Brilliant Earth is a leading supplier of conflict-free diamond jewelry. The company was built and founded on the principle that jewelers must operate ethically by refusing to purchase blood diamonds. To this end, Brilliant Earth developed its “Beyond Conflict Free” policy.
Most ethical jewelers subscribe to the Kimberley Process definition of conflict-free diamonds. This term refers to diamonds that have not been used to finance rebel movements against a recognized government. Unfortunately, this definition is rather narrow and leaves room for other forms of violence to take place, including human rights abuses, unsafe and unfair labor practices, and destruction of the environment.
Brilliant Earth recognizes the flaws in the characterization of conflict-free diamonds, and so they mandated that they would only use diamonds that met specific criteria. Therefore, Brilliant Earth diamonds must originate from mines that do not perpetuate human rights abuses, engage in fair and safe labor practices, work to minimize environmental degradation, and support their community.
Origins of Brilliant Earth Diamonds
Brilliant Earth diamonds originate from specific mine operations that have demonstrated their commitment to following internationally recognized trade, labor, and environmental standards. Therefore, their diamonds come from either Canada, Botswana Sort, or Russia. Additionally, they source diamonds from South Africa and Namibia, but most Brilliant Earth reviews only mention Botswana Sort.
Brilliant Earth mainly sources its Canadian diamonds from the Diavik and Ekati mines. These mines have a reputation for being committed to strengthening human rights and environmental standards. Additionally, both mines hire local Indigenous people, offer a skilled apprenticeship program, and sponsor scholarship funds.
The Ekati mine demonstrates its environmental stewardship through several initiatives, including the Wildlife Effects Monitoring Program, Aquatic Effects Monitoring Program, Air Quality, and Emissions Monitoring Program, and the Reclamation and Closure Program. However, the Diavik mine took a different route to preserve the environment. They decided to build the first large-scale wind farm in the Northwest Territories. This farm can supply half the mine’s energy needs.
Botswana Sort, South Africa, and Namibia Mines
These diamonds come from mines that follow internationally recognized environmental and labor standards.
In particular, in Botswana, diamond mining has helped transform Botswana into one of Africa’s most prosperous countries. Fortunately, the government has seen fit to reinvest this wealth into the betterment of the country. For example, revenue from diamond mines gets used for investments in healthcare, infrastructure, and education in Botswana. Additionally, these mines have shown a deep commitment to reducing their environmental footprint by monitoring their impact and rehabilitating mining sites after use.
Diamonds from Russia come from the Yakutia region of northeast Siberia and the Arkhangelsk region along the White Sea coast.
Diamond mining in these regions helps to provide thousands of jobs to local residents. Furthermore, the majority of mining employees earn wages much higher than the average Russian. Additionally, mining staff receive health care and housing benefits as well as pensions.
While Russia’s geopolitical role is somewhat controversial, the mining communities of these regions are its economic lifeblood, and they help finance social infrastructure projects.
Lab-created or synthetic diamonds are crafted in a highly controlled laboratory environment using technological processes that closely simulate the conditions under which diamonds naturally develop. As a result, lab-created diamonds exhibit the same chemical, optical, and physical characteristics as naturally-derived diamonds. Furthermore, they are just as beautifully scintillating and sparkly as mined diamonds.
The major benefit to choosing a lab-created diamond is that there can be absolutely no qualms about the ethics of its sourcing. Additionally, they are 100% eco-friendly and economical.
Brilliant Earth offers lab-created diamonds in an array of colors, cuts, and qualities. You can either add a lab-created diamond to a customized ring setting or purchase a pre-made jewelry piece.
What Does Beyond Conflict-Free Mean for You, the Consumer?
As we’ve already established, purchasing a diamond from Brilliant Earth means that you’re supporting the ethically sourced diamond trade rather than the blood and conflict diamond trade. But what exactly does this mean?
To begin with, it means that you’re helping to improve the diamond mining and exploration industry.
The more people that purchase beyond conflict-free diamonds, the more the diamond industry will have to improve its conditions. As sales of ethically sourced diamonds increase, this will prompt a drop in the sales of conflict diamonds. As a result, diamond suppliers will have no choice but to improve their mining and exploration methods. So don’t be discouraged by the idea that one person can’t make a difference. However, every sale that doesn’t go to the blood diamond industry helps bring about change.
Another thing to keep in mind when considering becoming a Brilliant Earth customer is that Brilliant Earth donates five percent of its profits to support mining communities. This money goes towards education, economic development, and environmental conservation efforts.
For instance, Brilliant Earth has used its donations to help build community centers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They’ve also given leadership training to youths in South Africa.
Besides the fact that buying from Brilliant Earth reduces the sale of blood and conflict diamonds, it also helps improve the environment. This is because Brilliant Earth’s beyond conflict-free mandate includes the minimization of environmental degradation. Additionally, Brilliant Earth uses recycled gold and platinum in the construction of its jewelry. In fact, according to their website, the recycled content of their jewelry amounts to 98% recycled gold, 98% recycled silver, 95% recycled platinum, and 76% recycled palladium. In this way, Brilliant Earth is helping to reduce the impact that precious metal mining has on the environment.
Last but certainly not least, by buying ethically sourced diamonds, you’re taking a moral stance against the sale of blood diamonds. It’s easy to ignore the fact that your diamond was used to finance criminal, military activity, or inflict human rights abuses because most people buy diamonds so infrequently. However, by choosing Brilliant Earth, you show support for people affected by conflict diamond mining and take a stance against the abuse they have suffered.