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How to avoid buying a blood diamond

Blood Diamonds

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Traceability is key

It's probably safe to assume that most people wouldn't knowingly choose to buy a conflict diamond (aka a blood diamond). And yet, with all the myths and misinformation in circulation, many clients we hear from are initially uncertain about how to avoid this.

The headline is that this issue is all about traceability. If you don't have positive confirmation of a diamond's ultimate source of origin, then you can't be sure that it's a legitimate stone. Put another way; you need to know which mine it came from. If you are arriving at this issue fresh, this might sound painfully obvious: if you don't know where a diamond is from, then any claims about its ethical provenance can't count for much. And yet the way the diamond industry has traditionally been structured means that transparency in the supply chain is extremely rare.

The diamond supply chain

What typically happens is that a wholesaler will buy diamonds from multiple sources (some more ethical than others). They will then be repackaged (perhaps by size, rarely by origin) and sold on. They will be cut and polished beyond recognition and sold on again. Eventually, they will pass down the supply chain to you, the end consumer - when you ask the retailer where they are from, it's extremely unlikely they will be able to tell you which country, let alone which mine. They aren't able to provide you with the information you need.

Instead, they will most likely attempt to satisfy you with assurances about 'reputable suppliers', the promise that their diamonds were sourced 'in accordance with the Kimberley Process', and the line that conflict diamonds aren't a problem anymore. These promises unravel under scrutiny but, unfortunately, are enough to stop many consumers from pressing the issue.

Industry misinformation

As an antidote to this misinformation, consumers should be aware of a few key facts.

Sometimes jewellers will claim that it's impossible to offer transparency in the supply chain, but this isn't true - several diamond brands now offer laser-inscribed stones that can be traced back to source. So if you're determined not to buy a blood diamond, ask where the stone originally comes from and refuse to be fobbed off with anything less than a clear answer. It is as simple as that.

David Rhode
Together with Tim Ingle, David created Ingle & Rhode to offer a better alternative to the traditional luxury brands. Since 2007, we’ve provided our customers with genuinely ethical engagement rings, wedding rings and fine jewellery – free from conflict diamonds, dirty gold and child labour. With more than 16 years experience in the jewellery industry, David has deep expertise in diamonds, gemstones and jewellery design and manufacturing.