April’s birthstone -- diamond - - and why I don’t use them!

“ Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” That old adage. Why aren’t diamonds a girl’s best friend?

#1 Diamonds are dirty stones. Finding good, clean, sustainable diamonds is nearly impossible. Although the diamond industry has begun to regulate diamonds, “blood diamonds” still end up in the mainstream supply. These diamonds could have funded the training of child soldiers, land mines and small arms dealers, or ethnic cleansing. There is currently not a method to be 100% certain that you are buying a clean diamond. In addition to blood diamonds, there are other ethical issues with diamonds. Child and slave labor is often used to mine, cut, and polish them. Workers are disproportionately exposed to HIV. Diamond cartels are known to displace indigenous communities in the never-ending quest for diamonds, and the environmental impacts of most diamond mines are staggering. Do you really still want a diamond? If so, here are a few more reasons to choose another gemstone.

#2 Expense. Prices of diamonds are artificially inflated by cartels that control the world’s supply and they don’t go up and down like normal commodities. The price of diamonds has gone up almost every single year since the depression. They are not an investment and diamond jewellery does not appreciate in price. It is like cars. The minute you walk out of a jewellery store, your gorgeous new ring depreciates, the price dropping by half.

#3 They are not rare. There are actually hoarded by the cartels. Areas rich in diamonds are bought and left un-mined, under heavy guard, to prevent the diamonds from entering the market and reducing the cost to the public.

#4 Cultural norms. Diamond engagement rings are a result of clever marketing. In the early 20th century, diamonds were rare, and were only available to royalty and the extremely wealthy. Then, DeBeers struck gold and discovered a huge cache of diamonds. Their diamond engagement campaign began in the 1930s, marketing these stones to the every person. This is when the tradition began.

When would I consider using a diamond. Right now I am fascinated with raw gemstones. If I could find a clean, reasonably priced, beautiful raw diamond, I would consider designing a piece of jewellery around it. But to be honest, I don’t think that exists, so I don’t think I will ever be using them.

There are so many more interesting and unique gemstones than diamonds. Put a little colour in your jewellery! There are many, many more delightful options out there! And if you are determined to have a lovely clear stone, consider the cubic zirconia. As maligned as these stones are, they are clean, and they sparkle like the sun!

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