What are Blood Diamonds?

We have been fascinated with diamonds for ages. These clear-coloured stones have presented an amazing show of nature in its most exquisite form in stunning rings and glittering crowns. Diamonds are now part of a commercial business worth an estimated US $64 billion yearly, no longer exclusive to the ultra-rich.

But beyond the glossy facade of periodicals and retail stores, there's a sad reminder of the diamond business's difficulties. For many years, human rights crimes in war-torn nations have been associated with the diamond mining industry (Howard, 2015).

There is no greater example of this than in Africa, where the 1990s saw the rise of Blood Diamonds, which called the world's attention to the atrocities committed by rebel-run mining companies. However, the environmental effects of diamond mining remain unaddressed even though the human tragedies of Blood Diamonds have come to light.

The relationships between the exploitation of people and, to a greater extent, the environment and diamond mining will be explored in this article. We will also discuss the tactics employed to defeat Blood Diamonds and the significance of environmental efforts in attaining sustainability in the diamond sector.

Diamonds mined in conflict regions and sold to fund military battles against lawful governments are called "blood diamonds" or "conflict diamonds." These diamonds are marketed illegally to finance violent conflicts and violations of human rights; they are frequently mined employing forced labour, including child labour. The UN created these extremely precise criteria in the 1990s when rebel groups fighting in diamond-rich regions of western and central Africa were engaging in bloody civil conflicts.

Meaning of Blood Diamond

Blood diamonds get their moniker from the fact that thousands of people are killed and displaced when these gems are mined in conflict areas and then sold to fund military battles against legal governments. The term "blood diamond" alludes to the gloomy and terrible reality of a sector of the economy that, if allowed to go amok, may endanger people, communities, and even entire countries.

Blood diamonds, referred to as conflict diamonds, are mined in regions controlled and defended by people who are generally antagonistic to governments and administrations. The miners—men, women, and children—are usually required to work in appalling conditions, and the region is frequently a war zone.

Meaning of Blood Diamond

Blood diamonds are found in many nations. However, they are mostly found in those in Southern and Western Africa. Blood diamonds were mined in the Ivory Coast, Liberia, the Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Angola, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, and Sierra Leone during the civil conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries. Rebel organisations mine and then sell blood diamonds to fund terrorism, unlawful military action, and war endeavours.

Starting and maintaining a mine is an extremely costly endeavour. Even for big firms like DeBeers, establishing mines may cost up to $1 billion. More intensive mining is required to get diamonds from deep under the ground since the supply of diamonds is running out.

It is becoming less likely that diamonds will be tainted with Conflict since access to surface-level diamonds, or those obtainable without more extensive mining procedures, has already been limited. Warmongers are unlikely to turn to diamond mining and trade as a means of financing their atrocities due to the financial obstacles involved.

Blood diamonds might be rare in today's markets due to diversification in the supply of diamonds in mined diamond locations. Russia, Canada, and Australia are among the top four nations in the world in 2017 for the weight of diamonds mined in carats. Arctic regions will emerge as a more important source of supply as the amount of diamonds available in Africa declines.

Africa's Diamond Mining History and Trends

In Africa, diamond mining is still in its infancy. Diamonds were only discovered in Brazil and India until the 19th century (Shigley, 2017). The surprising finding of a 21-carat diamond along the Orange River in Hopetown, South Africa, in the late 1800s, marked the realisation of Africa's mining potential (Shigley, 2017). This finding identified mining potential in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Namibia, Angola, Sierra Leone, and Botswana.

Approximately 47% of the 90 million carats of rough diamonds produced annually globally are thought to come from Africa (Garside, 2020). Despite being the primary supplier of rough diamonds, Africa is only a minor portion of the global supply chain (Mattheysen & Clarkson, 2013). Rough-cut stones must be transformed into retail jewellery through an expensive and time-consuming procedure.

Diamonds are often extracted from large-scale mining operations or little "artisanal" mines in regions tens to hundreds of square kilometres to start the process. This is often accomplished by searching for mud-covered diamonds in mineral pockets known as kimberlite pipes using pickaxes, bulldozers, and water hoses (Rudnicka et al., 2010).

These deposits may be deep beneath or close to the Earth's crust. The raw stones are then sold to nearby mineral dealers who polish, cut, and refine the diamond(s) if they have acceptable colour and Clarity before selling them directly to government-affiliated buying offices (Mattheysen & Clarkson, 2013).

After being graded and tested, the diamonds are often shipped to the United States, Hong Kong, and India (Surat), accounting for more than half of all imports worldwide (Garside, 2020). After being set into jewellery, the diamonds might be sold directly to customers or in bulk. From mine to ultimate sale, a single diamond is estimated to transit through twelve hands and traverse three borders ("The complete diamond...," 2017).

As a result, worldwide, the diamond business links nations and individuals. This collaboration has been crucial—and will continue to be crucial—for the organisation and administration of the diamond sector, as we shall cover in more detail.

Environmental Disaster

Blood diamonds are an environmental problem in addition to a humanitarian one. Without any cleanup attempts, the systematic mining of mineral deposits has left landscapes devoid of plant and fauna, resembling moonscapes. Chimonyo et al. (2013) report that roughly one-third of all African mining activities are situated in ecosystems and watersheds of significant ecological value. According to Chimonyo et al. (2013), the excavation of these sites has been connected to habitat loss and the disturbance of migratory pathways for rare animal and bird species.

According to a 2020 assessment by Galli et al., diamond mining regions accounted for up to 18% of all deforestation in Sierra Leone. This startling figure has been linked to the broad decline in biodiversity in Eastern Sierra Leone's Kono area (Wadsworth & Lebbie, 2019). Additionally, unregulated mining methods have resulted in the disposal of waste rock, or tailings, into pits and basins, some of which leak dangerous chemicals into the surrounding soil.

In addition to calcium, iron ore, and manganese, kimberlite tailings can occasionally include high concentrations of radioactive nuclides and hazardous metals (Van Rensburg & Maboeta, 2004).

Dumping sites have been identified as significant disruptors of the food chain and are recognised sources of pollution in the land and water (Van Rensburg & Maboeta, 2004). The seeming "flexibility" of land use and zoning laws exacerbates these consequences. Downsizing, degazettement, and downgrading of protected areas (PADDD) is a persistent issue in Africa (Mascia et al., 2013). Numerous reports exist regarding the devaluation of nature reserves to facilitate mining activities.

Two such instances include the Mount Namibia Biosphere Reserve (a World Heritage site) and Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park, reduced by 1500 hectares to increase mining activities (Chimonyo et al., 2013).

Uncontrolled mining activities not only cause ecological damage but also have significant effects on water quality and accessibility. A lot of flowing water is needed for the diamond extraction process. As a result, water is frequently taken from neighbouring rivers and towns. Silt and mineral residues in wells and reservoirs not only jeopardise access to water but also offer serious health risks (Chimonyo et al., 2013).

When considered collectively, these results imply that the effects of diamond mining go beyond humanitarian concerns. Through unregulated extraction, disposal, and zoning laws, the diamond mining industry threatens regional ecosystems and communities' stability.

The Kimberly Process: What Is It?

Even Now, the Diamond Trade Adds to Human Suffering.

Governments have united for over 20 years to put a stop to the trade in "blood diamonds," which was causing several horrific conflicts in Africa. They established a system of import and export restrictions for raw diamonds known as the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

However, it is now more evident than ever that the Kimberley Process is inadequate. Human rights abuses related to the diamond trade are still very much in existence. Consider the current situation in the eastern Zimbabwean Marange diamond fields.

Abuses such as forced labour have been inflicted on the locals living close to the diamond fields. Only two weeks ago, peasants got violent in protest of state-owned firms allegedly stealing diamond income. Three children were admitted to the hospital as a result of the residents' claims that security force members shot tear gas canisters, assaulted women with batons, and fired live rounds.

Many Marange inhabitants feel harassed by the authorities, who have designated the Marange community as a "protected area" and made it necessary for outsiders to obtain special permission to access. Several individuals have also been detained for not having identification documents that prove they live in Marange.

According to victims, Marange locals have been intimidated into not mining diamonds by private security guards employed by Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond firm, a diamond mining firm. "The watchman handcuffed me and my colleagues and ordered us to sit down," one of the miners said of his detention. We suffered serious injuries as they unleashed savage dogs on us, who attacked us for ten to fifteen minutes while they watched.

Unfortunately, it is still possible for diamonds contaminated by abuse—whether from Marange or elsewhere—to find their way into the international diamond market. This is the fault of governments and businesses involved in the diamond supply chain.

We all like stunning diamond necklaces, earrings, and rings made of gold, but not if the jewellery is made of blood diamonds. The Kimberly Process (KP) was implemented in 2003 to curb the supply of conflict diamonds. The KP, composed of businesses, civic society, and government agencies, began the difficult mission of preventing conflict diamonds from entering the market for raw diamonds.

An international certification programme was developed due to the Kimberly Process to curb the traffic of rough diamonds and promote legal diamond mining and selling. Customers may confidently buy certified conflict-free diamonds, knowing their funds won't be used to fuel violence and killing. Even greater efforts have been taken by miners and cutters to guarantee that the diamonds they produce are thoroughly scrutinised in the ten years since the Kimberly Process was completely formed.

The Kimberley Process is limited to stopping the trade in diamonds whose proceeds go to armed organisations, not oppressive regimes or their military forces. Therefore, it is not shocking that the Kimberley Process has approved the export of diamonds from Zimbabwe even though these stones were and still are mined in extremely abusive ways.

Governments have also failed to establish an impartial oversight mechanism to verify that the required customs restrictions are in place. Lastly, the Kimberley Process covers only raw diamonds; polished and partially cut stones are not included in the initiative's purview.

Additionally, businesses are obligated to refrain from aiding in human rights abuses. They must have mechanisms for due diligence in place to detect and address human rights issues throughout their supply chain.

However, a lot of businesses fall short of these requirements. Human Rights Watch recently examined 13 well-known jewellery and watch firms' diamond sourcing policies.

The group discovered that many businesses undervalue the hazards to human rights and don't know where their gold and diamonds originate. Furthermore, corporations that manufacture watches and jewellery frequently release scant information about handling threats to human rights in their supply chains.

The Kimberley Process should create an independent monitoring mechanism, guarantee stricter restrictions, and embrace a broader definition of "conflict diamonds" to combat abuses such as those seen in Marange and not simply full-scale warfare. Furthermore, it is imperative for jewellery firms, diamond merchants, cutters, and polishers to do thorough due diligence on human rights issues and to demand the same from their suppliers.

The mistreatment in Marange is a serious disgrace to the global diamond trade. Consumers purchase diamonds to represent love, not violence, and jewellery manufacturers should do something to end the pain.

Other Diamond Choices

The deliberateness with which LBJ sources its jewellery makes us unique. We prioritise the environment and supply chain communities when choosing where to acquire our diamonds and how they are mined. We carefully monitor the sources and origins of our diamond suppliers to ensure that only carefully chosen origins and mines are being utilised. Think of these Beyond Conflict-FreeTM diamonds as a substitute for missing gemstones.

Natural Diamonds Beyond Conflict FreeTM

The limited definition of conflict diamonds by the Kimberley Process only excludes gems that are not used to fund rebel activities. From when a stone is mined until sold, our Beyond Conflict FreeTM natural diamonds go above and beyond to guarantee that it is obtained sustainably and ethically. Since it doesn't include hazardous chemicals like gold mining, diamond mining is often less damaging to the environment than other forms of mining.

Natural Diamonds Beyond Conflict FreeTM

Despite this, there are still significant environmental dangers. However, the effects of diamond mining may be reduced with careful planning and control. Although the habitat in the Canadian Arctic is extremely delicate, strict regulations are in place to safeguard the environment.

Environmental protections in diamond mines have also been successfully implemented in Namibia and Botswana. Rehabilitating environments that have been impacted by diamond mining is another option. After mining activities, land rehabilitation is planned in Canada, Namibia, and Botswana. Land restoration enhances the environment even in Sierra Leone's Kono district, where it was previously believed that the land was irreparably damaged.

Local communities collaborate with foreign partners to replenish lost topsoil, restore native species, and fill in mining holes. To aid these efforts, the LBJ Foundation has provided funding for land restoration initiatives in the Kono district, which has helped revitalise the local ecology and open up formerly mined areas for fruitful cultivation.

Lab-Grown Diamonds

A conflict-free jewel is guaranteed when it comes to lab-grown diamonds. They are a morally and environmentally friendly substitute for real diamonds with the same physical, chemical, and visual properties. However, there is no standard in the diamond business to guarantee ethical lab-grown diamond manufacture. To guarantee secure and hygienic working conditions at our lab manufacturers, we thus developed our standard.

LBJ is leading the lab industry by employing the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) to confirm compliance with the LBJ Supplier Code of Conduct.

Lab-created diamond rings are the ideal choice if you enjoy the concept of conflict-free diamond jewellery. Since there is no mining involved, the diamonds are undoubtedly conflict-free. You might discover lab-grown diamond jewellery as stunning as earth-mined diamonds, making lab-made diamonds a fantastic substitute. The physical and molecular composition is identical, and only a specialist can distinguish between them!

Although lab-grown and earth-mined diamonds have similar appearances, they differ in price. Lab-grown diamond jewellery, such as rings, is more reasonably priced. We are pleased to announce that lab-grown diamonds are safe for the environment and widely accessible.

Online retailers of diamond jewellery, like LBJ, have an amazing selection of products. You won't be let down whether you're searching for a gorgeous wedding band, diamond earrings, or an engagement ring made of diamonds.

Honestly MagnificentTM Diamonds

The diamonds in the LBJ collection, natural and lab-created, are carefully selected to ensure that superior traceability and sustainability are balanced. We take great pride in our suppliers' eco-friendly production processes of natural and lab-created diamonds. These methods, which lessen our influence on the environment and encourage ethical diamond sourcing, include using renewable energy and green building construction.

Reputable brands embrace diamonds free from Conflict.

A trustworthy jewellery company would never use blood diamonds—this immoral and unlawful practice is not generally disapproved! Thanks to regulations and legislation enacted by local governments, conflict diamonds are thankfully becoming harder to find these days. Administrators inspect diamond mining closely, monitoring working conditions and ensuring trade regulations are followed to guarantee moral behaviour.

What Industry Changes Can Be Expected From LBJ's Beyond Conflict FreeTM Diamonds?

Less than 1% of natural diamond suppliers globally achieve our requirements for sustainability and responsibility, indicating that our Beyond Conflict FreeTM natural diamonds continue to surpass industry norms. We can establish a more moral, open, and caring industry thanks to our suppliers, innovative blockchain technology, and various diamond-sourcing methods.

Choose Your Diamond Sources

We carefully pick our natural diamonds from authorised mines in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, and Canada to guarantee that they adhere to strict social and environmental criteria. These nations are classified as low- or moderate-risk because they have stable social and economic systems.

Blockchain Technology Revolution

We think supply chain traceability will be dominated by blockchain technology in the future. We can offer our clients a digital asset with comprehensive information on the origin and travel of each diamond by employing this state-of-the-art technology. Our blockchain-enabled diamonds provide complete transparency and peace of mind from the mining operator to the end user.

Genuinely SparklingTM Natural Diamonds

We are proud that our suppliers of lab-created and naturally occurring diamonds employ sustainable manufacturing methods. These methods, which lessen our influence on the environment and encourage ethical diamond sourcing, include using renewable energy and green building construction.

Questions to Put to Your Jeweller

Trustworthy jewellers will always make the time to respond to your enquiries. Before making a purchase, consider the following:

Do the jewels have a diamond conflict-free certification?

Look for a jeweller who exclusively offers conflict-free diamonds for sale. Ideally, they should have written guarantees from suppliers of diamonds attesting to the fact that the diamonds were acquired lawfully.

Who is the diamond certifier?

Choose conflict-free diamonds that the Kimberly Process has verified to guarantee no connection between rebel organisations and your new diamond necklace, earrings, or other jewellery.

IGI/GIA certification: Is it required?

Research and lab services are carried out by the independent, non-profit Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The GIA is well known for its precise diamond grading. In Asia and Europe, the International Gemological Institute provides a comparable service.

Are There Free Returns/Exchanges at The LBJ?

Purchasing from a company that provides free returns and exchanges is always a good idea. If you're unsatisfied with your purchase, call and let us exchange your unique piece of jewellery. https://www.luxurybrandjewellery.com.au

FAQs on Blood Diamonds

Do Blood Diamonds Exist?

Indeed. Even if today's sourcing restrictions have put off many diamond wars, the Kimberley Process's flaws probably mean blood diamonds are still available for purchase.

How do Blood Diamonds finance Conflict?

According to the World Diamond Council, rebel organisations are attempting to topple the authority in their area, illicitly mining, stealing, and transporting conflict diamonds. They can enlarge and arm their fights against the government, including the recruitment of young soldiers and more acts of terrorism, with gratitude for the money raised from the sale of these gems.

Is Blood Diamond a pricey material?

Blood diamonds may range in price from $50,000 to $100 million per carat. These diamonds' rarity, Clarity, carat weights, colour range, and initial creation all affect how much they cost.

Do Blood Diamonds And Conflict Diamonds Mean The Same Thing?

Indeed. Blood diamonds and conflict diamonds, according to the UN, both refer to stones that were extracted from war-torn regions and sold to fund rebel organisations that have the power to ruin individuals' quality of life at home completely.

Are Blood Diamonds Prohibited?

Sure, in many other nations, as well as the US. Blood diamonds do not comply with United Nations sourcing guidelines, US legislation governing the Clean Diamond Trade Act, or Kimberley Process certification and ban laws.

Are Blood Diamonds Prohibited?

What Makes Blood Diamonds a Problem?

The fact that blood diamonds are mined in conflict areas and sold to fund armed battles against governments makes them problematic. These diamonds' earnings are frequently utilised to finance heinous violent crimes, such as child soldiers, forced labour, and other human rights abuses.

By Whom Does Blood Diamonds Affect?

The diamond trade has been connected to escalating hostilities in nations including Angola, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo within the last ten years. There is a global push to control the diamond trade and stop the sale of conflict diamonds since the sale of blood diamonds has added to the instability and misery in these areas.