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Jewellery with a Conscience

Buying jewellery today is not as simple as it used to be.  The modern jewellery shopper now needs to take into account the environmental and social effects that their jewellery can have.  Certain materials, such as diamonds  and gold , can cause a lot of damage if mined irresponsibly!  Learn how to buy the right kinds of jewellery so that your conscience can be as clean and clear as that diamond you've been eyeing up.

Conflict Diamonds

Looking to buy an engagement ring this Valentine's Day?  Make sure you buy your sweetheart an ethical diamond  so that she will have bling on her finger, not blood on her hands. 

  • Diamonds are already certified with 4 C's to rate their colour, clarity, carat, and cut.  Now, look for a fifth C which will guarantee that the stone is not a blood diamond.
  • Blood Diamonds (also called conflict diamonds) are given this term because their profits may be funding a civil war or their mining is promoting child labour.
  • The trade of unethical diamonds sadly has not yet stopped.  Diamonds are still used in crimes such as money laundering, tax evasion, and organised crime.  Al-Qaeda has even been linked to the illegal diamond trade. 
  • You should know the answers to the following questions before purchasing a diamond:
    • Where does the diamond come from?
    • You should take a look at the company's policies on conflict diamonds.
    • You should demand a written guarantee from the supplier that the diamond is, in fact, conflict-free.
  • Know that a certified diamond  is not necessarily an ethical diamond !  In many African countries, mining is neither controlled nor regulated, so the conditions under which miners are working are dirty, dangerous, and difficult; they are not receiving a fair share of the profits, making the conditions under which the diamond was obtained unethical.  
  • Consumers will continue to buy diamonds everyday, so please be sure to check the credibility of the diamonds before you buy!

Dirty Gold 

Nearly all of the gold in the world is made into jewellery , and the process under which it is made could be an ecological disaster.   So before you pick out those wedding bands, take a few factors into consideration.

  • When looking for gold, miners literally blow up a mountain into pieces of rubble and then pour cyanide over this debris to extract the gold.  This mining also releases toxic chemicals into water, displaces entire communities, and obviously destroys the biodiversity of a region.   This is certainly not eco-friendly!  
  • The mining process typically generates at least 20 tons of waste rock for every gold ring  that you see in the store.  That's 40-60 tons of waste per married couple!
  •  What you can do:
  • Ask your jeweller a lot of questions! 
    • Find out if the business is a member of the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices.  Why or why not?
    • Demand to know the province of the jewellery that you buy.  If enough customers voice their concerns, perhaps the industry will be more likely to listen.   

Related Guides 

See some of our other buying guides on organic and eco-friendly living.  

Green Guide

Eco-Fashion

Organic Health and Beauty Products

Organic Weddings