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May 04, 2023
Diamonds
Blood Diamonds

At Novita Diamonds, we have previously discussed the devastating impact of Blood Diamonds on the planet and its inhabitants. However, it's crucial to shine a light on how some well-known brands deceive eco-conscious customers by marketing "Conflict-Free Diamonds," which are nothing but Blood Diamonds in disguise. This dishonest practice not only undermines the emerging sustainability movement but is also unethical and damaging to the diamond industry's reputation. It creates mistrust among customers and hinders the efforts of young companies like ours, who strive to modernize the industry by adopting ethical and sustainable practices. Above all, customers have the right to know whether their hard-earned money is contributing to the destruction of land and the suffering of people. It's imperative to bring awareness to these underhanded practices and make the diamond industry more transparent and accountable. 

WHAT ARE BLOOD DIAMONDS 

 

Understanding the devastating impact of Blood Diamonds is crucial to comprehend the gravity of the companies' actions. Blood Diamonds are named so because they come at the cost of miners' blood, who are mainly enslaved victims of war in conflict-ridden countries like Congo and Sierra Leone. Brutal warlords lead loosely held paramilitaries who capture villagers and force them at gunpoint to mine diamonds until they die of exhaustion. The cash generated from selling mined diamonds is used by these warlords to purchase military equipment, which helps them retain power and continue their campaign of terror, including rape, murder, genocide, and ethnic cleansing.

It's a common question to wonder who profits from the existence of conflict diamonds. Unfortunately, the answer is that everyone from large diamond industry players to small cutters and miners are invested in keeping the cycle going. Slave labour is used in conflict regions to mine these diamonds, and it is incredibly cheap for the warlords and paramilitaries who use it. They sell the diamonds at low prices, which allows these groups to make a profit while causing tremendous harm to the environment and violating human rights. This makes the entire industry complicit in the destruction of the planet and the misery of many people in conflict regions.

Despite the growing concern for sustainability and increasing consumer awareness, the issue of Blood Diamonds persists. Many may assume that the industry has made significant strides towards resolving the issue. However, Blood Diamonds have merely shifted from the spotlight and rebranded themselves as ethically mined diamonds to continue their trade.

THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH 

Major diamond companies claim that all their mined diamonds are ethically sourced and "Conflict-Free Diamonds." But if this were true, warlords and paramilitaries in Africa would no longer have funds and the exploitation of vulnerable people, including children, would be decreasing. However, the situation is worsening. Illegal mining and exploitation are increasing rapidly. The "Conflict-Free Diamonds" label is merely a marketing tactic to hide the ugly truth of the mined diamond industry. This is a concentrated effort to appeal to responsible consumers.

The idea that 'Conflict-Free Diamonds' are a better alternative to Blood Diamonds is a misconception that brands are trying to sell to conscious customers. In reality, they are merely Blood Diamonds with improved marketing. While brands claim that their diamonds undergo rigorous audits to ensure ethical sourcing and fair treatment of workers, insiders in the industry reveal that this is far from the truth. In fact, it is common knowledge that these audits and certifications are often fake and are used to deceive customers into paying a premium for diamonds that are just as unethical as Blood Diamonds. The diamond industry has a long history of prioritizing profit over social responsibility, and the promotion of 'Conflict-Free Diamonds' is just the latest example of this.

Blood Diamonds entering the global supply chain are not a rare occurrence but rather a result of the coordinated efforts of players in the diamond industry and corrupt government officials paid to turn a blind eye. India, where over 90% of the world's mined diamonds are polished, is deliberately bottlenecking the process, making it easy to mix in Blood Diamonds with other diamonds. Although India used to be the least preferred choice for diamond polishing, it has since shifted to becoming almost the only choice. The reason for India's dominance is not its labor costs but its corrupt system, which allows the diamond industry to engage in illicit activities. Diamond suppliers, polishers, and government inspectors are willing to overlook any wrongdoing as long as they receive their share of the profits, making it difficult to differentiate between ethical and unethical diamonds.

In India, diamonds are delivered for processing in packets which consist of thousands of diamonds having varying quality. The polishing houses then unpack the parcels and pour the diamonds into an enormous bowl, resulting in a massive pile of diamonds of different origins. After the polishing process is completed and the graded diamonds are sent out, it becomes impossible to determine the origin of any particular diamond as they are composed of a single element, carbon, like other elements such as silver, gold, or iron. No chemical or physical tests are capable of disclosing the origin of a diamond. This is because a diamond discovered by an individual in Congo is chemically identical to a diamond that has been excavated by mammoth machines in Russia.

To put it simply, any assertion by jewelers that their diamonds are ecologically responsible is absolutely false. Although they might boast about endorsements from charitable organizations, the reality is that certifications claiming that a diamond was mined from a 'Conflict-Free' mine, such as one in Botswana, are a well-crafted fabrication. A certified diamond could easily come from a conflict area in Congo, and it would be undetectable. Even if a jeweler declares they have a rigorous 'Chain of Custody,' it is not economically feasible to handle diamonds one-by-one, with an inspector supervising every step. Moreover, more than 90% of the world's diamonds are polished in massive quantities, thousands at a time, in a region where law and oversight are optional.

It may seem blunt, but the reality is that any businesses or individuals involved, even indirectly, in the purchasing and selling of mined diamonds are responsible for the continued existence of Blood Diamonds, which have resulted in the deaths and sufferings of innocents, as well as the catastrophic loss of nature. Primate species such as the eastern lowland gorilla, and various other creatures, are on the brink of extinction due to the deforestation required for mining. A company that sells 'conflict-free' mined diamonds cannot be fully dedicated to ethics and sustainability, because the only diamonds that are genuinely conflict-free, beyond any doubt, are produced in a laboratory by expert scientists.

Despite our diligent efforts at NOVITA to identify and guarantee sources of ethically mined diamonds, we were ultimately unable to find any, leading us to conclude that no mined diamond is genuinely ethical. We could not, in good faith, continue to have any association with the mined diamond sector and risk selling even a single Blood Diamond to our customers. Therefore, NOVITA Diamonds was compelled to deal exclusively with lab grown diamonds, which offer customers the power to make informed purchasing decisions. We strongly believe that our customers should not be unwitting supporters of an industry that thrives on corruption and indifference towards the suffering of countless innocents.