As Valentine’s Day approaches, filling men’s hearts with terror and women’s with expectation, you can be sure of one thing: the old reliables will be out in force. Flowers, chocolates and of course diamonds.
Nothing wrong with that, you might be thinking. Nothing at all wrong with buying a diamond ring for your best girl. After all, what could be better than showing your love and affection for the special person in your life?
Nothing at all, is what I say to you. Not one damn thing is wrong with giving your loved-one a symbol of peace and harmony and tenderness and caring, unless that little diamond was responsible for murder and oppression in a conflict zone such as Angola, Cote d’Ivoire or the Congo. Or unless it was mined in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and went to enrich his vile regime
Is that really what you want to tell your cutie-pie? Look Honey! As a sign of our beautiful life together, I got you this diamond that some criminal murdered women and children for and destroyed the environment. Isn’t it just too nice?
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a cast-iron way to avoid buying a blood diamond.
If you walk into a jeweller shop and ask or a confict-free diamond, they’ll tell you that their diamonds are certified conflict-free according to the Kimberley Process.
This is nonsense.
The Kimberley Process, which controls the sale of uncut diamonds only, is a UN fudge to make sure that governments are off the hook. It has no teeth and no motivation. Once a diamond has been cut and polished, it can be freely sold on the open market. Indeed, Israel produces the bulk of such diamonds, accounting for about a third of its entire GDP. If you buy an Israeli diamond, you do not know how it was mined or who was killed to get hold of it. And as an aside, you can be sure that the profits from these diamonds fund the obscenity that is the Gaza concentration camp.
You can get a guarantee that certain Canadian diamonds were mined ethically, and perhaps this will be enough for you. However, the Canadian code does not guarantee you that the diamonds were cut or polished in country free of oppression, so perhaps in the end, the only way you can be sure is not to buy diamonds at all.
However, if you think a trinket soaked in children’s blood is a suitable symbol of your undying love, go right ahead.