Wednesday, October 7, 2009



For the last several years, the mining of diamonds, gold and colored gemstones is often done by essentially slave labor. Rebel groups often use rough diamonds, precious stones and metals as a means of obtaining funds for arms and sustenance. As depicted in the 2006 movie “Blood Diamonds”, the people who work the mines are often, and in some cases, slaves. Captured in raids on their villages, people are taken to the mines are worked in captivity. If they refuse to work or are slow in the endeavors, their limbs are cut off, their family members are abused or tortured or they are murdered.

Slavery does not just exist in the minds and conscience of Americans; it actually exists in many parts of the world today.

How can you help end this modern day slavery and the abuse of other human beings?

Buy antique or old estate jewelry to help prevent these abusive practices and interference with legitimate governments.

Whatever bad policies and practices that were in place at the time the antique jewelry stones were mined, and there were abuses in the past, your purchase of an antique jewelry piece does not provide financial support for past practices and does not support the current practices. By purchasing antique jewelry, you are taking away the money that supports the current systems of abuse and slavery.

Don’t buy conflict or “blood” diamonds. Don’t buy colored gemstones from countries where conflicts exist or where miners are slaves. Even in countries that claim to pay miners, the pay is often pennies a day and the living conditions for the miners and their families are abhorrent.

It is almost impossible to determine the country of origin of a diamond. Once the diamond has been polished, it is impossible to determine its origin. However, according to International Law, diamonds are required to carry certificates of authenticity from the legitimate government of the country of origin of the diamond. That certificate is required to travel with contemporary diamonds.

Yet, according to a 2004 survey, less than 11% of the diamond retailers in the United States had a policy concerning conflict diamonds. Less than 3% of the diamond retailers discussed conflict diamonds or presented the certificates of origin of the stone. If you are buying a new diamond, insist on seeing the certificate of origin before buying and make sure that you are given the certificate with your purchase.

Choosing old estate diamond jewelry or antique jewelry instead of contemporary jewelry can and will help reduce the “Blood Diamond” abuse.