"Ethical Metalsmiths recommends that jewellers interested in using diamonds in their jewellery carefully consider the sourcing of these stones. There are a variety of diamond sourcing options available from conventional to lab grown and every jeweler needs to decide which sourcing option suits their needs best." Christine Miller
1. Conventionally sourced diamonds: these are newly mined and have no traceability structure in place. In the U.S. "Diamond Certificates" have nothing to do with traceability, but are designed as a "blueprint" to describe the stone (size, carat, cut, color and clarity). As a generally policy, not know the provenance of a diamond not good practice.
2. Kimberley Process certified: The Kimberly process was established with the intention to prevent conflict minerals from entering the supply chain, but Kimberley certification has recently come under scrutiny and is no longer a trusted certification.
- http://www.globalwitness.org/campaigns/conflict/conflict-diamonds/kimberley-process (Global Witness is located in London and Washington, D.C.)
3. Forevermark Diamonds: These diamonds are part of an elite line of DeBeers diamonds and have only been recently introduced to the market. "Beautiful, Rare, Responsibly Sourced, Inscribed" http://www.forevermarkdiamond.com/us/discover/forevermark-promise http://www.forevermarkdiamond.com/us/discover/responsible-sourcing
- Certified by: http://www.mining.sgs.com/en
4. Vintage, Used, "Post-consumer" Diamonds: In many ways sourcing diamonds that have already had a life with someone offer a great alternative to buying conventionally sourced diamonds, of which is my prefered method of reuse, revamp, recycle. At this time however no studies have been done to determine whether or not using recycled diamonds is affecting the demand for newly mined diamonds. Another thing to consider is that in some parts of the world diamond mining provides a critical source of income for poor communities, of which is their only source of income. Jewelers can use stones that clients provide, especially if the original certificate for the stone was kept (to assure that it really is a diamond). The Jeweller or dealer can also assist by offering buying services to clients for vintage or post-consumer rings available that include diamonds (again with proper paperwork) and then re-sell these pieces of jewelry. Some suppliers are beginning to offer loose "post-consumer" diamonds for purchase to be incorporated into new designs. In the US, Hoover and Strong has started offering this service: http://www.hooverandstrong.com/category/Hoover+&+Strong%27s+Loose+Diamond+Program/
Ethical Metalsmiths has not investigated Hoover and Strong's "HARMONY Diamonds" and is therefore unable to comment on their product or process.
5. Synthetic Diamonds: These are diamonds that are manufactured in a laboratory from carbon and other minerals and is being described by companies such as "Diamond Nexus" (http://www.diamondnexus.com/) as "a diamond simulant is a revolutionary coated crystal that near to perfectly recreates the optical and physical properties of an earth-mined diamond."
Synthetic diamonds to provide ultimate traceability. While this process essentially creates a diamond without mining it does require energy use in the form of heat to produce the crystals and it relies on raw materials mining to source the ingredients in the first place. And so the process of tracing needs to be in-place for working conditions of the raw materials.
Diamond simulants have not yet been evaluated in ways that would facilitate a comparison between simulant creation energy expenditure and related "costs" in the mining process. More jewelers are excited about this diamond option, because they appreciate that the resulting product hasn't been mined.
Other companies include:
6. Fair trade Diamonds: Currently there are no sources of "fair trade certified" diamonds available. There are initiatives in place that are exploring these options and a lable that consumers recognise. Fair trade could become an ethical model for sourcing diamonds from various diamond rich areas of the world. Fair trade as an economic and development concept, that aims to improve the lives of miners and their communities. The fair trade concept is typically reserved for miners working on the artisanal and small-scale. Fair trade products cost more because a percentage of the price goes directly back to the communities for development programs of their choice. Diamond miners who would meet fair trade standards would have to comply with and guarantee that certain social and environmental safeguards are in place.
Current Fair trade initiatives:
Rapaport Fair Trade: http://www.diamonds.net/fairtrade/About.aspx
Fairtrade International: http://www.fairtrade.net/
Ask your jeweller if buying a diamond, on what method of sourcing they use. Or even revamp your vintage family treasures if it is not to your taste. This will hold a value other diamonds cannot compare to due to the sentimental value of its history personal to you.