When you look at a dazzling diamond in all its beauty, it’s hard to imagine that it started as a rough gem buried deep inside the earth. Many of us are so far removed from what diamonds actually are, and, most importantly, where they come from, that it’s hard to comprehend the origins of this glamorous and prestigious gemstone. Here we talk about what conflict-free diamonds means, why it’s important, and how you can shop confidently with Browns.
What does ‘conflict-free’ mean?
Conflict diamonds, also known as ‘blood diamonds’ originate from areas controlled by forces at war, or those in conflict with the region’s government. The diamonds from these areas are used illegally and fund military action to further fuel war.
In the 1990s, people were killed in hundreds of thousands in wars powered by the most sought after stone, the diamond. Areas affected were Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and still today: blood diamonds from Cote d’Ivoire, eastern DRC, and Zimbabwe continue to infiltrate the market.
The conflict diamond industry perpetuates war and violence and is reported for its inhumane treatment of workers, as well as being rife with violence, starvation and disease. The diamonds are usually cut and polished in sweatshop conditions, often by children, for wages that are inadequate for even the most basic standard of living. Today, to buy and sell conflict diamonds is rightfully illegal.
The Kimberley Process
By way of tackling the issue and preventing the circulation of conflict diamonds; in 2000, the diamond industry initiated the Kimberley Process. This well-thought-out process aims to track every diamond from the place it was mined to the place it is sold, thus preventing illegal conflict diamonds from being sold in the precious gem market. It is estimated that 99.8% of diamonds on the global market are now conflict-free and comply with market standards.
At Browns, we support the harmonious settlement of any existing conflict in war-torn countries. Employing the Kimberley Process, and in compliance with the United Nations Resolutions, we only source our diamonds from genuine sources that we know are not involved in funding any conflicts.
The term ‘ethical diamond’ is used as a way for conscientious consumers to identify diamonds that have been produced without the exploitation of workers or the environment.
At Browns, we only source ethical diamonds and gemstones. All our gemstones are not only conflict-free but are produced with due care for the environment, as well as being cut and polished by adults working with fair pay and fair conditions. We can make this guarantee because, thanks to our suppliers, we can trace our diamonds and gemstones back to their mine of origin and, in some cases, even the miner who found the diamond.
Where we source our diamonds
At Browns, we source our diamonds from India and make sure we partner with suppliers that make a point of giving back to their communities. One supplier can proudly provide us with information, such as which miner found the diamond, as well as the lapidary of it. They also invest a percentage of their profits back into their community by building schools, as well as putting a focus on healthcare, education, gender equality and environment-related programs.
With much support for families, there have been life-changing homes built for 14,000 families. Mother and childcare are also prominent, with free vaccination and treatment for pregnancy-related problems and prevention of female infanticide. They’re currently building a hospital in Surat and have adopted two schools in Gurukul, providing vital education including nurtured literacy.
Our supplier takes great consideration in generating their own electricity through eco-friendly windmills and aims to inspire others to follow suit and reduce their own carbon footprint. They also continue to help with rainwater conservation, providing a river link sourcing clean water to around 40,000 people. Recognised as a part of the ‘Clean India’ initiative, unsurprising, they’ve been rewarded by the government for their inspiring work.
Whether you’re looking for your first diamond, an engagement ring, or to treat yourself to your next showstopping diamond piece: at Browns, you can feel completely confident that you’re getting a genuine conflict-free diamond.