There aren't many purchases filled with an much symbolism as a diamond engagement ring. As you can imagine, the purchase of something that stands as symbol of your never-ending love is both significant and joyful. If you aren't careful, however, you could end up with a diamond that is anything but joyful. Read on to learn more about so-called "blood" diamonds and how to ensure that your ring is as conflict-free as your relationship.
What is meant by blood or conflict diamonds?
This term was first coined in a 1998 report that explored and demonstrated a link between the diamond trade and how wars get financed in Africa. This report, entitled "Rough Trade," concentrated its attention on the areas where civil war conflicts were rife: Angola, the Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone.
How can I avoid buying diamonds from these conflict regions?
The United Nations, in an effort to stop the funding of these wars through the diamond trade, has established a method of certification for diamonds entering the United States. Called the Kimberly Process, all diamonds from conflict-free areas of the world are accompanied by this special certificate.
Positive side effects of the Kimberly Process Certification
This move by the United Nations to certify diamonds and identify "blood" diamonds not only means that you can choose an engagement ring with a conflict-free diamond, but it also benefited the countries providing those conflict-free diamonds enormously. African countries that depend on the diamond trade for the welfare of the citizens now reap the effects that an increase in the diamond trade business brought about by the new standards. As a result, these countries have been able to improve their handling of issues like HIV testing, care of orphans, health care, and more. Now, about 99% of all diamonds sold are certified as conflict-free.
How can I find these diamonds?
The best news is that these diamonds are not more difficult to find or more expensive; they are available at jewelry stores everywhere. Just ask your jeweler for a Kimberly Process certificate, which shows the tracking of your diamond from mine to store. Jewelry stores like Feagans Jewelry Inc. can answer any questions you have about the origins of their stones.
What about family heirloom jewelry or vintage pieces?
Unfortunately, there is no way to be completely certain of the provenance of these older diamonds. You should consider, however, that since they have been around for some time, they are not likely to be responsible for any current conflicts.