Is the Kimberly Process approving blood diamonds?

by Adria Saracino

diamond ring

The concept of “blood diamonds” is not new. It is an issue that has been plaguing the fashion industry for over a decade. Sure, there are organizations and certification systems in place, which most of us thought had the issue under control.

That is, until recently.

In late 2011, one of the most popular diamond certification systems gave the thumbs up to a diamond mine known for producing conflict diamonds. This certification scheme–created by the UN and dubbed the Kimberley Process–is aimed at assuring consumers that their diamonds are conflict free. So why did it recognize a mine known for producing blood diamonds?

The answer is in the details. The Kimberley Process definition only covers diamonds funding rebel armies in areas of conflict. That means it doesn’t “count” violence by governments against their own people, so despite evidence that the Marange mine in Zimbabwe has been funding corruption and violence, the Kimberley Process gave its stamp of approval – meaning these diamonds are making its way into stores.

To put this in perspective, here is a graphic that compiles all the evidence against the Marange mines in Zimbabwe:

blood diamonds

(via Ingle & Rhode Ethical Diamonds)

How to avoid buying blood diamonds

  • Always know where your diamonds come from. If a jeweler cannot say exactly where the diamonds were mined, look for another retailer.
  • Choose vintage stones instead of newly-mined ones.
  • Remember to always stay on top of the news and do your research–because things can slip past the checks and balances we know and trust to be in place.

Adria Saracino is a marketer and fashion blogger. You can find her writing about style on her personal fashion blog, The Emerald Closet.

{Image Credit: Diamond Ring photo via Shutterstock}

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