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What are Blood Diamonds?

Blood diamonds, also known as conflict diamonds, are diamonds that are mined in war zones and sold to finance armed conflicts against legitimate governments. These diamonds are often mined using forced labor, including children, and are traded illegally to illegally to fund violent conflicts and human rights abuses.  

This very specific definition was formed by the UN in the 1990s as brutal civil wars were waged in parts of western and central Africa by rebel groups in diamond-rich areas. 

Blood Diamond Meaning

Blood diamonds are named as such because they are mined in war zones and sold to finance armed conflicts against legitimate governments, which results in the death and displacement of thousands of people. The name ‘blood diamond’ references the dark and tragic reality of an industry that, when left unchecked, can cause harm to individuals, communities, and entire nations. 

Are Conflict Diamonds and Blood Diamonds the Same Thing?

Yes. According to the United Nations, blood diamonds and conflict diamonds both imply gems that were mined within war-torn areas and sold with the intent of financing rebel movements which can destroy domestic life for citizens.   

Are Blood Diamonds Illegal?

In the United States and many other countries, yes. Blood diamonds don’t meet the sourcing criteria outlined by the United Nation, the US’ Clean Diamond Trade Act, or the legislation introduced by the Kimberley Process’ certification and prohibitions.  

Why Are Blood Diamonds an Issue?

Blood diamonds are an issue because they are mined in war zones and sold to finance armed conflicts against governments. The profits from these diamonds are often used to fund brutal acts of violence, including forced labor, child soldiers, and other human rights violations.  

Who Suffers from Blood Diamonds?

In past decade, the diamond trade has been linked to fueling conflicts in countries such as Sierra Leone, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The sale of blood diamonds has contributed to instability and suffering in these regions, leading to a global effort to regulate the diamond trade and prevent the sale of conflict diamonds. 

Blood Diamond FAQs

Do blood diamonds exist?

Yes. While today’s sourcing standards have discouraged many diamond wars, there are likely still blood diamonds in the market due to holes in the Kimberley Process 

How do blood diamonds finance conflict?

The World Diamond Council reports that conflict diamonds are illegally mined, stolen, and/or smuggled by rebel groups seeking to overthrow their region’s leadership. The money from these diamond sales allows them to expand and arm their wars on government, including recruiting child soldiers and additional acts of terrorism.  

Alternate Diamond Options

What sets Brilliant Earth apart is how intentional we are in our jewelry sourcing. We are selective in where we source our diamonds and how the diamonds are mined, putting supply chain communities and their the environment first. We closely monitor our diamond suppliers and their sources, ensuring only our select origins and select mines are being used. Consider these Beyond Conflict-Free™ diamonds as alternatives to untraceable gems.

Beyond Conflict Free™ Natural Diamonds

The Kimberley Process’ narrow definition of conflict diamonds only roots out diamonds that don’t finance rebel movements. Our Beyond Conflict Free™ natural diamonds go above and beyond to ensure that each stone is ethically sourced and sustainable, from the moment they’re mined to the minute they hit the market. Diamond mining is generally less harmful to the environment than other types of mining, such as gold mining, because it does not make use of toxic chemicals. Despite this, there exist serious environmental risks and, effective regulation and proper planning can minimize diamond mining’s environmental impact. The Canadian Arctic is a very fragile ecosystem, but it is heavily regulated to protect the surroundings. Namibia and Botswana have been similarly successful in implementing environmental safeguards in their diamond mines. In addition, landscapes altered by diamond mining can be rehabilitated. In Canada, Namibia, and Botswana, land restoration is scheduled when mining operations cease. Even in the Kono district of Sierra Leone, where the land was once thought to be beyond repair, land restoration is improving the landscape. Local communities are now working with international partners to fill in the mining pits, bring back native species, and replace lost topsoil. To further these efforts, the Brilliant Earth Foundation has supported land restoration programs in the Kono district, helping to revive the local ecosystem and make former mining lands available for productive farming. 

Lab Grown Diamonds

Lab grown diamonds are a guarantee of a conflict-free gem. Not only do they have the same physical, chemical, and optical characteristics as a natural diamond, they are an ethical and mining-free alternative to natural diamonds. Yet, the diamond industry has no defined standard to ensure responsible manufacturing of lab grown diamonds. So we created our own standard to ensure safe and healthy working conditions at our lab manufacturers. Brilliant Earth joined the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex) in 2021 and we are leading the lab industry by using the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) to verify compliance to the Brilliant Earth Supplier Code of Conduct.  

Truly Brilliant™ Diamonds

The Truly Brilliant™ natural and lab diamond collection is expertly curated diamonds chosen for their balance of premium traceability and sustainability. We take pride in the sustainable production practices used by our Truly Brilliant™ natural and lab diamond suppliers. These practices include the use of renewable energy and green building construction, which not only reduce our environmental impact but also promote responsible sourcing of diamonds.  

How Brilliant Earth is Driving Industry Change with Beyond Conflict Free™ Diamonds

Our Beyond Conflict Free™ natural diamonds continue to exceed current industry standards: less than 1% of natural diamond suppliers worldwide meet our standards in responsibility and sustainability. Through diverse diamond sourcing, revolutionary blockchain technology, and Truly Brilliant™ diamonds, we are able to create a more ethical, transparent, and compassionate industry.   

Select Diamond Sources

To ensure that our natural diamonds meet high social and environmental standards, we selectively source them from approved mines in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, and Canada. These countries are socially and economically stable and rated as low or moderate risk.

Revolutionary Blockchain Technology

We believe that blockchain technology is the future of supply chain traceability. By utilizing this cutting-edge technology, we can provide our customers with a digital asset that contains detailed information about the origin and journey of each diamond. From the mining operator to the ultimate end consumer, our blockchain-enabled diamonds offer complete transparency and peace of mind.   

Truly Brilliant™ Natural Diamonds

We take pride in sustainable production practices used by our Truly Brilliant™ natural and lab diamond suppliers. These practices include the use of renewable energy and green building construction, which not only reduce our environmental impact but also promote responsible sourcing of diamonds.   

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