What Are Conflict-Free Diamonds?

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Diamonds are a girl's best friend, but there's more to them than sparkle. 

In your shopping efforts for the perfect diamond, you’ll likely learn about the 4 C’s that diamonds are graded by.

These include Cut, Carat, Clarity and Color. But there’s one more C you should consider when purchasing any diamond: Conflict-Free.

Like all precious gems, diamonds have a history beyond their value as an investment or a symbol of love. As a result, there has been much debate about the ethics surrounding the mining of these beautiful gems and how efforts to create sustainable mining initiatives can help create conflict-free diamonds and protect the future of the diamond industry.

In this post, we'll explore what it means for a diamond to be conflict-free and why it matters when buying jewelry.

What is a conflict-free diamond?

A conflict-free diamond is a diamond that was mined and distributed in a process that did not include violence or human rights abuses.

Diamonds have long been a symbol of love, so it's no surprise that many brides-to-be want their engagement ring to be the perfect representation of their relationship with a diamond to suit.

But there's another reason why you should consider buying conflict-free diamonds: there is a better chance that they will be environmentally friendly as well!

There isn't a 100% guarantee that your conflict-free diamond is completely conflict-free, but the best you can do is aim for "conflict-free" diamonds.

What are blood diamonds?

The media coined the term "blood diamond" to describe a diamond mined in a conflict zone. It was even made famous by the movie “Blood Diamond” which depicted a fictional story of the brutality that can ensue when mining diamonds. 

Blood diamonds are acquired via the violent and unethical mining practices used to fund rebel factions, often in places like Angola, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rebel factions' violence has devastating consequences on the people and communities nearby.

The diamond trade is a big part of the economy in Angola, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The economies of these countries rely heavily on their diamond mines to provide jobs for thousands of people. However, violence from rebel factions has destroyed many mines, making it difficult for workers to earn an income.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS)

In 2000, the United Nations Security Council responded by imposing sanctions on Angola and Sierra Leone until their governments complied with the international code of conduct for diamond sales. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was implemented in 2003 to prevent the trade of blood diamonds.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) helps stop the trade of blood diamonds by ensuring the legitimacy of diamonds being exported. The United Nations, European Union and the United States have adopted the KPCS.

In addition to creating a process for certifying rough diamonds, it also created an international certification that can be used to ensure that no conflict diamond has entered into circulation on a global scale.

An estimated 99% of the world's diamonds are now conflict-free.

Did you know that 99% of the world's diamonds are now conflict-free? Less than 1% of diamonds sold worldwide come from sources that fund warlords, rebels or terrorists.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) ensures that no blood diamonds enter the international market.

The KPCS has been so successful at preventing diamond sales from funding violence that an estimated 99% of today's global trade is legitimate.

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When shopping for a diamond engagement ring, you should be looking for conflict-free diamonds!

When buying a diamond engagement ring, or jewelry with diamonds, you should look for conflict-free diamonds. 

For many, diamonds are the ultimate gift to give someone you love on their special day. When shopping for a diamond engagement ring, you must only purchase from companies that sell conflict-free diamonds.

Difference between conflict-free diamonds and environmentally conscious diamonds

When it comes to environmentally conscious diamonds, there's a lot of overlap with conflict-free diamonds. However, it's important to note that not all environmentally conscious diamonds are conflict-free.

An environmentally conscious or sustainable diamond is mined in a manner that is environmentally friendly but it doesn’t always mean that it has no human rights violations associated with its production. 

A sustainable diamond may still be mined by children or slave labor making them not conflict-free. Conflict-free diamonds could also be mined at a rate faster than the earth can replenish its resources, thereby not being sustainable for future generations of miners who might want to get involved in the industry themselves someday.

Many people confuse environmentally conscious and sustainable diamonds with conflict-free diamonds, but they differ. A conflict-free diamond has never been used to fund war or terrorism. An environmentally conscious or sustainable diamond has been mined responsibly and does not exploit the environment.

The only way to know if your diamond isn't funding violence or division is by checking with a reputable jeweler who will be able to confirm if the diamond is conflict-free, environmentally conscious or both.

You should always look for conflict-free stones whenever buying jewelry. But, unfortunately, plenty of unscrupulous dealers out there will sell anything as long as they make money off it. That means some of these sellers will even try selling synthetic stones (which can cost far less than real ones) as real ones if they think they can get away with it!

Be sure to buy from a reputable dealer or jeweler, and always ask for evidence if you are unsure. The majority of lab grown and naturally mined diamonds now come laser-inscribed with the diamond’s certificate of authenticity which you can find on the side of the diamond. Check this to know if your diamond is truly the real deal!

At Ben Garelick, we provide all certifications with every diamond we sell, so you can trust that the diamond you are taking home is as ethical and conflict-free as possible. We are also a certified sustainable diamond business!

What are Lab-Grown Diamonds?

We also wanted to touch on lab-grown diamonds at the end of this article, which is another option many people need to learn about!

Lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds. They're made from the same carbon structure as natural diamonds, using a process called Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) or by a process called High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT). As a result, they are a cheaper alternative to natural diamonds because they do not require the additional labor and resources that mining for natural diamonds does. 

You may also see lab-grown diamonds referred to as engineered diamonds, man-made diamonds and even cultured diamonds. They are developed in highly technological labs that can recreate the environment of the mantle beneath the Earth’s crust, allowing natural diamonds to form.

As they are created using the same carbon atoms as natural diamonds, they produce the same look and feel as natural mined diamonds.

While given a different name, lab-grown diamonds are still considered real diamonds, and it is very hard (if not impossible) to tell the difference between a natural diamond just from appearance.

Therefore, they are a great alternative to natural diamonds, and lab-grown diamonds are considered completely conflict-free and ethical. 

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning about the issues surrounding conflict-free diamonds, and we’re excited to share these important facts with you. 

Even though some kinks in the system still need to be worked out, it’s clear that many jewelers, such as Ben Garelick, are taking a big step forward by making their products more transparent. 

This means that consumers can feel confident buying diamonds from reputable sources committed to upholding ethical standards.

Speak with our diamond experts at Ben Garelick to find the perfect conflict-free or lab-grown diamond for you. Come to our showroom to see the brilliance of each gem for yourself!

Visit us at our Buffalo, NY store today. Not nearby? Not to worry - chat with our diamond experts online 24/7, call us on (716) 631-1584, or text (716) 574-0966. Let’s find the perfect conflict-free diamond for you!

Peter Manka Jr

Peter Manka Jr. - Owner at Ben Garelick

Peter Manka Jr. is a passionate member of the family business who joined Ben Garelick in the early 2000s after working in product licensing for Sesame Workshop & The Jim Henson Company for many years. He obtained a degree in diamonds and jewelry from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in order to sharpen his jewelry skills. He takes great pride in providing exceptional customer service and helping clients find the perfect piece of jewelry.

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