What should I expect from my retailer?
Ask to see your retailer's official written policy.
At a bare minimum, every diamond retailer should have an official written policy on ethical sourcing available for public view. Staff should also be fully aware of company policies and able to explain them to shoppers. If your retailer doesn’t have any information, beware!
Ask your retailer to identify the origins of each diamond and describe labor and environmental conditions at mining sites
Retailers should be able to identify the mines, if not the country, where each of their diamonds is mined. Retailers should also be able to provide information about the labor and environmental controls in place at those mines. If no information is available, the ethical status of their diamonds is in question.
Potential Pitfall: Retailers who claim that the diamond supply is more than 99% conflict free.
One often repeated claim is that conflict diamonds have fallen to around one percent of the global diamond trade, or that 99% of diamonds are conflict free. This highly misleading claim only accounts for diamonds that come from nations in an official state of civil war. Violence by oppressive governments is left out of this statistic, as is child labor , worker exploitation, and environmental devastation. In reality, large portions of the diamond supply are tainted by violence as well as shocking lapses in labor and environmental standards.
Potential Pitfall: Retailers who give vague or unsatisfying answers.
A few years ago, Rapaport, a leading diamond trade magazine, sent an undercover journalist to well-known jewelry stores in Las Vegas and Manhattan. The journalist asked retailers about their measures to prevent the sale of “blood” or “conflict” diamonds – only a first step in ensuring that a diamond is ethically-sourced. Here are a few of their shocking responses, none of which should be considered acceptable:
- "Take our word."
- "We wouldn't sell you a bad diamond."
- "No one can guarantee it's not a conflict."
- "There is no such thing. It's a myth."