How to Tell Whether Jewelry is Ethically Sourced
Why Ethical Jewelry?
In recent years, it’s become much easier to be an ethical consumer. We know to buy organic or local when it comes to food. We know to check the label to find out if products are tested on animals. But with jewelry, it’s not always as cut and dry to tell if you are buying items that are socially responsible.
The term “blood diamond” carries a heavy weight in modern culture and a majority of consumers will go out of their way to purchase “conflict free” diamonds in order to avoid funding human rights violations in war-torn, diamond-mining countries.
Luckily, many jewelers and diamond retailers are making the origins of their products more transparent to customers who want ethical sourcing guarantees, which is great news for those of us concerned about our impact on the diamond trade.
So how can we know for sure that the jewelry we purchase is ethical and conflict free?
The most important first step is to do your research and know what you are looking for. Jewelers who offer conflict free diamonds will be able to answer your questions regarding ethically sourced gems and gemstone certification. They should also have information about the precious metals used in their jewelry. Often, jewelers will have this information available on their website.
Buying conflict free starts with the Kimberly Process, a certification program designed to prevent diamond mining from funding conflict. However, this program has limitations, as it doesn’t necessarily address the issues surrounding conflict diamonds such as child labor and environmental destruction.
If you are committed to buying ethically, you will have to dig deeper. Asking questions about the sourcing of your gems and metals will allow you to make an educated, socially responsible purchase.
Here are some helpful things to look for and questions to ask when you are shopping for ethical jewelry:
Check the origins.
Avoid diamonds that come from Zimbabwe, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, and Liberia. Instead look for diamonds mined in Canada, Botswana, Namibia, or Sierre Leone where stricter standards are enforced.
Ask to see certification.
To know the true history of your diamond, you will want to see the diamond’s System of Warranties. Reviewing a diamond’s documentation will help to ensure your diamond or gemstone was sourced ethically.
Beware of vague answers.
Asking your jeweler how they can guarantee that their gems are conflict free should illicit information about labor laws, environmental conditions and certifications in the history and sourcing of a specific diamond. A retailer should have their company policy on ethical sourcing readily available for their customers.
Any jeweler who does not have this information or insists that they “wouldn’t sell you a questionable diamond” or that a conflict free can’t be 100% guaranteed should be avoided.
Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions.
What are your ethical sourcing standards?
Where can I find your company policies on diamond sourcing?
Where are your diamonds mined?
Can you track the origins of your diamonds?
Do you stand by your diamonds ethical standards and can you back it up with documentation?
At Icing On The Ring, we are committed to providing high-quality, ethically sourced diamonds. We also provide options for diamond alternatives such as precious gemstones, moissanite, and Evertrue lab grown diamonds. We’re happy to discuss your options and find jewelry that is up to your responsible buying standards.
Learn more about our diamonds.