Today, on a more serious note. You’ve probably heard the term “blood diamonds,” but what does it mean? Are these diamonds really bloody, or are they just red in color?
Blood diamonds are not called that because of their red color; in fact, they look just like regular diamonds. The term refers to diamonds whose origin and mining ethics are, to put it mildly, quite poor – or rather, abhorrent. The name comes from the blood of miners and primarily the victims who have been enslaved during civil wars in exchange for diamonds. These diamonds mostly come from countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Sierra Leone, where they are mined and traded to fund anti-government conflicts. Terrorists raid villages, enslave villagers, and force them, under the threat of violence, to mine diamonds until the enslaved workers often die from exhaustion.
Diamonds mined in this way are hot commodities for greedy companies that acquire them for a pittance. Terrorists then use the proceeds to acquire new weaponry, which is subsequently used to maintain their power. In other words, this has been a vicious cycle for years, resulting in ongoing terror, including rape, murder, genocide, child labor, and the use of child soldiers, among other atrocities.
How to avoid blood diamonds?
One way to try to avoid blood diamonds is to purchase diamonds that are sourced from ethical and conflict-free regions. Look for certifications like those approved by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). Always ask the seller for documents that verify the origin of the diamonds.
In reality, it can be quite challenging to ensure the complete avoidance of blood diamonds because the trade has existed for a long time. Various certificates, papers, and documents can be fabricated, making it difficult to verify the true origin of a diamond. However, by dealing with reputable, established jewelers and brands with strong ethical practices, you can reduce the likelihood of purchasing a blood diamond.
It’s an ongoing challenge to address this issue, and consumer awareness and demand for transparency play a crucial role in pressuring the diamond industry to improve its ethical practices.
“I doubt there is another mass-marketed product that has caused as much sorrow and misery as natural diamonds.”
When diamond marketers are given the opportunity to buy diamonds from conflict regions at a lower cost, they often take advantage of it and hide the fact that they are actually trading blood diamonds to unsuspecting customers as “conflict-free,” for which they can charge a hefty premium because it’s so “pure.”
Another increasingly popular alternative is to use lab-grown diamonds or moissanite. Lab-grown diamonds require less energy to produce, don’t violate human rights, and are also cheaper than mined diamonds.
The purpose of this article is not to denigrate diamonds themselves. If you already have a diamond, cherish and wear it for as long as possible because someone may have paid a high price for it. I highly recommend watching the film “Blood Diamond,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, for more insights on this topic.
I hope the topic wasn’t too grim, and you found some wisdom for today.