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!Many U.S. jewelry
retailers do little
or nothing to
ensure that their
Retailers should be able to identify where their diamonds are mined. Retailers should also be able to provide information about the labor and environmental controls in their countries of origin. If no information is available, the ethical status of their diamonds is in question.
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.
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."
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