15 years ago the global effort to ban conflict diamonds began with a meeting in Kimberley, South Africa. It has been 12 years since the diamond industry established the Kimberley Process, an international diamond certification system. With a legalized code and a greater awareness of the horrors of "blood diamonds" .
Max Rodriguez, 34, tells TIME that does not want his partner's diamond engagement ring "to be associated with chaos, controversy and pain."
However, if he wants a mined diamond, unlike a lab diamond, he may not have a choice.
The Kimberley Process reduces the amount of conflict diamonds sold, yet remains full of loopholes, unable to prevent many diamonds mined in war zones or other dire circumstances from being sold on international markets.for
The Kimberley Process does not guarantee an "ethical diamond". It does not protect against labor practices, human rights violations, or wartime mined diamonds. After diamonds leave the mine, they change hands 8-10 times before they can be certified for export.
The potential solution
According to Ava Bai of Vale Jewelry in New York, " Millennials' desire to shop according to their ethics has also helped drive the industry to embrace sustainability." . Millennials want responsible sourcing over the profits of other brands, and they are willing to pay for it.
TIME concludes that "the only way that blood will ultimately be removed from conflict diamonds is if there is a true fair trade certification process that allows conscientious consumers to buy. Without this system, consumers unwittingly participate in unethical practices that underpin the industry.for