One of the main questions we face here at Marlow’s Diamonds is regarding blood diamonds, and how to remain certain that the investment you are making is not funding war criminals in some of the world’s poorest countries. Fortunately, one of our main policies is to ensure that every diamond we stock is ethically sourced – we are staunchly and actively against the exploitation of people and indeed the misuse of legitimate business to supply criminals with huge amounts of revenue.

Below, we go through a few of the integral features both we the retailer and you the customer should keep in mind when looking into purchasing some of the world’s most beautiful stones.

Free from violence, not just civil wars

While many people have the devastating civil war in Sierra Leone in their minds as the main source of what are now commonly known as ‘blood diamonds’, it’s a common misconception that these types of conflict are the only source of illicit gems across the world. As you can imagine, in countries where wealth is not so evenly spread there is still much in the way of diamond-related violence that retailers and potential customers must be wary of when it comes to their purchase.

Diamond mines need to be recognised as violence-free zones, and this can be determined by the strict labour and environmental standards that have been laid out by the industry. How does a diamond receive this status? Numerous factors such as the avoidance of child labour, fair wage standards and working conditions that are safe and secure all play a huge part in the obtaining of this status.

Due to the scrutiny the industry has been under for the past two decades or so, modern mining companies take serious care to avoid any significant environmental harm and, in many cases, invest money to maintain local ecosystems.

So where should the diamonds come from?

Canada have long been touted as the most ethically-sourced diamonds in the world. Due to Western work and trade standards, all mining companies deal with the same strict labour standards that apply to every industry – meaning as retailers and customers we have no grounds to consider their practices illegitimate. Companies involved in the industry in Canada work extremely closely with the indigenous communities that live in the surrounding areas, and have been known to invest large sums into the protection of the Arctic environment.

Onto more traditional diamond ground, Botswana and Namibia are considered to be the two African countries that have made exemplary efforts to ensure that their diamond revenues are used for worthy and proper causes. Both countries advocate the use of a percentage of their profits to fund local education, healthcare and general infrastructure – something that in turn helps raise the general standard of living for all citizens of the countries. Namibia and Botswana are fiercely proud that their diamonds are mined in violence-free conditions and have done much to restore the reputation of the African diamond trade.

What countries are best to avoid?

Unfortunately, for all the work Botswana and Namibia have done to rebuild confidence in the continent’s trade, there are still a number of countries that must be avoided when it comes to the purchase of diamonds.

Any products you witness from Angola and Zimbabwe are intrinsically linked to the widespread killings, corruption, torture and enforced labour that is endemic in the current societies of the two countries, and therefore any diamonds that are exported will fund – directly or indirectly – these acts to continue. Similarly, diamonds from the Cote d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) must be treated with equal disdain; a lengthy civil conflict is being fuelled largely on the proceeds from their lucrative gem industry.

Quality Control

Despite many suggestions on the contrary, ethically sourced diamonds do not sacrifice anything in quality in order to adhere to international labour standards. In the countries mentioned positively above, the stones that they export are of the highest calibre and are purchased by high-end retailers the world over – they are indeed known for their exceptional quality and should be treated as such when debating a purchase.

On an individual scale, the parameters are different – instead determined by objective characteristics such as colour, carat, weight and clarity. As a rule, anything over 0.30 carats should be cross-checked by an independent lab who will issue their own grading report, just to double check the rating is correct.

How do I purchase ethically sourced diamonds?

When making a diamond purchase, it is absolutely imperative you are sure you are making your purchase from a retailer with a reputation for endorsing violence-free stones. Here at Marlow’s Diamonds, we are proud to have only ever stocked diamonds we are one hundred percent sure have been mined ethically and for this reason we have built up a loyal client base over the years, all of whom have been impressed with our commitment to quality and our ideology.

We believe that investing in a stone as precious and as meaningful as a diamond, there shouldn’t be any strands of doubt attached to the purchase. You need to be positive that everyone involved in the supply chain has been treated fairly, and that is something that we can guarantee.

For more information on blood diamonds and how to avoid them, be sure to contact one of our team and we’ll do our best to enlighten you even further.