The international diamond industry is worth over $81.4 billion dollars. Today, part of this industry consists of diamonds often called ‘blood diamonds.’
Before you buy your partner a diamond engagement ring, there are some things you should know.
Diamonds in Africa sometimes contribute to violence, wars, and poverty. The countries that have the most diamonds also have immense poverty and desperation. To make more money, some diamond miners and companies will go to unethical lengths.
If you’re not familiar with what blood diamonds are, keep reading.
Funding Civil Wars and Violence
Countries with political unrest are at risk for takeovers by guerilla groups. This happened in both Sierra Leone and Angola.
Diamonds get sold on the black market to fund the guerilla groups’ weapons and battles.
Despite the creation of the Kimberley Process in 2000, this is still happening today. Most recently in the Central African Republic. In Zimbabwe, it was the army that attacked and brutalized over 200 miners.
Both corrupt governments and guerilla groups use the diamond market for their objectives. This often leads to the death and displacement of millions of people.
If you buy diamonds that come from a source like this, you are supporting that violence.
Ethics and Human Rights Violations
Countries that produce diamonds want to protect their interests. So, they avoid acknowledging any human rights violations in their mines. Admitting that their citizens are being brutalized will affect their sales.
But, the truth is, many workers are forced to work in unsafe conditions. Some are underage and others are forced into the trade through slavery.
It’s not uncommon for these workers to be raped, abused, and killed.
The human rights of the diamond miners are just as important as knowing who’s profiting from the diamonds.
What You Can Do
Unfortunately, blood diamonds still enter the diamond market every day. International organizations are working to regulate and ban this problem.
People shopping for diamonds need to be aware of the shifty side of this industry. You can make a difference by only buying ethically sourced diamonds.
Only shop from jewelry companies that are transparent about their sourcing.
You can also choose to buy diamond alternatives instead. These include other gemstones like emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and lab-grown gems.
Clean, ethical lab created diamonds put no blood on your hands when you buy them.
These diamonds are grown in laboratories with safety measures and workers’ rights. So, you can be sure that they’re more ethical than mined diamonds.
Are You Concerned About the Process of Mining Diamonds in Africa?
You’re not alone. Millions of people worldwide are choosing to only buy ethically sourced diamonds instead of unregulated diamonds in Africa.
And, many of them are opting for lab-grown diamonds instead.
You can become part of the solution by opting for one of these alternatives, too. For more information on sustainable and ethical jewelry and fashion, check out the Lifestyle section of the blog.