One of the best parts about shopping at Brilliant Earth is that whatever you select, you’ve made an ethical choice. Our diamonds are all beyond conflict free. We use only recycled precious metals and Fairmined gold. When you buy a piece of Brilliant Earth jewelry, the ethical jewelry Gods are smiling from above.
That said, just as you might consider parameters such as setting style or diamond cut, it’s also possible to take into account the social and environmental profiles of the items in our jewelry collection. Here’s a quick guide to the origins of our diamonds, going roughly in order from highly responsible to highly, highly responsible.
1. RUSSIAN DIAMONDS
If you choose a Russian diamond from Brilliant Earth, you’re getting a gem that is more responsible than almost all the diamonds on the market. Less than one percent of diamonds are traceable to a country of origin. That means that any untraceable diamond could have come from one of the many countries where diamond mining is tainted by civil war, bloodshed, or serious abuses such as child labor. Our traceable Russian diamonds are untouched by any of those problems.
In addition, because they’re mined in a remote region of Siberia, Russian diamonds don’t take land from local communities. They also provide well-paying jobs and serve as the backbone of the local economy. About half the government budget in the Yakutia region of Siberia comes from diamond revenues.
2. NAMIBIAN AND BOTSWANAN DIAMONDS
Like our Russian diamonds, our Namibian and Botswanan diamonds are fully traceable, allowing us to verify that they weren’t mined in a violent or inhumane setting. We’d also say that Namibian and Botswanan diamonds score above Russian diamonds on responsibility measures. The labor and environmental standards are probably higher and the transparency of mine operations may be better.
But what’s truly special about Namibian and Botswanan diamonds is their contribution to economic development. Namibian diamonds are cut and polished in Namibia, creating skilled jobs. In Botswana, the government has used diamond revenues to institute universal primary education and invest in infrastructure and health care. Thanks to diamonds, Botswana has gone from a poor country to one that is about as wealthy as Turkey or Mexico.
3. CANADIAN DIAMONDS
Canadian diamonds, mined in Canada’s Northwest Territories, are unmatched in terms of labor and environmental standards. The mines are not only free of violence and abuse, but required to meet Canada’s strict labor and environmental laws, some of the most rigorous in the world. Canadian diamond mines are also great places to work if you can stand the freezing temperatures. One Canadian diamond mine, the Diavik mine, was chosen as one of Canada’s Top 100 employers.
We’ve placed Canadian diamonds slightly ahead of Namibian and Botswanan diamonds on this list, but it’s really a toss-up. We’d suggest Canadian diamonds if you’d prefer that your diamond come from a mine with the very highest labor and environmental standards. Namibian or Botswanan diamonds are a great choice if you’d like your purchase to contribute to economic development in Africa.
4. LAB CREATED DIAMONDS
The environmental effects of diamond mining are relatively benign compared with other forms of mining, such as gold mining. But inevitably, all mining alters the environment. Enter the “vegan” option: lab created diamonds. These stones are a terrific alternative for customers who don’t want a mined gem.
There’s nothing not to love about lab created diamonds. Yes, they’re real; recent technological advances have made it possible to create diamonds in a laboratory setting that are physically and chemically identical to mined gems. They also offer exceptional value and are of consistently high quality and purity.
5. VINTAGE DIAMONDS
When people think about conflict free diamonds, vintage jewelry isn’t usually what springs to mind. But a diamond that comes as part of an antique jewelry piece may have the most compelling ethical profile of all. As with the lab-created option, a diamond ring from the 1930s or 1940s doesn’t require any new mining. And as with one of our mined gems, you’re getting a diamond that was formed through natural processes.
On top of all this, antique jewelry is exciting and different. Each piece is totally unique. If you’re troubled by the very idea of mining, antique diamond jewelry will whisk away those concerns and make jewelry shopping fun.
At Brilliant Earth, we’ve taken the unprecedented step of identifying a country of origin for every center diamond we offer. No other major online jeweler does this. We’ve also provided options for customers who don’t want a mined diamond. Our goal is to transform the jewelry industry by making ethical considerations a standard part of jewelry sourcing and purchasing.
Whether you buy a diamond from Brilliant Earth or some other jeweler, we encourage you to consider: where is this diamond from? Regardless of the origin you choose, by asking the question you make a difference.