Jewelry shoppers are more concerned than ever before about the goods they buy. Like many luxury items, diamonds & gemstones often come from less developed parts of the world, and conscious buyers (and jewelers) can make an impact on the sustainable and responsible growth of the jewelry trade.
The diamond industry alone supports an estimated 10 million people worldwide, making it a major source of income for workers and their families in diamond-producing countries, jewelry artisans, manufacturers, and retailers. It’s important for all of these that safeguards are in place for ensuring quality and sustainability.
What is the Kimberly Process?
In recent years, professional jewelers collaborated with governments to stop the misuse in some African countries of precious resources that provide vital sustenance for so many. The Kimberly Process, established in 2003, has corrected the process of diamond trading so that rough diamonds cannot be exported from any country without a unique serial number attached to a tamper-proof package. Diamond imports are not allowed through any national border without this certification, and professional jewelers require evidence of the “system of warranties” before any diamond transactions. Governments in 74 countries now regulate the import & export of diamonds in alliance with the World Diamond Council, to ensure that goods from non-compliant countries or suppliers never reach the market, and that the diamond trade in developing countries maintains fair standards for workers.
Impacting the World
Approximately 65% of diamonds on the market – representing a value of $8.5 million – originate in Africa. In countries like Botswana, where diamonds were discovered a year after national independence, this revenue now supports huge social advances including free public education for all children through age 13. Thanks to their rich diamond resources, they have emerged from a third-world country to having one of the fastest-growing GDP’s in the world. In some countries, diamond mining companies were among the first to provide free HIV/AIDS treatment programs for their employees, and produce vital funding for prevention & treatment clinics in AIDS-stricken communities. As the living standards and quality of education improves in rural regions, diamond-producing countries are becoming better equipped to manage their natural resources, empowering young people with skilled job training and building local economies.
The way diamonds and other precious gems are mined and processed is changing – and it has a huge impact on growing African towns & communities. Learn more: Sharing the Rough
In India alone, diamond processing employs over 1 million people. Because so much of the diamond’s worth is in the quality of its cut, hubs for the precision science of diamond cutting & grading in several countries, including Belgium and Israel, experience a demand for specialized tech jobs. And since natural, gem-quality diamonds are a relatively small percentage of all diamond finds, the overall value continues to rise.
Diamonds from the Independent Jeweler
Independent jewelers (that’s us!) follow strict guidelines about the precious goods they buy, to ensure that they come from responsibly-sourced origins. They operate within exclusive buying groups holding to the most stringent standards, often buying directly from the source. Quality assurance and real value are the top priorities, because that’s what gives such meaning and worth to the precious jewels shared with loved ones, and passed down through generations.
The timeless pursuit of pulling something ancient and precious from the earth, and crafting it into a valuable treasure, is what sets fine diamonds apart from anything man-made. This chain that links the hard work of people from all walks of life, around the globe, is meant to be protected and wisely cherished – just like the heirloom that is passed down through generations or the diamond ring that represents a promise of forever.