The Stress-Free Guide to a Sustainable Diamond

In an age where people are voting with their dollars to be more sustainable and eco-friendly, this has especially changed the jewelry marketplace because 1) the practice of mining new precious materials has a deleterious impact on the earth and its peoples and 2) people want to wear jewelry without a heavy conscience.

We wanted to make this guide to help buyers searching for a diamond to understand the common trends and terminology regarding diamond sustainability so they can make the best informed decision.

What is a 'conflict' or 'blood diamond'? A 'blood diamond' or a 'conflict diamond' is a diamond that was mined using unethical practices; the term 'blood diamond' was heavily popularized in the movie with Leonardo DiCaprio following its namesake.

Often found in developing countries with rich natural resources and in a state of war, conflict diamonds are harvested with forced labor, horrible working conditions, and mining processes with complete disregard for the earth.

What is a 'conflict-free diamond'? To begin, we have to tell you about the Kimberley Process, which defined 'conflict- free diamonds' as: "diamonds that have not funded official war against recognized governments." The Kimberley Process is a coordinated international system of gem verification and certification that makes sure your diamonds do not fund any wars or illegal activities.

Unfortunately, the Kimberley Process is a bit obsolete in 2022 (it does not regulate human rights abuses and working conditions), but gave birth to terms such as “conflict free” which is an ideal that we aspire to.

Here at N.E.&Co, we work with gem sellers that focus on repurposed (or recycled) diamonds or have them shipped from verified sellers in Canada (which ranks in the top for working conditions and human rights).

Really? There's diamonds in Canada? Absolutely, and Canadian diamonds are a great option for the above reasons and also for the reason of sustainability: virtually all of the mining companies work closely with government regulations and scientists to limit the impact on the earth.

There are other areas which are following a similar trend: we've established a great network here in SF that we both feel comfortable and have peace of mind with.

What about lab grown diamonds? The technology to grow diamonds in labs has accelerated significantly over the past couple of years, to the point where the prices are comparable to getting a new diamond.

However, we find that repurposed diamonds tend to be even more affordable and sustainable: on the latter point, it takes a significant amount of energy to create a diamond, so you would probably want to verify that the lab creating the diamond is not powered by 'dirty' energy sources like coal and oil.

Why do you use repurposed diamonds? What's the advantages / disadvantages? The common saying is that 'diamonds are forever', and in this case it's true: the tight carbon structure and hardness of diamonds ensure that a diamond will last for literally millions of years.

However, it also takes millions of billions of years to make a diamond, and, although vast diamond sources exist deep within the Earth, mining companies tend to take the easy pickings from the top for an easy profit, leading to vast destruction over a wider area.

Since we know diamonds will last forever (and since there is always a large supply on the market already due to divorce, death, and debt), we take advantage of the affordable cost of repurposed diamonds, while carrying over the ethical benefits over to you.

We know that buying a diamond can be a completely new venture for most people. If you have any questions regarding how we can source the perfect conflict-free diamond for you, don't hesitate to contact the team!

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