After reading Greg Campbell’s book “Blood Diamonds“, I cannot just sit by while another Valentine’s Day approaches without urging people: DO NOT BUY DIAMONDS unless they are GUARANTEED conflict-free . In fact, it is probably best NOT TO PURCHASE DIAMONDS AT ALL.
I know this is a hard idea to swallow, but trust me, it is an “idea” that has been marketed to you for the last 100 years at the cost of thousands of brutal amputations and innocent human lives.
“‘Show her that you’ll love her for another thousand years.’ This ad illustrates the market perfectly: Men buy diamonds for women. Period. Little do these future grooms know that they’re falling into a trap laid more than 100 years ago. De Beer’s founder Cecil Rhodes said that the future of his empire was guaranteed as long as ‘men and women continued to fall in love’. . . .There’s nothing that can ruin a carefully crafted mystique better than the stink of reality.” (Campbell)
Unlike the early 1990’s, currently the diamond market may be monitored and new regulations may be in place to prevent blood diamonds from reaching the consumer, and the civil wars in Sierra Leone are over (for the most part). However, this does not ensure that every diamond on the market is conflict free.
“Diamonds are so portable—and their value so enticing—that no system of certificates will ever be able to answer, for certain, whether or not the diamonds in an engagement ring came from perfectly legitimate sources in South Africa or from under the tongue of a rebel called Colonel Poison.” (Campbell)
“‘I now believe that to cut off Al Qaeda funds and the laundering activities you have to cut off the diamond pipeline,’ said a European investigator quoted in the Washington Post.. . .Somewhere out there is a multimillion-dollar cache of goods . . .. Whether the diamonds are in a Hamburg safe-deposit box or a cave in the Tora Bora mountains, they are now the terrorists’ ace in the hole. As long as some cells of leadership can survive the American military assault, they will have the means to continue their war well into the future.” (Campbell)
But if you still want to buy diamonds, please don’t be afraid to ask your jeweler if the diamond you are purchasing is guaranteed conflict-free (not just if they are following the Kimberly Process).
Luckily, the company Brilliant Earth, is a great source for guaranteed conflict free diamonds from Canada. In 1999, there was a diamond rush in Canada. The environment is harsh and cold there, but one thing is certain, there are no civil wars.
“A diamond is worthless if someone had to die to get it.” -CNN, 2006
I think we need to take a hard look at this manufactured, materialistic symbol of love. It is time we all start looking at diamonds and start seeing blood and not bling.
Some good links:
“Diamonds Aren’t Forever” (2006 CNN Article)
Brillant Earth (A good source for certified conflict-free diamonds)
Greg Campbell is awesome.
African Conflict Diamonds.
Blood Diamond is actually a really good movie about this subject.
So is Lord of War. It’s about arms dealing in South Africa.