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How To Buy An Ethical Diamond: A Guide

Make your dream sparkler a kind one.

13/10/2016 3:19 PM AEDT | Updated 13/10/2016 7:16 PM AEDT
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Say 'I do' to ethical.

Pretty, shiny and oh so sparkly, it's hard to believe something that has long been a symbol of love and lifetime commitment hurts not only the environment, but so many innocent people.

The illicit diamond trade is riddled with problems from funding conflict to the exploitative measures used in production, which often involves dangerous work conditions and child labor.

Though for the newly engaged, it is rarely something that enters the thought process. And if you think we are protected from it here in Australia, sadly, you are wrong.

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There are two types of certification you should be asking for: laboratory and something to prove its origin.

"Unethical diamonds are likely to be as common in Australia as they are anywhere else in the world," David Rhode, co-founder of Ingle & Rhode told The Huffington Post Australia.

There is some silver lining.

Rhode said although unethical practices are fairly widespread in the diamond industry, for diamonds that are mined in Australia, the miners are very likely to have been paid a fair wage and to have had the benefits of proper health and safety. It's extremely unlikely that there are any children working in Australia's diamond mines.

Just because a diamond might have been mined in Australia, it is no guarantee that it wasn't cut and polished in unethical conditions somewhere else.

"The problem for the consumer however, is not knowing where their diamond is from, as most retailers can't offer visibility back up the supply chain," Rhode said.

Basically, you could be buying an Australian diamond, or one from somewhere else in the world.

"Just because a diamond might have been mined in Australia, it is no guarantee that it wasn't cut and polished in unethical conditions somewhere else," Rhode said.

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1. Ensure the diamond is fully traceable

If you like the idea of an Australian Diamond, Rhode said there are various online tools like Origin Australia that offer fully traceable gemstones. "On top of this, to be sure that the diamond was ethically produced, they should also ask their jeweller where the diamond was cut and polished," Rhode said.

2. Ask for laboratory certification

It's important to distinguish between laboratory certification and source of origin documentation. "A laboratory certificate is a gemmological assessment of a stone's size and quality," Rhode said.

3. As well as a certificate of origin

"If you're looking for a guarantee of a diamond's provenance, you need to be looking for a credible certificate of origin, such as Origin Australia for Australian diamonds, CanadaMark for Canadian diamonds, or a certificate from the Jeweltree Foundation, an independent body promoting ethical business practices in the jewellery industry," Rhode said.

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