“Diamonds are a girl´s best friend” is a song performed by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Elizabeth Taylor wearing the Krupp diamond
The Krupp Diamond, named after the Krupp family of German industrialists was a gift of her husband, Richard Burton, who bought it at an auction for $305,000 in 1968. The ring was renamed "Elizabeth Taylor Diamond" and was sold at Christie's in 2011, for $8,818,500.
Blood Diamond is a 2006 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It is set during the Sierra Leone Civil War in 1996–2001, and shows the atrocities of that war. The title refers to blood diamonds or conflict diamonds, which are diamonds mined in African war zones and sold to finance conflicts, and therefore profit warlords and diamond companies. As a matter of fact blood diamonds have been used to increase violent conflict and human rights abuses and have funded brutal wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Côte d’Ivoire that have resulted in the death of millions of people.
India was thought to be the only source of diamonds until the 18th century but they were discovered in South Africa in 1866.These findings sparked a rush of diamond prospectors to the region and led to the opening of the first large-scale mining operation which came to be known as the Kimberly Mine.
As long as there has been a diamond industry, diamond mining has been plagued by smuggling, worker exploitation and violence. Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada, two non-profit groups, took the lead in exposing the problem to the public that rebel groups were seizing control of diamond mining regions and exchanging diamonds for money and weapons. The diamond industry was buying these diamonds and selling them in jewelry stores.
As a response the diamond industry came with a diamond certification scheme called the Kimberley Process(2003) which would evaluate conditions in diamond-producing countries and certify that the diamonds being exported are “conflict free.” Nevertheless, in Africa, close to a million people are artisanal diamond diggers. Almost all of them live in extreme poverty. Child labour is common and working conditions are very often dangerous and de-humanizing.
The majority of today's diamonds come from Africa (65%)
Botswana: $3.3 billion
Angola: $1.5 billion
South Africa: $1.5 billion
Democratic Republic of Congo: $0.7 billion
Namibia: $0.9 billion
Other countries such as Canada, Russia, and Australia also have diamonds.
Ethical diamonds are those that are mined under strict regulations imposed by the governments and cut and polished according to guidelines established by the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices. They are fully traceable, and the larger stones are laser-inscribed.
The film Blood Diamond ends in a conference concerning blood diamonds, precisely the meeting that took place in Kimberley, South Africa in 2000 and led to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which sought to certify the origin of rough diamonds in order to limit the trade of conflict diamonds.
Soon after the release of the film the– World Diamond Council – launched a new web site. diamondfacts.org which claims that the diamond supply is now more than 99% conflict free.
So, as beautiful as it may be, it is best never to spoil your ring with the toil of those who may have been exploited. Be aware of where your ring comes from so that we can stop financing horrible conflicts and appreciate the beauty of diamonds!