A Review of Brilliant Earth's Ethically Sourced and Conflict-Free Diamonds
Consumers are increasingly concerned with where their products come from. From produce to parkas, customers want to know that their goods are produced with the least possible environmental impact and that workers are treated fairly. Therefore, it's only natural that people want to buy diamonds that are conflict-free and ethically sourced.
Diamonds have a history of originating from sources known for human rights abuses, damage to the environment, and civil wars involvement. Thankfully, more and more companies are striving to procure ethically sourced diamonds for their customers. One such company is Brilliant Earth.
If you read the Brilliant Earth reviews, the term that comes up most frequently is "Beyond Conflict-Free." This is a term that the company has devised to describe their diamonds. A beyond conflict-free diamond is ethically sourced and conflict-free, but what exactly does that mean?
What is Diamond Mining?
To understand the ethical issues surrounding diamonds, it's important to know a little bit about how they are mined. Naturally occurring diamonds come from three places. They come from kimberlite formations, riverbeds, and the ocean floor. Most diamonds originate from Africa, although some come from Canada and Russia. Regardless of which country they come from, diamonds take millions of years to form and require extensive equipment and manpower to extract.
Mining is either done with large equipment or by hand. When a large corporation undertakes a mining project, it's easier to determine whether they adhere to strict ethical and environmental standards. However, when mined informally and by hand, it's harder to guarantee the workers' safety and the preservation of the environment.
The Kimberley Process
In 2003, the Clean Diamond Trade Act was signed into law. This act prohibits the importing or exporting of any rough diamond, from any source, in the US or from the US, unless said diamond has been controlled through the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). Rough diamonds, also known as conflict diamonds, are diamonds that finance military action by rebel movements.
The KPCS imposes strict requirements on its members to certify that their shipments of rough diamonds are conflict-free. Participating members must issue a warranty declaration all their sales invoices stating that the diamonds come from legitimate sources. This statement has to be corroborated through records that are audited and reconciled on an annual basis.
Brilliant Earth Goes Beyond The Kimberley Process
It is Brilliant Earth's view that the Kimberley Process doesn't do enough to ensure the acquisition and sale of ethically-sourced diamonds. For that reason, they created the term "Beyond Conflict-Free." This term refers to diamonds that meet the following requirements:
- They have not been used to finance rebel movements,
- They come from mines that do not have any human rights abuses,
- The mining process minimizes environmental degradation,
- The mine employs safe and responsible labor practices,
- And the mine supports community development.
Brilliant Earth Applies Rigorous Standards to Their Suppliers
To ensure that they sell only ethically sourced diamonds, Brilliant Earth requires its suppliers to maintain a robust custody protocol chain. They must be able to track and segregate each diamond by its origin. Brilliant Earth only accepts diamonds from specific mine operators who adhere to internationally recognized trade, labor, and environmental standards. Furthermore, they are a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council.
The company's diamonds originate from three countries, Russia, Botswana Sort, and Canada. Their Russian diamonds come from the Yakutia region of northeast Siberia and the Arkhangelsk region along the White Sea coast. These mines provide thousand of jobs, and workers often get double the average Russian salary, in addition to getting housing benefits, health care, and pensions.
Diamonds from Botswana Sort come from mines that demonstrate a dedication to reducing their environmental impact. Additionally, the mines follow internationally recognized labor and environmental standards.
Brilliant Earth's Canadian diamonds originate from Diavik and Ekati mines. The Responsible Jewellery Council and independent environmental monitoring audit these mines. The mines employ local Aboriginal people and provide funds for scholarships, as well as a skilled apprenticeship program.
This review examined how Brilliant Earth defines its diamonds as ethically sourced and conflict-free. It established that to be conflict-free, diamonds must come from suppliers that adhere to the Kimberley Process. It then examined how Brilliant Earth goes above and beyond the standards set out by the Kimberley Process to ensure their diamonds are both conflict-free and ethical. To define their diamonds as ethical, the company requires that their suppliers provide chain of custody evidence, showing that the diamonds originate from approved mines in Canada, Russia, or Botswana. In light of the strict criteria that they apply to their diamonds' procurement, it's safe to say that Brilliant Earth can be considered a trusted provider of ethically sourced and conflict-free diamonds.
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