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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Blood Diamonds, how do you know if you are being sold one in reality?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21515 points ) May 9th, 2010

How do you know that there are not any bodies on your diamonds when you purchase a ring with a diamond in it? Sierra Leone and other places in that region that has Blood Diamonds have to be selling them somewhere. It is like the Japanese and their whaling, there is suppose to be a ban in them but they Japanese still whale because there is still money to be made doing it. Even though we are more partial to emeralds to find a sizable emerald that also has few flaws is much harder to find than diamonds in spite of the price, but if there is any diamonds in the engagement and wedding ring how can I really be sure it has no Blood Diamonds in it and there are no bodies on it? They are still mining them and fighting over them and they would not be if there were nor profit in them, so who or where are they selling them and how are they not making there way into the legitimate diamond market?

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28 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

You do not know, just as you do not know if the shoes you are buying were not produced with child slaves in The People’s Republic of China.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Sadly there is no definitive test has been developed. This article in Sciece News has a good description of what has been tried.
In 2003, the Kimberley Process was implemented. You can look up Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). It basically makes a paper trail to certify the diamond’s origin. Can it be faked? You decide.
In recent years the Naval Research Lab developed a way to fingerprint diamonds via phosphorescence. That method might work in the future.

The only sure way to not contribute is to have an existing stone reset.

susanc's avatar

Maybe we should be insisting on rubies for engagement rings. They come from Burma, a very p.c. country.
Just kidding. I really think that where there’s rich stuff to be found underground, somebody’s going to get hurt. We bought a fake emerald, though not for this reason – more because we were poor.
But it did the job.

MissA's avatar

In reality, you don’t know, unless you’re there when it’s mined!

A lot of diamonds are being ‘grown’ in labs now. I’m interested in whether the phosphorescence technique will help differentiate between mined and lab stones. If I understand correctly, it will. But, will the individual consumer have a way to inexpensively know the truth?

There’s unimaginable amounts of money and power at stake, which means that there is a magnanimous force opposing “truth in diamond trading”. If everyone stopped purchasing them, that might make a difference. But, as long as sporting a large rock on one’s hand is synonymous with “He loves me, SEE?” that’s not going to happen,

I don’t hold a lot of faith in certificates of authenticity,..for all the obvious reasons.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@MissA Mega larvae for you. A world boycot might clean things up.

Seek's avatar

The only way to be sure is to not purchase diamonds.

Personally, I’m much more a fan of coloured stones. If I wanted a cold, clear, boring stone, a cubic zirconia will more than suffice. My wedding ring is a natural emerald, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. And my emerald isn’t flawless! I especially love the crack down the middle inside the stone. It lets you know it’s real. It’s warm and has personality. And, I’ve had the ring in a couple of jewelers (just to tighten down the tines) and they always comment on how refreshing it is to see such a beautiful natural stone. ^_^

cazzie's avatar

Yeah, I second @Seek_Kolinahr . Don’t bother with diamonds. I love a certain kind of rare opal. As for my wedding rings, I bought them from the jeweller that did the rings for Lord of the Rings and had them done in platinum and titanium, No stones. (never did get an engagement ring… hubby isn’t the type) I do wish people would stop with the diamonds already. They’re scarcity is a myth. The market is controlled by a private monopoly that has never had trouble in the past as to where the diamonds came from. Phooey on them. Buy something antique and/or something with more character.

Seek's avatar

@cazzie I’d love to see them! There’s something so moving about fine metal craftsmanship.

meagan's avatar

Like everyone else said, you don’t know. Theres a diamond mine close to where I live. I had a friend that always swore up and down that he’d get his future fiancee’s diamond from there, rather than risking a blood diamond. Maybe try something like this? Its a nice gesture, anyway ;)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t know which is why I buy artificially made diamonds and gemstones and NO ONE can tell the difference and they’re MUCH cheaper.

EmpressPixie's avatar

In the end, you really don’t. There are some jewelers who put forth amazing effort to avoid human rights violation stones—the jeweler who made my engagement ring, for example, had recently stopped selling rubies all together because she just couldn’t verify that they weren’t coming from a bad situation. She felt like she knew her sources well enough, however, to sell a small selection of diamonds. Still, I would have to depend on her word—and she may be depending on someone else’s word.

If you’re willing to put a bit of trust into the equation, a very good jeweler would be able to give you a good idea of where you rock came from and how it got to you. Similarly, you can look for a diamond of specific origin—I believe Canadians have made some trade in selling bloodshed-free stones.

arpinum's avatar

You help the criminals each time you buy a diamond, whether it be a blood diamond or not. You will help support or push up the price of a diamond so hat the murderers have even more incentive to continue heir program.

The best way to stop these people is to just stop buying diamonds, period. Unless you are in certain manufacturing industries, you have little need for a diamond.

Nullo's avatar

Nowadays, they can make you a diamond with a hydraulic press. A skilled jeweler can tell the natural from the artificial, but you can’t.

cazzie's avatar

@Nullo I didn’t think those types of diamonds were good for anything other than industrial use. (and I think it’s a bit more involved than a hydraulic press) Can you please post your source?

Nullo's avatar

@cazzie You’re right, the hydraulic press is not the tool of choice. But there are ways to make gemstone-quality diamonds here.

MissAnthrope's avatar

The whole diamond business is a moral affront.. a small group of greedy rich people taking advantage of those with almost nothing, hoarding diamonds and meting them out carefully to keep the costs high, who, over the years, have carefully crafted the idea of a diamond being the perfect symbol for love, in order to drive business. It’s a bunch of malarkey and I quite honestly want no part in it. I mean, it’s just a shiny rock that people have decided they must have, consequences and cost be damned.

This is why I long ago decided that when I am in the market for an engagement ring, I will not be buying “real” diamonds. There are different ring options, but I think the best alternative for diamonds are the lab-grown/synthetic kind. They look and sparkle just like diamonds, no one but an expert would be able to tell the difference when it’s on your hand. The bonus is that it’s a lot cheaper, so you can even buy a bigger stone than you would be able to afford if it were “real”.

Smashley's avatar

Even if you get clean stones, you’re still fueling a style driven demand that funds diamond wars. Why not go with a stone that isn’t price controlled by a cartel?

phoebusg's avatar

You can’t. A simple solution however is not buying any, or looking for artificially made diamonds. The diamond supply is quantity-fixed, as in the market available quantities are controlled to keep the price high. Scarcity-value.

aprilsimnel's avatar

If one buys an artificially made stone, that also drives the market for the real thing, as no one in passing is going to know the difference. If all the precious stones and metals being minded have blood on their hands, then don’t buy any of it; not antiques or vintage, not new or fake. Do something else to show your devotion or partnership. Plant a tree, maybe. And you don’t need an “I’m taken” token. If someone hits on you (and you’re married or otherwise partnered) just tell the person hitting on you, “Hey, I’m flattered, but I’ve got a partner”, and be done with it.

I mean, the only purpose of these rings is to show possession anyway, and that’s not love, so why take on the tokens of that sort of mindset?

trailsillustrated's avatar

buy an antique diamond, from the victorian era.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@aprilsimnel I like artificial gemstones and I wear them not in ‘ownership’ rings or anything but in all kinds of pieces.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@susanc @Seek_Kolinahr @Simone_De_Beauvoir @Nullo @MissAnthrope Yes, there are all manner of fake or artificial stones out there (when I see a fake emerald I can tell way more than a fake diamond) but we are more into real emeralds (maybe me more than her) but usually there are always accent diamonds on the ring too. I have thought going the vintage route ala @trailsillustrated (in fact some of the design and workmanship is far superior to what you can find these days) then I can be more assured there are no bodies on the stones.

@worriedguy @EmpressPixie I don’t know how cheap those processes are to do but it seems you have to jump through quite a bit of hoops to try to make sure you have a stone with no bodies on it. Even an existing stone depending one when it was mined and cut could have blood on it. Even reputable dealers like The Jewelry Exchange, The Shane Company, Jared, Kay Jewelers etc can’t really be sure unless they own their own mines. Of they are purchasing on the market documents can be faked. All these Blood Diamonds are ending up SOMEWHERE, but where is the $50,000,000 question.

Seek's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central

Don’t be afraid of buying your jewelry online. We purchased my wedding ring (a white gold Claddagh with an emerald heart) from a website of a jeweler in Ireland, and I couldn’t be happier with the ring. I was very adamant against diamonds, and I have an odd ring size (4¼. I have the hands of a nine year old boy.) so that was the only way I was going to get what I wanted.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Diamonds are really becoming outre because of the very thing you mentioned.

I would opt for a Ziamond (check out their website) if you have to have a clear stone or go find a beautiful vintage estate piece at a reputable jeweler. Or you can go for a coloured stone of some sort. There are so many beautiful stones now…oldies (sapphires, rubies, emeralds) newbies (tanzanite, morganite, tourmaline). The list of alternative and beautiful stones is endless.

If a diamond is the only option….I am not sure that you could ever know its true origin.

Trance24's avatar

I honestly will never own a diamond for this reason, I do not know where it comes from for sure and I do not want an innocent child’s blood on my hands. Children are usually the ones forced to do the hard labor, others are lost as well or course but a bulk are children. The world is just full of greed sadly. I do not know what kind of engagement ring I’ll have one day, but it will suite me just fine because it will not be stained with the blood of innocence.

Nullo's avatar

If you’re the sort that goes spelunking in the right kinds of caves, you could probably get a pretty rock of your own, and then have a jeweler cut it and set it for a truly unique piece.

Just don’t tell park-ranger types where you got it.

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