About six months ago, in a debate with Brilliant Earth, the organization representing the global diamond industry defended a narrow definition of “conflict diamond.” But the diamond industry recently reversed its position to agree with Brilliant Earth. The industry now supports an expanded conflict diamond” definition that accounts for all violence tied to diamond mining. We couldn’t be more thrilled.
Lab created diamonds are now available in colorless ranges and in a broader range of sizes than ever before.
In the annals of blood diamonds, few men have compiled a more horrific record than former Liberian President Charles Taylor. The warlord turned president used diamonds to instigate a bloody civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone that endured for 11 years. It is estimated that Taylor bears responsibility for the murder, rape, maiming, and mutilation of over 1.2 million people. So it was welcome news last week when an international criminal court convicted Taylor on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The historic verdict represents a victory for the international criminal justice system, a measure of [...]
Most people buy diamonds as an expression of love. But there’s frequently a side benefit to a diamond purchase: diamonds are an excellent store of monetary value. Because diamonds tend to hold or increase their value over time, many people think that diamonds are a good long-term financial investment. That premise seems to be the impetus behind a plan to create a new way to invest in diamonds – one that doesn’t involve ring shopping. A financial firm near New York City recently announced its intention to establish an exchange traded fund (ETF) – a passively indexed kind of [...]
We’re not very optimistic that the Kimberley Process (KP), the international diamond certification scheme, can still be turned around. When the KP decided last November to lift the partial ban on Zimbabwean diamonds, its credibility sagged to a new and embarrassing low point. It’s hard to believe, but diamonds from Zimbabwe tainted by torture, rape, slave labor, and political corruption now receive “conflict free” certification from the KP. At this point, is there any reason to be hopeful about the KP? Not really, but we do see one potential glimmer of hope. Every year, a different country among the [...]
We’re in the jewelry business at Brilliant Earth, but we also follow efforts in other industries to improve labor and environmental standards. Lately, there has been a lot of public discussion about working conditions at the Chinese factories that produce Apple products. Press accounts, including a terrific series in the New York Times, have identified problems at Apple’s contract manufacturers including the use of underage workers, lax safety standards, crowded dormitories, and conditions so demoralizing that workers have committed suicide. With the story now receiving a good deal of press attention, consumers have been making their voices heard. Protests have [...]
Looking back at 2011, we’d say that the biggest news story, at least insofar as efforts to reform the diamond industry, was the Kimberley Process’s wrongheaded decision on Zimbabwe. In November, the international diamond certification scheme decided to lift a ban on diamond exports from Zimbabwe’s blood-stained Marange diamond fields. But there is another news story worth highlighting, a story whose long-term impacts could be just as significant: last month’s decision by Global Witness to withdraw from the Kimberley Process, in protest. Global Witness helped found the Kimberley Process back in 2003. The same year, the group was nominated [...]
Our last few blogs have discussed how the diamond industry relies on a deceptive statistic to convince consumers that diamond mining is now free from serious ethical abuses. We’ve called this statistic the one percent myth. The one percent myth is the misleading notion, heavily promoted by the diamond industry, that conflict diamonds make up “considerably less than one percent” of the diamond supply, or that more than 99% of diamonds are conflict free. Last week, even before we’d gotten very far into our blog series, the diamond industry responded to us with a sharply worded message. The message [...]
We’re back with our discussion of the one percent myth – the misleading notion, promoted by the diamond industry, that conflict diamonds make up considerably less than one percent of the diamond supply. In prior blogs, we’ve shown how the only diamonds that the diamond industry counts as conflict diamonds are those from Cote d’Ivoire, a small country in West Africa that produces 0.2% of the world’s diamonds. Missing from this count are diamonds from Angola and Zimbabwe – diamonds which are tainted by killings, torture, and rape. Together, these two countries could soon produce 20% of the diamond supply. We’ve [...]
This week, we’ve been discussing the notion that conflict diamonds make up “considerably less than 1%” of the global diamond supply. The World Diamond Council (WDC), the group representing the global diamond industry, prominently features this statistic on its web site, www.diamondfacts.org. Partly due to heavy promotion by the diamond industry, this statistic has gained widespread acceptance and legitimacy. Unfortunately, it’s misleading – misleading enough that we’ve dubbed it “the 1% myth.” In our first blog in this series, we noted that the diamond industry defines “conflict diamond” in very narrow terms: as a diamond used by a rebel group [...]