No, this is not a discussion about how to avoid upsetting a prospective fiancee with an inadequate ring. Conflict-free in this instance is referring to blood diamonds—those brilliant and beautiful gems that were unfortunately mined under force by rebel governments who used them to support their war efforts. The public was initially made aware of this issue in the 1990s due to the conflict in Sierra Leone. Beginning a life together by making a promise with a gem that stole the lives from others is unappealing to many. That is why buyers should take advantage of other options that make conflict diamonds unnecessary.
Choose Another Gem
Diamonds may be the traditional engagement jewel, but not everyone loves old traditions. Instead, look at jewelry shops like Jeffrey-Private Jeweler for something entirely unique. Consider purchasing an engagement ring with the birthstone of the bride-to-be. Or find out their favorite gem and select that instead. Many women prefer rubies, sapphires and emeralds to diamonds because of their brilliant color. In addition, it is often possible to get these gems for less than a diamond. So, buyers can potentially stay within their budget and walk away with a much more elaborate design.
Buy Ethical Diamonds
Jewelers who follow the Kimberley Process guarantee to not purchase any diamonds from parts of the world where they are used to fund wars. The Kimberley Process is a certification process mandated by the United Nations. Buyers and sellers must meet minimum requirements to be certified, and promise to only buy or sell to others who are also certified. It is possible that they could break the promise, but reputable, established jewelers are unlikely willing to risk their entire livelihood when high-quality, ethical diamonds are available elsewhere.
Visit Antique Shops
Antique diamonds were mined, sold and placed into settings before any current conflicts were in place. Of course, this does not mean that the workers who mined them were free or lived comfortably. The truth is, the diamond industry has a dark past. However, when purchasing antique, the initial profit was given to the supplier decades before, and its purchase is now only supporting the owner of the antique shop.
Blood diamonds, or conflict diamonds, are not only negative because of how the profits are spent. Children as young as 11 are forced to live and work in mining towns where criminal behavior like sex trafficking and drugs are common. Despite a worldwide effort to abolish this industry, it still survives. Yet, every shopper that insists on only ethical diamonds makes it a little less profitable for the mine owners.