Consumers today are becoming more conscientious about the products they buy. One such area that has gotten a lot of attention recently is the diamond industry. The diamond industry is infamous for its human rights violations, environmental degradation, and participation in civil wars and rebel movements. In an effort to stop these negative practices, the conflict-free diamond was born.
To be certified as conflict-free, diamonds must conform to the Kimberley Process definition. This definition states that conflict-free diamonds be obtained and shipped in a manner that doesn’t support criminal activity. Furthermore, these diamonds can’t have any connection to terror or rebel groups.
As you will notice, the Kimberley Process definition does not say anything about human rights violations or environmental degradation. This is why Brilliant Earth developed their own guidelines for acquiring diamonds called “Beyond Conflict-Free.”
The Principles of Beyond Conflict-Free
As stated by Brilliant Earth, a Beyond Conflict-Free diamond is one that not only hasn’t been used to finance rebel movements but has also been mined in such a way so as to:
- Support community development
- Engage in safe and responsible labor practices
- Reduce environmental degradation
- Protect workers against human rights abuses
Brilliant Earth believes that jewelers who limit themselves to the Kimberley Process definition of conflict-free diamonds ignore the fact that a vast amount of diamonds are mined and shipped in ways that involve human rights abuses, poverty, violence, and environmental degradation. This is why they only work with suppliers who meet their Beyond Conflict-Free criteria.
Beyond Conflict-Free Suppliers
To ensure their Beyond Conflict-Free criteria are met, Brilliant Earth limits the suppliers they work with. Therefore, they only work with mines in Canada, Botswana Sort, and Russia.
Canadian diamonds come from mines that have been officially recognized for their commitment to maintaining the highest environmental and human rights standards. For example, the Diavik mine has constructed the first large-scale wind farm in the Northwest territories. This farm supplies over half of the mine’s energy needs. As a result, the mine is more environmentally friendly. Another Canadian mine, Ekati, is also involved in environmental initiatives. For instance, they operate several monitoring programs, including Aquatic Effects, Wildlife Effects, Air Quality, and Emissions. Furthermore, these mines have committed to hiring local indigenous people. They also offer skilled apprenticeship programs and sponsor scholarship funds.
Diamonds from Botswana Sort come from mines that have been recognized for following internationally acknowledged labor and environmental standards. Due to the diamond mining in this country, Botswana is one of Africa’s most prosperous regions. Furthermore, the money from these mines goes towards supporting education, health care, and infrastructure in Botswana.
The one mine on this list that is slightly controversial is Russia. However, Brilliant Earth only deals with Russian mines that have been certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council. Additionally, these mines provide a crucial source of income for many communities. Therefore, by supporting these mines, Brilliant Earth is supporting the financing of social infrastructure projects for communities in need.
Beyond Conflict-Free and GIA Origin Report Diamonds
In conducting our Brilliant Earth Review, we discovered that Brilliant Earth offers the GIA Diamond Origin Report for a collection of their diamonds. This report helps them trace the diamond from where it originates to its final state. GIA does this by using advanced scientific analysis to provide technical rough-to-polish diamond matching. This means that GIA collects and analyzes physical measurements, spectroscopic data, and imaging of the diamond as a rough crystal. They then give them a unique identification number to the rough diamonds. In this way, they can then identify to match the polished diamond to the original rough crystal and where it came from.
Beyond Conflict-Free is the term coined by Brilliant Earth to define diamonds that have not only not been used to finance civil wars but that also come from mines that engage in ethical and environmentally-friendly practices. This means that these mines support their community, engage in safe labor practices, treat their workers humanely, and work to protect the environment. They currently work with mines in Canada, Botswana Sort, and Russia because they have proven that they can supply Beyond Conflict-Free diamonds. Additionally, they work with the GIA Origin Report to help trace a diamond from its original form to its polished state.