While Night Fox ensures that our customers always get conflict free jewelry from us, we realize there's a lot of jewelry out there and it's still important for consumers to know exactly what they are purchasing. That means knowing what to look for in gemstone certifications and knowing what questions to ask your jewelers and galleries. Read the fantastic article below by contributor Naomi Shaw to learn more.
Diamonds are the ultimate symbol of love. The sad irony of the diamond trade is that the stones that represent the purest of intentions usually have a very dark history. Since the late 1990’s rebel groups in Africa use the diamond trade to fund their activities. The violence, human rights violations, torture and even slavery associated with the trade led to what we now call “blood diamonds” or “conflict diamonds.”
Conflict diamonds has come to be associated with the mining process itself but unfortunately it is not just the mining process that contributes to the funding of violent movements in diamond-rich countries. The cutting and polishing process can also generate revenue for rebels and rogue regimes, so consumers must know what to look for in order to purchase truly conflict-free stones.
The Kimberley Process Addresses Conflict Diamonds
In the early 2000’s after the global press focused significant attention on the horrific aspects of the diamond trade, consumers made it clear that they wanted to purchase conflict free jewelry, the diamond industry convened the World Diamond Council which led to the adoption of something known as The Kimberley Process in 2003. The Kimberley Process (KP) was designed to prevent blood diamonds from falling into the legitimate diamond supply chain.
The process involved stopping open containers of rough diamonds from entering trade. Only sealed containers would be allowed through customs. Under the KP System of Warranties, all diamond shipments are uniquely numbered and certified by the legitimate government of the countries in which they originated. Each time the shipment changes hands it must be re-certified as KP compliant.
Responsible consumers should note that the system is not a legal process and no governing body can enforce KP standards. It is merely a voluntary process established by the World Diamond Council to answer criticisms from consumers, Western governments and the United Nations. There are many holes in The Kimberley Process as its definition of “conflict” is limited, diamonds can be self-certified, and the system does not address the cutting and polishing process.
The Kimberley Process does not certify jewelers, but many retailers take conflict-free jewelry very seriously, and they go the extra mile to secure the integrity of their inventory. According to industry standards, a jeweler should be able to answer the following questions when it comes to conflict free diamonds:
● Do your suppliers participate in the System of Warranties?
● How can you be certain your jewelry does not contain conflict diamonds?
● May I see a copy of your company policy on conflict-free diamonds?
● Do you know where the stones you purchase are mined, cut and polished?
● How can you prove that your diamonds are not sourced in conflict zones where diamonds fund rebels or illegitimate governments that engage in breaches of human rights law?
Because consumers have grown very concerned about the diamond trade, many jewelers make this information freely available on their websites, which gives consumers the ability to research a jeweler well in advance of a purchase. However, if those questions cannot be answered online, have a frank, face-to-face conversation with the jeweler. If that conversation still leaves you with unanswered questions, it’s probably best to select another jeweler who can set your mind at ease, ensuring that you purchase only conflict free jewelry for yourself or someone you love.
Naomi Shaw is an online web journalist, beautician, and mother.