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NO CONFLICT DIAMONDS

Most of you know about conflict diamonds from reading about how they funded war in African nations or from seeing “Blood Diamond,” Hollywood’s version of the story. But how much do you know about conflict free diamonds, those gems that shine just a little brighter than the rest?

Sure, you know the conflict free name promises that your diamond is free of violence, poverty or labor and environmental abuses. But, it turns out that conflict free diamonds are NOT all created equal. Here are a few tips to make sure you buy diamonds that are as clean as they are sparkly.

• Ask to see your retailer’s official written policy on conflict diamonds. All retailers should have one! Seriously.

• Expect educated staff members. Every staff member should know their company policies and government regulations against conflict diamonds.

• Look for definitions of conflict free that mention both environmental and labor considerations, as well as eliminating violence and wars. Conflict free means an ethically and environmentally responsible origin.

• Look for diamonds originating from Canada. Fair trade diamonds are in the works in West Africa, but certification standards are still being developed. Until then, Canadian origin with accompanying certification is still the only sure guarantee of conflict free status.

• Look for certification and tracking guarantees. Retailers should know every country and facility their diamonds have visited, from the mine to the store.

While it seems like a lot to digest, the only way to guarantee a true conflict free diamond is to see proof of origin, independent certification and tracking and an official retailer policy that addresses ethical and environmental concerns. It’s certainly worth the effort.


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