Diamonds are seen as the ‘symbol of love’ – the perfect ingredient to any engagement ring. However, there’s an uncomfortable truth with diamonds and the industry itself.
While traditionally the diamond industry has been shrouded in unethical practices and harmful activity, the concept of ethical diamonds is quickly becoming a reality. In this blog, we’ll be looking further into what defines an ethical diamond and promising signs that the diamond industry is changing for the better.
What is an ethical diamond?
The diamond industry has, historically, had an array of complex connotations. It has been a trade that has both fuelled and funded civil wars, mistreated workers along its supply chain and caused large-scale damage to the environment – while simultaneously being praised for its beauty and prestige.
An ethical diamond is one that has been produced morally within its conduct. This means that the processes meet environmental standards and provide fair working conditions for its workers. Along its supply chain, ethical diamond practices protect ecosystems and communities to ensure a sustainable process throughout.
Today, this kind of eco-friendly jewel is often a lab-created diamond or a recycled diamond, as opposed to earth-mined. This is because of how immensely difficult it is for diamonds to be completely ethical when mined from the earth – with a wide range of influencing factors to be mindful of.
How to know if a diamond is ethical?
It’s not always easy to know whether or not a diamond is entirely ethical. If you’re looking to buy a sustainable diamond, there are some indicators you can look for to ensure you’re consuming consciously.
There’s a long line of people and processes involved in handling a loose diamond. It’s a green flag if a company is transparent about where its rough diamonds have come from. From source to store, a traceability factor is key when looking for how to buy ethically sourced diamonds.
Diamonds always undergo a certification process, this ensures that it meets the criteria of what is defined as a diamond, such as clarity, carat and colour. For an ethical diamond, certification refers to something a bit different.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is one of the most well-known organisations that work to ensure the flow of diamonds within the trade are conflict-free. However, there has recently been a lot of debate surrounding the effectiveness of this scheme.
As a result, more and more diamond companies are creating their own ethical sourcing statements as a way to prove that their jewels are conflict-free.
Social, environmental and economic impact
We can better understand whether a diamond is ethical or not by holding it against its social, environmental and economic impacts.
An ethical diamond company should protect its workers against human rights abuses. An artisanal miner often lives in poverty and is subject to poor working conditions – so it’s important for diamond companies to prove that they are socially responsible, looking after artisanal miners and other workers.
What are the environmental impacts a diamond business has on the planet? For a mined diamond, it’s around 500kg of CO2 emitted, 101kWh of energy consumed and 4350kg of waste rock produced per carat. To be classed as ethical, a company needs to have minimal impact on the planet and demonstrate this effort.
The economic component refers to the financial aspect of a diamond’s production process. A sustainable and moral diamond should not be funding any conflict or rebel movements. It also, ideally, would help to give back to communities, as opposed to leaving them worse for wear as traditional diamond mining practices often do.
Where can I find conflict-free diamonds?
If you want a conflict-free diamond, doing some industry research beforehand will help you to get a better idea as to whether it’s ethical or not, and which one is right for you.
Lab-grown diamonds are typically conflict-free and abide by responsible and safe labour processes. Through the use of technology, lab diamonds eliminate the need for land mining. Whilst these are definitely better than any earth-mined diamond on the conflict front, they often do not use green energy to power their diamond labs and source their gases from unsustainable fossil-fuels.
Recycled diamonds are a lesser-known kind of diamond which is another ethical option. This kind of jewel is a diamond that has been repurposed after a previous purchase. Buying a recycled diamond minimizes any additional impact greatly and helps to prevent the perpetuation of abuse found within the diamond industry.
An increasing number of jewellery retailers are striving to source their earth-mined diamonds ethically. Consumers want peace of mind that they’re not contributing to unethical, unsustainable and unjust practices. Ethics and environmental issues are continuously making their way into conversations, proving that it won’t be something businesses and industries can turn a blind eye to for much longer.
Mining from the sky: the ultimate ethical diamond
Whether you’re searching for a sustainable loose diamond, or to build an ethical engagement ring, there will always be somewhat of an ethical and environmental issue with land mined diamonds.
The most ethical diamond you can find comes from… the sky.
Skydiamond gets all the carbon needed for a pure diamond from the clouds – from a mixture of sun, rain, wind and CO2 to be precise. The process locks away CO2 from the atmosphere and, on a more substantial note, uses a process that has next to no carbon footprint. This makes a sky diamond environmentally ethical and sustainable.
You won’t have to worry about blood diamonds or conflict diamonds with us. Powered by solar and wind energy, our Diamond Mills use technology to source from the sky, with no people harmed or mistreated during the process. You can find out more about Skydiamond’s ethical diamond mining process, here.
Author: Becky Waldron