The issue of conflict diamonds, or ‘blood diamonds’, has deservedly received a lot of attention in recent years. As we have all become more conscious consumers, many of us have come to insist on ethical products like Fairtrade coffee, cruelty-free cosmetics, organic produce and so on. The question of just where our luxury items are coming from has also become more pressing. In certain parts of the world, some diamond producers and traders are known to have been involved in illegal or immoral practises, including human rights abuses, labour violations and using the proceeds of diamond sales to fund civil conflicts. While only a small minority of diamonds have ever been ‘blood diamonds’, it is obviously unacceptable for any diamond to be mined or traded in a way that causes suffering. Conflict diamonds present a major ethical issue, and one we feel needs to be tackled head-on.
The Diamond Shop takes its social responsibilities seriously. That’s why we investigate, and aim to be completely transparent about, the origins of all our diamonds. Unlike a lot of main street jewellers, we’ve been doing so for a long time. As far back as the early 1980s, CEO Win Charlebois was invited to act as an industry consultant to the New Zealand government as they debated what would eventually become the Kimberly Treaty, one of the first serious steps by the diamond industry to create a formal ethical framework. The Kimberly Treaty is effective, but not perfect, which is why we are also proud to be the first jeweller in New Zealand to sign the new Rapaport Pledge for Ethical Jewelry. This means we have publically committed to only sell ethically sourced stones. We investigate the provenance of all our diamonds, and refuse to sell any we know or suspect might have been involved in unethical activity.
The Diamond Shop undertake regular audits of our diamond suppliers to ensure they are living up to our ethical requirements, and refuse to trade with companies that don’t abide by these rules.