Today, Tiffany & Co. announced a new initiative to release the origin of its diamonds to customers. For years, the diamond industry has been under scrutiny by human rights’ groups due to a history of unethical sourcing, mining and labor practices. Tiffany will now release the country or region of each diamond above .18 carats.
This is an important step for the diamond industry, and for other big names in jewelry and fashion. Customers must also do their part to understand fair trade practices and labor laws, so as to avoid those brands or goods that come from a questionable source.
As for diamonds, those that come from places like Zimbabwe and Angola have been linked to inhumane working conditions, not all African countries are the same though. Namibia and Botswana have been rigorously enforcing fair practices, ensuring that their diamond industries lead to positive development. Canadian diamonds are also a safe bet, as they have some of the highest labor and environmental standards.
Ultimately, as a consumer it is best to do your research ahead of time and only work with jewelers who have a reputation for ethical sourcing. Talk to your jeweler so you have the full story behind your diamond, and make sure your jeweler or supplier is up front their ethical standards.