Valentine’s Day is a time for love. A time for romance. A time to show just how much you truly care for that special someone. Sometimes Valentine’s Day includes extra special gifts of jewelry, or even an engagement ring.
But how much DOES one have to care in order to give them an engagement ring, where the diamond unknowingly may have stripped the rights and freedom of lives, let alone stand as a symbol of eternal love at all?
Your wedding ring may be a blood diamond.
Diamonds from countries such as the Central African Republic are often called Blood Diamonds because profits from the sale of them are used to purchase weapons used on conflicts there and in other nearby countries. In fact, these beautiful minerals allow military to purchase murder weapons. These weapons, used by militias, result in mass rape, complete control of communities and torture.
In addition to diamonds, other conflict minerals that threaten peace and stability are tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold, which one may find inside their cell phone that we use daily. These natural resources continue to be the heart of the conflict in countries such as the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
According to Section 1502 of the Dodd- Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, nearly 70,000,000 individuals from these communities have been torn apart by both hostility and human rights violations, though trading agreements have been worked on by the World Diamond Council, and the United States Government, to block the trading of conflict diamonds.
What can we do?
Before buying jewelry, check brilliantearth.com, a jewelry company that specializes in conflict-free engagement rings and promotes ethics and sustainability. Brilliant Earth’s website lists the top 10 reasons to care about conflict minerals: hope for the extermination of civil wars, violence, poverty, rape and torture, forced labor and child labor, an end to mercury pollution, cyanide spills, ecosystem devastation, a stop to dangerous working conditions and corruption.
Although conflict diamonds import- ed from Zimbabwe and other regions are banned by the United States Treasury Department and the United Nations mandates the Kimberly Process, which has led a significant amount of diamonds to be traded under conflict-free conditions, consumers cannot always be so sure where their symbols of love may have originated. Since min- eral mining can be such a huge asset to these countries, it is common for the diamonds and minerals to sneak through loop-holes in the system through major trading hubs, as well as pushed into the states through gem cutting and polishing companies.
So, how does one know where their diamond is from?
Be sure that the diamond has record of traceability in order to ensure that they are ethically mined, cut and polished. Buy from responsible sources, such as Brilliant Earth, Leber Jeweler, Bashford Jewelry, and Tiffany &Co.
Fine jewelry, engagement and wed- ding rings are items that we will wear for the rest of our lives. It is important to be sure that the sign of love truly shows love for all humanity. Everyone belongs to one human family, where everything affects everyone, starting simply with the ring on a finger.