jaume Labro.
Would you like to know more about our ethical diamonds?
If you’d like to find out more about our conflict free diamonds, where we source them and how we know they’re 100% ethical, feel free to ask. We appreciate that your concern for the wellbeing of this planet matches our own!
When you buy a diamond, you want to know that its origins are as pure as the love it symbolises. You want to feel that your purchase has done some good rather than that it has funded or motivated harm.