So, you have an idea that he is soon going to pop the question and you have been leaving ring hints around the house, with family and friends. You’ve seen pictures in magazines, online, and you cannot help but stop at every little jewelry store that you pass on your lunch break. You know the style that you want, you’ve known this forever! But have you mentioned to anyone that you want a conflict-free diamond?
That flashy bauble that you will be wearing on your hand for the rest of your life might have been involved in supporting war and armed rebels in countries like Africa, Afghanistan and Colombia. What is a conflict diamond you might be wondering? How does this affect me and why should I care”?
Conflict diamonds, according to Global Witness refer to ‘rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments’. The billions of dollars traded in the illegal conflict diamond industry has been responsible for millions of deaths in African Civil wars in Angola and Sierra Leone alone not to mention the deaths and terror in other countries.
Many of the diamond producing countries are abundant in natural resources, particularly minerals and jewels. But with the availability of these commodities comes violence, human rights violations and deep corruption. It isn’t just diamonds either. Gold is another commodity that is commonly used to smuggle out of countries in exchange for weapons and other goods that fund war.
There is little self-regulation among diamond retailers. If you are choosing your forever stone, be sure that it has been certified through the Kimberly Process or another reputable agency to ensure that your purchase hasn’t contributed to war, violence, torture and the destruction of human life. This ring is a symbol of love and commitment. After all, who wants blood on their hands?