The Supply Chain
The diamond trade has been the focus of criticism from the jewellery industry and consumers for decades. As awareness increased of the conditions under which ‘blood diamonds’ or conflict diamonds are mined and sold, so did attempts to regulate the supply chain and stop the trade of conflict diamonds.
Conflict diamonds are mined in areas of war or areas that are characteristically plagued by violence and political upheaval
and are used by war lords/militia to finance violence.
This led to further questioning about the origins of diamonds (and later metals and gemstones) more broadly. Both consumer and industry awareness has improved drastically since the beginning of this dialogue, resulting in increased pressure from consumers and ongoing action from the industry.
The first initiative to surface in response to human rights offences in the diamond trade was the Kimberly Process.
The Kimberly Process set out to remove conflict diamonds from the market by controlling their movement across borders. However, the system has been criticised by several bodies for corruption, smuggling and fake certificates as well as only considering violence related to civil wars, and providing certification to countries that are rife with other forms of violence and known to have corrupt diamond trades. As a result of these gaps, a number of systems have been created to improve standards along the diamond supply chain. Below are a few examples of such initiatives.
The CanadaMark system, established by the Canadian government, guarantees the whole CanadaMark diamond supply chain adheres to strict standards, regulated by the Canadian Government.
Diamonds for Peace are an NGO based in both Japan and Liberia that are working towards a supply of ethical diamonds from Liberia and are supporting small scale miners in western Liberia.
The MDS certification system was created by the Diamond Development Initiative to improve standards in artisanal diamond production in Africa.
Visit our Key Organisations section for a list of organisations in the industry and what they do.
further reading on diamond sourcing
Levin Sources, Better Business in the Jewellery Sector: traceability
The Jewellery Editor, Canadian diamonds: a definitive guide
Bario Neal Blog, Canadian Diamonds
Bario Neal Blog, Kimberly Certified Diamonds
Bario Neal Blog, Recycled Diamonds
where to source diamonds
There are three widely accepted options for responsibly sourced diamonds. These are:
- Diamonds from known and certified origins such as CanadaMark Diamonds;
- Lab Grown diamonds and;
- Recycled diamonds.
For suppliers of each of these sources, click on the below.
Banner Image Credit: Alison Macleod