As defined by the Kimberley Process, conflict-free diamonds have been acquired or shipped in a way that doesn’t support criminal activity. The diamond also cannot have any connection to rebel or terror groups, and it has to have been mined and shipped in a humane and environmentally friendly manner.
However, some jewelry companies don’t feel that the Kimberley Process does enough to protect the people involved in mining. They also feel that it doesn’t go far enough in ensuring mines practice environmental sustainability. One such company is Brilliant Earth.
Brilliant Earth has developed an alternative to conflict-free diamonds they call “Beyond Conflict-Free.” In this Brilliant Earth review, we will look at what they mean by “Beyond Conflict-Free” diamonds.
What Does “Beyond Conflict-Free” Diamonds Mean?
Brilliant Earth states that jewelers who limit themselves to the Kimberley Process definition of conflict-free diamonds ignore the large number of diamonds that are mined and shipped in ways that involve violence, human rights abuses, poverty, and environmental degradation. Therefore, this company has created a specific list of criteria that the mines they work with must follow. This criterion is what makes up a “Beyond Conflict-Free” diamond. It is as follows:
- The mine supports community development.
- The mine undertakes safe and responsible labor procedures.
- The mine protects its workers against human rights abuses.
- The mine ensures its practices are eco-friendly.
- The diamonds from their suppliers haven’t been used to finance rebel movements.
What Mines are “Beyond Conflict-Free”
In light of the “Beyond Conflict-Free” criteria, Brilliant Earth can only work with certain mines. This is why they only work with mines in Botswana Sort, Russia, and Canada.
The mines in Botswana Sort have been recognized as following internationally acknowledge labor and environmental standards. The diamond mining in this country has contributed to making Botswana one of Africa’s most prosperous regions. Additionally, the money made in these mines supports Botswana’s education, health care, and infrastructure.
Although Russia is geopolitically controversial, the mines that Brilliant Earth deals with in this country are certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council. These mines are also the lifeblood of their communities and offer several benefits to the community, including financing social infrastructure projects.
Canadian diamonds originate from the Diavik and Ekati mines. These mines are recognized as being committed to the highest human rights and environmental standards. For instance, Diavik built the first large-scale wind farm in the Northwest Territories. This farm is capable of supplying half of the mine’s energy needs. Ekati is involved in several environmental initiatives, including the Wildlife Effects Monitoring Program, Aquatic Effects Monitoring Program, Air Quality, and Emissions Monitoring Program, and the Reclamation and Closure Program. These mines are committed to hiring local indigenous people, offering skilled apprenticeship programs, and sponsoring scholarship funds.
Brilliant Earth’s “Beyond Conflict-Free” Initiatives
Not only does the “Beyond Conflict-Free” criteria apply to the sourcing of their diamonds, but Brilliant Earth also actively works to make these criteria a reality in mining communities. They give five percent of their net profits to projects that work towards improving mining communities. This involves improving individual lives, working towards reducing the abuses individuals suffer, encouraging environmentally-friendly initiatives, and generally making the community a better place for all. More specifically, these projects aim to:
- Offer fair wages and safe working environments for diamond miners.
- Finance education programs, so children don’t have to work in the mines.
- Sponsor scholarships for students who are interested in learning how to cut gems.
- Reviving land so it can be used for agriculture.
- Offering young people the necessary vocational training, skill development, and education so they can find meaningful employment in the diamond mining industry.
- Providing finances for an education initiative that’s working to improve the government regulation of diamond mining.
- Providing support for the Center for Research and Development. The center audits mines, reports abuses, and advocates for local communities.
- Helping to build community centers, so miners have somewhere to negotiate fair diamond prices and get trained.
- Giving funds to the nonprofit MedShare International. This nonprofit provides prosthetic limbs and lifesaving medical supplies for people injured in Sierra Leone.
- Provide funding for a 1-year scholarship for students who want to attend a leadership training program in South Africa.
There are conflict-free diamonds, and then there are “Beyond Conflict-Free” diamonds. “Beyond Conflict-Free” is a term coined by the jewelry company Brilliant Earth. They developed this concept so that they could ensure the diamonds they offer their customers are ethically-sourced. This means that not only have their diamonds not been used to finance civil wars or other forms of violence (as per the conflict-free definition), they also come from mines that engage in ethical and safe labor practices, do not abuse their workers, are eco-conscious, and support their community. Consequently, Brilliant Earth only works with mines that meet these criteria. Currently, the mines they work with are in Canada, Russia, and Botswana sort. Furthermore, in addition to their ethical-diamond sourcing, Brilliant Earth is actively working to improve miners’ lives by donating five percent of their net profits to projects that make life better for the people in these communities.