What Are Conflict-Free Diamonds?
The diamond industry has a complex history and can involve crime and even fund civil war. Like with many sought-after materials, diamonds attract criminal groups who smuggle the precious gems around the world using unethical practices. Depending on where diamonds are mined and the methods used to mine them, many environmental and social issues are at stake. When diamonds are mined by a group with the use of unethical practices, these diamonds are known as conflict diamonds or blood diamonds. The 2006 movie, “Blood Diamond,” raised awareness of the issue with particular attention to blood diamonds’ importance in the Sierra Leone war. So, what are conflict-free diamonds and how can you get them? Let’s find out.
What is a Conflict-Free Diamond?
A conflict-free diamond is a diamond that is mined, cut and shipped with no involvement from crime groups. Conflict-free diamonds – sometimes known as cruelty-free diamonds – follow a process that prevents societal and environmental harm and human rights abuse.
The mining of blood diamonds was rife during the Sierra Leone war in the 1990s, so when it ended, the diamond industry and the United Nations came together to create the certification scheme known as The Kimberley Process.
Another type of guaranteed conflict-free diamond is lab-grown diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds are 100% genuine diamonds that are physically identical to earth-mined diamonds. With lab-grown diamonds, you can guarantee that the creation process is conflict-free, whereas earth-mined diamonds present more of a grey area.
What is the Kimberley Process?
The Kimberley Process was developed by the diamond industry in partnership with the United Nations and created requirements and regulations for the mining and shipping of diamonds. These regulations aim to prevent unethical practices in the diamond industry and ensure that diamond mining doesn’t support criminal enterprises.
The U.S. and over 70 other countries participate in the Kimberley Process, which involves monitoring incoming diamonds during every step of the process to ensure the highest standards are kept.
Each diamond that meets the Kimberley Process regulations receives a Kimberley Process certificate to certify that the diamond is cruelty-free. Thanks to the widespread enthusiastic adoption of the Kimberley Process, the number of conflict diamonds and crimes within the diamond industry have reduced.
However, there are still concerns that the Kimberley Process doesn’t adequately remove all possible criminal connections or human rights infringements from the diamond mining and shipping process.
An alternative preferred by some diamond enthusiasts is lab-grown diamonds.
What Are Lab-Grown Diamonds?
Lab-grown diamonds are also known as human-made, lab-created, or cultured diamonds. These diamonds are identical to earth-mined diamonds in every way, except they are created in a laboratory and therefore guaranteed conflict-free.
How Do Conflict-Free, Lab-Grown Diamonds Differ From Natural Diamonds?
Natural diamonds are naturally occurring and earth-mined means the natural resources come from the ground. There’s a limited number of natural diamonds available worldwide, which contributes to its perceived scarcity and popularity.
Lab-grown diamonds, on the other hand, are grown inside a lab using cutting-edge technology that can create diamonds that are chemically and optically the same as natural diamonds.
Lab-grown diamonds are not considered fake because they are identical to natural diamonds; they are simply created using a different method.
Despite the introduction of the Kimberley Process to improve the mining methods used for natural diamonds, some people prefer to buy lab-grown diamonds, as these are guaranteed to be conflict-free.
Where Can You Buy Conflict-Free Diamonds?
There are various places you can buy both lab-grown and earth-mined, conflict-free diamonds online. Here are some examples:
- Brilliantearth.com promises responsibly sourced diamonds, free from human rights abuses, with safe and responsible labor practices.
- Cleanorigin.com creates lab-grown diamonds, guaranteeing a conflict-free option for beautiful jewelry for engagements, weddings, or everyday wear.
- Ritani.com offers a selection of lab-grown jewelry to fit all occasions at a fraction of the cost of earth-mined alternatives.
- Bluenile.com offers lab-grown diamonds in various cuts and sizes, so you can enjoy a conflict-free diamond for whatever the occasion.
The Bottom Line
Depending on your definition of conflict-free, you may prefer to purchase lab-grown diamonds instead of conflict-free natural diamonds because this process guarantees that the manufacturing is safe and ethical. Keep this in mind when learning how to buy jewelry in the best and safest way.
With regulations introduced under The Kimberley Process, earth-mined diamonds have certainly become safer and more ethical, but there may always be potential for people to take advantage of loopholes in the system.