Known as “blood” or conflict diamonds, the not-so-precious gemstone market financed the killing of hundreds of thousands of Africans and was engineered by an elaborate propaganda campaign launched by one white supremacist, Cecil Rhodes.
This is how the world came to believe the lie that “diamonds are forever...”
Rhodes, a British businessman whose company De Beers Diamond Cartel controlled the global diamond trade, convinced couples of the world that diamonds (which are neither rare nor exceptionally valuable) signified love and romance.
The world took the bait and spent decades indirectly funding arms purchases in bloody civil wars across Sierra Leone, Angola, and five other African nations.
There’s now a way to shop for your jewels responsibly, but it’s not without flaws.
Countries like Botswana do insist that no violence or harsh working conditions are permitted in their mining and selling process, and the Kimberley Process, a certification process meant to reassure consumers of a conflict-free diamond purchase, made its debut in 2003.
Still, even a “conflict-free” label can’t reassure you that fair labor practices are used and human rights are being respected.
In light of this, we can drive change by purchasing lab-created diamonds instead.
Whether you choose to sport bling or not, there is no reason to flaunt the blood of our brothers and sisters around our necks, wrists, ears, and fingers.