Diamonds have been used as decorative items since ancient times; they are highly valued and treasured in many cultures and countries around the world. Diamonds are also a symbol of wealth, eternal love, and commitment. Despite the various representations of these symbols and theirhave a significant value, approximately fifteen to twenty percent of diamonds are mined via small scale alluvial mines. These mines employ and an estimated one million Africans who alluvial diamond miners earn less than a dollar a day. The mining process is also very labor-intensive, dangerous and harmful tofor the environment. Consumers should take responsibility due to thesethe environmental and ethical concerns and avoid buying diamonds that come from unethical sources and instead focusing on other alternative purchasing options such as lab-grown diamonds, Canadian diamonds, and recycled diamonds.
Efforts such as the Kimberley Process to prevent ‘conflict diamonds’ (diamonds that are sold to fund rebels and conflicts) from entering the market proved to have many issuesflaws and loopholes. There are two main flaws with the Kimberley Process. First, the Kimberley Process limited scope and narrow terms of certification focus solely on the mining and distribution of conflict diamonds only, without regard to the human rights and environmental concerns. Many organizations such as Human Rights Watch are in agreementhave also argued the same thing that the Kimberley Process is too narrow in its scope and does not serve to eliminate other environmental and human rights concerns. Second, the Kimberley Process only tracks batches of diamonds as opposed to an individual one. Due to the board nature of the diamon trackingBecause it only tracks batches of diamonds, the process is easily circumvented by smugglers whoto slip diamonds into the market.
The Kimberley Process is simply not enough tosimply doesn’t ensure that diamonds are mined ethically with respect to the environment and human rights. Thus, in many diamond mines all over the world, children are forced to work, (often in hazardous working conditions), which preventsed them from attending school. Some mines are also used by terrorist groups to raise money for rebellious activities. In other mines, wildlife has vanished, topsoil has eroded, and land once suitable for farming is now a desolate moonscape. The mining pits have created a public health disaster as well. When the pits are filled with stagnant rainwater, they become infested with mosquitoes, spreading malaria and other water-borne diseases.
There are many solutions to this problem. One solution to the problem is not buying any diamonds at all. However, for those who want to buy diamonds, some alternative options for purchasing include buying Canadian diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, and recycled diamonds. Canadian diamonds are stronglystrictly regulated with strict environmental and fair labor laws. Recycled diamonds are simply re-cut and re-polished natural diamonds; and also because theserecycled diamonds are natural diamonds, they are as valuable as natural diamonds. WAnd while some may argue that lab-grown diamonds are not as worthy asexactly natural diamonds, theylab-grown diamonds are optically, chemically and physically identical as natural diamonds and are often cheaper as whell than natural diamonds.
In conclusion, the process of mining for natural diamonds is a major issue,big problem both ethically and environmentally in many places. However, there are severalmany alternative options to natural diamonds such as recycled diamonds, Canadian diamonds, and lab-grown diamonds. And the responsibility to solve this problem falls into the hands of consumers. Consumers need to take this responsibility seriously and take action against unethical diamonds in order to make this world a better place.