Remember the film Blood Diamonds? Conflict-free diamonds aren’t as heavily covered in the media, but for exploited workers and victims of diamond-related violence, this is still a serious issue.
You can’t really fault anyone for the drop-off in blood diamonds coverage. News comes in cycles, and as viewers and readers lose interest in a topic, news organizations stop covering it so much. I think that’s why it’s important to revisit older topics like this. It’s a reminder for us as consumers that these stories don’t always end just because they’re on the front page anymore.
Related Reading: A Revealing Look at the Conflict Materials in Your Cell Phone
There have been over 3.7 million deaths because of blood diamonds related violence, and that doesn’t include injuries to exploited diamond mine workers. These workers often earn below-poverty level wages and live with rape and torture at the hands of their “employers.”
Blood Diamonds: How to Opt Out
There are a few ways that you can say no to conflict diamonds:
1. Choose Kimberly Process-verified gems – but wait! The Kimberly Process aims to ensure that new diamonds don’t come from mines that fund certain types of warfare. As you’ll see in the graphic below, The Kimberly Process may not go far enough to protect human rights.
2. Choose second-hand gems. Not only are you opting out of the cycle of human rights violations, but when you buy second hand, you can often save some money. Win-win!
3. Don’t buy diamonds. Do you really need diamonds, if there’s a chance that those earrings or that necklace is funding civil war or mined with child labor? There are lots of other gems out there!
The graphic below was created by Brilliant Earth, a company that sources what they call “Beyond Conflict Diamonds.” Normally I wouldn’t share a graphic that’s clearly meant to sell a product, but I feel that these could be a much more people-friendly alternative to blood diamonds, and I like to support companies that are changing the game. You can click the image to view a larger version: