Think your diamond is ethical? You may want to think again.
Most don't think about conflict diamonds when purchasing their engagement ring. For the majority, a diamond signifies love and the beginning of an exciting new life together. Unfortunately for the many that mine those diamonds, it signifies war, violence, and human suffering. In 2006, the movie "Blood Diamond" educated the world to these atrocities and did an excellent job bringing a greater awareness of the brutality and abuse inflicted upon innocents.
In an effort to curb war financed by diamonds, the United nations introduced an international certification scheme for rough diamonds which in 2003 became known as the Kimberley Process. The Kimberley Process was created to impose regulations on precious gem mining and distribution practices.
The Kimberly Process's official website says their mandate is "to ensure that diamond purchases were not financing violence by rebel movements and their allies seeking to undermine legitimate governments." This limited scope clearly became a problem in 2006 when the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe became known as one of the worlds largest diamond finds of the last 100 years. The Marange diamond fields are government run, making it outside of the scope of the Kimberly Process. Allegations are that senior government officials in Zimbabwe take most of the proceeds of the diamond mine operation for themselves. Zimbabwe solders are used to force local laborers to mine the diamonds.
In 2011, Global Witness (one of the key Kimberly Process founders) declared that the Kimberly Process had failed and withdrew from its membership. Diamond industry practices and accountibility in many parts of Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) , Côte d'Ivoire (The Ivory Coast), Liberia, Zimbabwe, etc) haven't changed. In fact, The Kimberley Process has given diamond buyers a false sense of security allowing underhanded and barbaric practices to continue behind this veil of falsehood.
In their September 30, 2015 report focusing on the Central African Republic Anmesty International states that "International diamond companies need to look closely at the abuses along their supply chain, from child labour to tax abuse. By focusing only on conflict diamonds, the Kimberley Process camouflages all the other human rights abuses and unscrupulous practices associated with diamonds. This is a wake-up call for the diamond sector. States and companies can no longer use the Kimberley Process as a fig leaf to reassure consumers that their diamonds are ethically sourced."
The wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have seen 5.4 million dead and 2 million displaced (so far) as the battle continues. Beatings, mutilations, and rapes intended to intimidate and keep citizens and miners in line are a daily life in the Congo. The Congo is considered the rape capital of the world with an estimated 200,000 rapes occuring annually. Young boys are captured and forced to be soldiers. Miners work for very little money in the harshest of conditions. Hundreds of miners die each year in tunnel collapses which go unreported. Miners go without pay if they do not find rough diamonds and when they do get paid, the average wage for a diamond miner (in Sierra Leone for example) is $220 a year.
Government paid teachers seeking supplements to their income blackmail children into paying for their education. If they cannot pay, they cannot go to school. With no education, many children are forced to work in the mines at a very young age and the cycle continues.
Even though the Democratic Republic of Congo is rich in diamonds and other natural resources, the World Bank ranks them as one of the poorest countries in the world. Complex political and tribal agendas, and a weak central goverment, has left the Congo wide open to corruption and greed. This is fueled by world demand of the diamonds and resources the DRC has to offer.
Many jewellers believe and would have you believe that you are not purchasing conflict diamonds. With 65% of the worlds diamonds coming from Africa and the grave failings of the Kimberley process, it is difficult at best to be certain where your diamond truly originates. We do know however, that millions have died brutal deaths, suffered unspeakable beatings and mutilations, endured heinous rapes and all for the sake of a diamond.
Its time to make a difference. We are determined not to use diamonds in any of our products. Join with us in not financially supporting the problem. If you want to be certain that you are not getting a conflict diamond of any sort, be it human atrocities or environmental atrocities, Moissanite is assuredly an excellent choice every time. Not only is Moissanite ethical, its also a forever gem thats as beautiful as a diamond and then some.