Blood Diamonds: is the love of a ring worth the injustice of societies?

By Abigail Keefe
February 11, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 6.42.05 PM
Graphic by Abbie Keefe

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, 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.

Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

4 thoughts on “Blood Diamonds: is the love of a ring worth the injustice of societies?”

  1. As I said in comments to other, similarly misinformed, articles in recent days, it’s high time that people writing about blood diamonds did some independent research rather than relying on the spin from vested interests in the jewellery industry.
    The author has fallen for the trap set by the diamond industry and conflated “conflict diamonds” and blood diamonds.
    The Kimberley Process (KP) does not certify diamonds are conflict-free. The term conflict-free doesn’t appear anywhere in the KP regulations. Neither does the term “blood diamond”. The KP doesn’t ban blood diamonds; it only bans “conflict diamonds”.
    “Conflict diamonds” are “rough diamonds used by rebel groups or their allies to fund violence aimed at undermining legitimate governments.”
    It’s crucially important to be fully aware of the limitations of this definition. Note that it is restricted to rough diamonds used by rebel groups.
    Rough diamonds that fund human rights violations by rogue regimes completely evade the KP regulations as do cut and polished diamonds that fund human rights violations.
    These blood diamonds, freely and legally, enter the legitimate diamond market and are labelled conflict-free in accordance with the bogus System of Warranties introduced by the World Diamond Council to create the illusion that the KP regulations apply to cut and polished diamonds. They do not.
    While the percentage of “conflict diamonds” may have been reduced in recent years the trade in other blood diamonds continues unchecked and is estimated to account for about 30% of the global market share in value terms.
    Rogue regimes in Israel, Angola and Zimbabwe use revenue from the diamond industry to fund the brutal subjugation of people under their control.
    Israel is the world’s leading exporter of cut and polished diamonds. Revenue from the Israeli diamond industry generates about $1 bn/yr in funding for the Israeli military which is guilty of gross human rights violations – war crimes according to the UNHRC, Amnesty and Human Rights Watch.
    Most of the world’s leading jewellers, including Brilliant Earth and Tiffany’s, sell diamonds that generate revenue used to fund the Israeli military and claim they are conflict-free.
    In 2013 I rebutted some of the spin from Brilliant Earth – see here –
    Just recently I challenged Tiffany & Co to come clean about the ethical provenance of the diamonds they source from a Beny Steinmetz mine in Sierra Leone – see here: and here:
    Following the disclosure of the links between Tiffany’s diamonds and suspected Israeli war crimes the company’s Chief Sustainability Officer was suddenly dropped from the line up of speakers for the forthcoming Responsible Business Summit USA 2016 hosted by Ethical Corporation. See here:
    All efforts to broaden the KP definition of a “conflict diamond” to include diamonds that fund human rights violations by government forces have been blocked by vested interests including Israel which recently blocked a proposal from the World Diamond Council as “it could be disastrous for Israel” see here:
    Until such time as the jewellery industry ends the trade in all blood diamonds and not just “conflict diamonds” consumers should consider other far more ethical alternatives to diamonds.

  2. Thank for that Sean. I was considering buying from Tiffany’s the better half would have been disgusted and ashamed to wear items covered in blood

  3. Very eloquent and well detailed comments Sean. Israeli blood diamond exposure is long overdue and thanks to people like you for having courage to tell it like it is, maybe more of us will open our eyes and challenge this shameful, brutal hypocrisy. Israeli and any other blood diamonds cannot be euphemised, they are products of death, human rights violations, oppression and theft.

  4. Thank heaven we have people like Sean Clinton to keep us aware of the serious white-washing by the diamond industry! No diamonds for me so long as these atrocities keep being funded.

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