Brilliant Earth 2020 - Should I Buy Conflict Free Diamonds
As an informed consumer, we try to be wise about where our money goes and the impact we can have on the world through responsible spending. For some time, the world has been aware of the conflicts that are funded by the diamond trade. Brutal regimes and rebels control of many of the places that mine diamonds. So, what are conflict-free diamonds?
Conflict free diamonds are diamonds that are sourced in ways that do not support or finance rebel movements. The Kimberly Process is the accepted standard of “conflict-free” that most jewelers adhere to. Brilliant Earth goes farther in its definition of “conflict-free” by ensuring their sources for diamonds:
- Do not support rebel movements
- Does not contribute to human rights abuses
- Minimizes environmental impact
- Supports community development
Brilliant Earth reviews show overall satisfaction with quality, pricing, customer service, and adherence to its promise of conflict-free sourcing of diamonds. Conflict free diamonds are often more expensive than those found in the general marketplace. So, why should consumers pay more for diamonds because of a conflict-free label?
Being a responsible consumer means purchasing in a way that rewards ethical business practices and reduces both waste and the size of your carbon footprint. Knowing which companies have established ethical and eco-friendly business practices can be a complicated process. Understanding the entire lifecycle of the products we purchase is cumbersome and impossible in many circumstances. The following are some easy steps toward becoming a responsible consumer:
- Buy quality of quantity. Avoid the latest trends in everything, from fashion to technology. Instead, purchase fewer items but of a higher quality that will last longer. Putting your money into higher quality products also makes it easier to research what you are buying, since you will be dealing with fewer vendors as you buy less.
- Shop at thrift stores and other places where items are recycled and repurposed. Use thrift stores to donate your used items so that they will have an extended life span.
- Repair items when possible. In today’s fast-moving society, it is easy to trash anything with a defect or small tear along a seam. Instead, repair items to their original state when possible.
- Do your research about merchants and brands. The internet offers a world of information at your fingertips, so use it to find businesses with sustainable practices, including ethical sourcing.
- Refuse to do business with businesses that outsource manufacturing to countries that have a history of poor working conditions and cheap labor.
Being a responsible consumer of fine jewelry can be a complicated process. Jewelry suppliers typically rely on a complicated supply chain for precious metal, gems, and diamonds. These materials are mined from dozens of countries around the world, then they are traded, exported, and processed in different regions. The processed materials are then transformed into jewelry before they ever reach fine jewelry retailers. Given this complex process, few retailers know the origin of the metals or gems the pieces contain.
Brilliant Earth uses blockchain technology in combination with a limited number of trusted vendors to know the mine where each diamond or gem originated. Brilliant Earth does the work for consumers who want to practice responsible consumerism by providing the origin of each piece of jewelry and backing it with their track record of sustainable and ethical sourcing.
Human rights issues
The Human Rights Watch, a non-profit organization that tracks human rights abuses, sums up some of the human rights abuses caused by gold and diamond mining. These include:
- Brutal working conditions
- Child labor
- Displacement of indigenous people
- Enormous suffering by civilians when armed rebel groups seize mining operations and finance their brutal methods with mining profits
- Water and soil polluted with toxic chemicals, posing health hazards for entire communities
The above human rights abuses are only a small glimpse into the toll taken by mining practices that do not meet the Kimberly Process minimum. Buying jewelry that is ethically sourced is one small way that people around the world can help combat the damage done by diamond mining.
Brilliant Earth helps combat these problems not only by offering “beyond conflict-free” sourcing of diamonds, but they also specialize in recycled gold, platinum, and other precious metals. They offer a line of vintage jewelry that has been refurbished to its original glory. In addition to diamonds that are ethically sourced, they offer diamonds that are recycled and diamonds that are lab-made. These practices help reduce the need for mining at all.
By taking steps to reduce the practice of mining, Brilliant Earth gives consumers an eco-friendly source of fine jewelry. Fine jewelry marks many momentous occasions in life. Celebrating these special times with a product from a company that is eco-friendly and practices ethical sourcing helps consumers feel better about the jewelry they will wear for years to come.