A Guide to Conflict Free Diamonds And Why Are They Important?

Diamonds are treasured for their beauty, their brilliance, and their exclusivity. These qualities stand the test of time. However, in today’s interconnected world, we also need to be assured that our purchases are not having a negative social impact. Within the diamond community, there are several ways of guaranteeing this, and one of the most important is ensuring a diamond is conflict free. But what does this mean?
Conflict Free Diamonds
Unfortunately, not all diamonds enter the market through legal or ethical means. Diamond mining in remote areas are sometimes commandeered by rebel militias who sell the diamonds to further their military goals. This fuels conflict and deprives miners of the proceeds of their labor. Though a bigger problem in decades past, there is still a small fraction of diamonds that are brought to market outside of legitimate channels. These are sometimes referred to as ‘conflict diamonds’. Over the past two decades, through the efforts of governments, NGO’s and the diamond industry, the number of diamonds entering the market in this way has been largely eliminated. Still, from time to time problems flair up and require attention and action.
Fortunately, conflict free diamonds are an ethical alternative. Ensuring suppliers and jewelers produce and source conflict free diamonds is one of the most important steps in creating a fairer, more ethical market for beautiful jewelry. In this blog post, we will be explaining why purchasing conflict free diamonds is the only way to buy jewelry.

Why Is It Important That Diamonds Are Conflict Free?

The majority of diamonds are mined in large, mechanized, conventional operations that are highly controlled and regulated. Mines run in this way ensure that no conflict diamonds are produced in these types of operations.
Whiteflash A CUT ABOVE Diamond
So where does the real problem lie? With alluvial diamonds. These are diamonds brought to the Earth’s crust by volcanic activity. Over time, they are weathered out of the host rock and deposited in sand and gravel very near the surface. These deposits are ‘mined’ by individual artisans using rudimentary tools; a mining method that lacks the oversight and protections of industrial mining projects. As such, alluvial miners are vulnerable to armed groups who take over these areas by force and operate them with little regard to the safety or treatment of the workers.
In these cases, the proceeds of the diamonds are used to fund renegade groups in their movements against legitimate governments. This often comes with dire consequences for local communities.
We believe that private businesses, as well as governments and NGO’s, have a duty to be socially aware and responsible, as each is in a position to positively impact the communities they are a part of. When it comes to beautiful diamonds, jewelers have a duty to source their diamonds only through legitimate channels, helping to eliminate conflict diamonds from the market.
We have previously stated that “Because we can make a difference, we have a social obligation to try to do so.” This is of utmost importance to Whiteflash. Diamonds must be conflict free to ensure that we can enjoy them without inadvertently causing suffering or lost opportunity for others involved in bringing these special gems to market.
Fortunately, there is a process that exists to ensure the ethics and fairness of the international diamond market.

The Kimberley Process: Reducing the Flow of Conflict Diamonds

The Kimberley Process is an initiative that began in 2003, uniting governments, civil societies, and industry to effectively address the problem of conflict diamonds. Memberships span many international borders, with 82 countries signing up to keep unethical diamonds from entering the market.
Kimberley Process Logo
Image Courtesy of Kimberley Process
Whiteflash and socially conscious diamond lovers across the globe are grateful to the Kimberley Process for its work. Because of its efforts, more than 99% of all diamonds are now conflict free. With careful monitoring of the supply chain, thanks to the Kimberley Process, the benefits of ethical diamond mining are shared by everyone.
For example, in 2021, Africa produced around 65 million carats. Because of the legitimate business and beneficiation associated with that production, around 5.5 million people have access to health care.
For more information on the benefits of sourcing conflict free diamonds, head to our infographic here.

What Does the Future Look Like?

Through the collective efforts of all stakeholders, the international community has brought the problem of conflict diamonds under control. Today, through global initiatives such as the Kimberley Process it is being made a thing of the past, though continued vigilance is needed to prevent any re-emergence.
There is now an emphasis on ‘beneficiation’, making sure that the communities that mine these diamonds benefit from the resource. Organizations such as the Diamond Development Initiative are dedicated to this process helping to provide health care, jobs, and education for artisanal mining communities.
Diamond will always be a revered gem material, renowned for its rarity, durability and beauty. Ensuring the production and trade in diamonds is ethical and responsible is of utmost importance so that all involved can share in the benefits.
Through continued beneficiation from now into the future, ethical diamond sourcing will help diamond shoppers everywhere fully enjoy the beauty of these remarkable gems, as well as give back to the ones that first dug them from the ground.
For those looking for exquisite pieces that bear no connection to conflict, the first step is to find the right supplier.

Shopping With Confidence

Here at Whiteflash, we only deal in legitimately sourced diamonds, buying from suppliers who have both pledged to operate in the strictest compliance with the Kimberley Process and support United Nations Resolutions prohibiting the trade in conflict diamonds.
We are proud to contribute to several initiatives that help ensure that conflict diamonds and human rights abuses are no longer part of the diamond market:
  • We are members of the United Nations Global Compact, a binding pact made to ensure businesses worldwide adopt socially responsible practices, where members align their work with ten universally accepted principles regarding labor, anti-corruption, human rights, and the environment.
  • We are also members of the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), which helps the communities involved in small-scale mining to benefit from their work.
  • We have also developed a special collection of themed jewelry called Dreams of Africa that honors the people where a large percentage of diamonds are mined. All of the profits from this line are donated to Jewelers for Children, the chosen charity for the American Gem Society.
We are driven by our core values and will always work towards transparency, accountability, diversity, and inclusion. We understand what it takes to make a diamond into a beautiful piece of jewelry. This means we also know how many people it takes to do this. Each and every one of them deserves a full measure of protection and credit.

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