If you’re shopping for diamond jewelry, especially engagement rings, you may have heard the terms “ethically sourced,” responsibly sourced,” and “conflict-free” diamonds. What do all these terms mean? How does this impact your jewelry shopping?

Many consumers are now more socially conscious. They want to buy products that are ethically sourced. This includes diamond engagement rings. Here’s what you need to know about buying ethical diamonds.

What Is a Conflict-Free Diamond?

Many jewelers market their diamonds as “conflict-free.” By that, they mean their diamonds meet the Kimberley Process standards. The problem is that the Kimberley Process only defines conflict diamonds as diamonds that are used to fund rebel movements. It overlooks many other human rights abuses and environmental issues. Just because a diamond is conflict-free doesn’t mean it is ethically sourced.

Responsibly or Ethically Sourced Diamonds

Recently, there has been more of a push for ethically sourced diamonds. These are diamonds that have been mined in ways that respect human rights and the environment. Most of the time, this means that they have been extracted through industrial mining by a reputable corporation.

Industrial Mining vs. Artisanal Mining

Industrial mining is usually done by large corporations. It is regulated to protect the workers and the environment. Artisanal mining is done by independent workers and small operations that are not regulated. This leaves artisanal mining operations open to many safety and human rights issues, including child labor and mine accidents. There are also environmental hazards involved such as soil erosion and water siltation.

The problem with conflict-free diamonds and even some ethically sourced diamonds is that the suppliers cannot always trace the origin of the diamond. Rough diamonds need to be sorted and mixed before they are cut, so diamonds from unethical sources could get mixed in with those that are responsibly mined.

The Future of Diamond Mining

Ethical, responsible diamond sourcing is the future of the industry. More and more people are becoming aware of this issue, and there is an increased demand for ethically sourced diamonds. Some jewelry manufacturers are going one step further and giving back to the countries where they mine.

Proud to Carry Brands that Give Back

Vanscoy, Maurer & Bash is proud to carry designer brands that give back in communities around the world. For example, we sell responsibly-sourced Devotion with Forevermark Diamonds. In fact, we are the only store in Central PA that carries Devotion with Forevermark Diamonds!

Forevermark is a vision of De Beers Group, whose operating philosophy is “Building Forever” by making a lasting contribution to communities. One of these initiatives involves a partnership with United Nations (UN) Women that supports women micro-entrepreneurs in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

Forevermark certifies that diamonds sold under their brand have been mined ethically and with the utmost respect and concern for the environment. For every acre that is mined, five acres are set aside for conservation. They also employ and empower women in the countries they mine.

If you’re shopping for an engagement ring and are concerned about choosing ethical diamonds, we can help guide you in your search. Get in touch or stop by our store to explore ethical options from major designers.