- Know Your Diamond Source
- The Certified Responsible Source For Diamonds
- How Ethical Are “Ethical” Products?
- Diamond Identification
Know Your Diamond Source
Trying to trace the origins of any product can be a harrowing experience when considering overseas mills or manufacturers, and diamonds can be even more difficult. With the surrounding ecological and social conflicts in researching a diamond, it can make the experience even worse. However, knowing the source of your precious gem is an important and vital part of both the purchasing and selling processes; if you don’t, there is no way of knowing if your product was made with your values – or even basic humane processes and procedures – in mind. You need to know that your treasure is coming from a source that is not only transparent in its practices and procedures, but third-party certified as well.
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The Certified Responsible Source for Diamonds
Avilan has been providing an ethical, sustainable diamond choice since 2011, but as of July, 2012, we are officially certified as such. SCS GLobal Services assessed Avilan’s processes and awarded us with the Responsible Source Certification, an award developed by SCS with 25 years of experience in the sustainable product trade. This means that Avilan has attained the highest level of sourcing responsibility in the eco-label industry.
SCS has certified that Avilan diamonds and diamond parcels are 100% post-consumer and processed with fair labor practices. By selling only post-consumer diamonds, Avilan Storied DiamondsTM are free from the negative social and environmental impacts associated with diamond mining, meaning these diamonds are ethical and sustainable.
Additionally, as a company, SCS has certified that Avilan has established a baseline use of energy, water, waste, and greenhouse gasses, and has made a commitment to reduce these uses over time. SCS also verified that Avilan has supplier screening and supply chain risk assessment practices in use. Avilan uses these screening and assessment processes to ensure that all of our diamonds are indeed post-consumer products, free from societal and environmental harm.
SCS has been a global leader in the independent assessment of a variety of products for over 25 years. Please visit SCS Global Services’ website here to learn more about them.
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In today’s culture, the products we use, eat and wear are often under scrutiny based on their ethical levels. Organic foods can be mislabeled, electronics are being created with materials from war-torn areas, and the beauty and symbolism of gems and minerals are tarnished by the negative social and environmental factors associated with them. Fortunately, with a growing interest in ethical consumerism, buyers are becoming both more aware regarding the source of their products.
There are numerous ways to define a product as ethical, including social issues or the environment, such as conflict-free or sustainable items. Conflict-free refers to products with profits that avoid funding civil wars and other mass atrocities. Sustainable products are not harmful to the environment, nor do they cause the depletion of any natural resources. Other ethical levels include fair trade, a trading partnership in which fair prices are paid to producers in developing countries, and social responsibility, where a person or company has an obligation to benefit the community and maintain a balance between the environment and society.
Many of the products we use and rely on every day are produced with materials that are not conflict free. Some of the mined minerals used in most electronics, including gold, tin, tungsten and tantalum, directly finance ongoing armed conflict or provide rebel organizations with weapons and equipment. Though technology companies do not mine these minerals directly, they do purchase these minerals, leaving the industry’s supply chain vulnerable to corruption from conflict minerals. When gems are guaranteed as conflict free, this claim suggests that the stone supply chain is completely traceable, and can be tracked from the jewelry store back to a mine or obtaining entity that did not fund rebel groups. Depending on its original location—a large-scale mine in a financially stable country, for example—the conflict free verification can be relatively simple. In 2003, in an effort to better regulate the diamond industry’s supply chain, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KP) was initiated to control diamond trading and mining through extensive requirements. However, the KP standards focused mainly on stopping the funding of warlord activity and armed conflict and failed to focus on any human rights or environmental factors.
The label of Sustainability addresses many, but not all, environmental and social issues. These products are environmentally friendly during their entire life-cycle, and must not cause any permanent damage to the environment. Product-oriented standards, like the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Labeling and Organic Food Labeling, are applied to most foods and forms of cultivation, promoting sustainable development. While there are no official set of standards for the mining of gems and metals, some mines strive toward a more sustainable type of mining that would ideally reduce some of the negative environmental impact. Unfortunately, the effects of turning and area into a barren mining zone are lasting, and can still alter an ecosystem for years.
Fair trade aims to improve both the sustainability standards and the local economy of developing countries, as well as to create better trading conditions. International buyers pay a fair price to local workers and farmers to promote higher environmental and social standards for products such as cocoa, sugar, chocolate and gold. Currently there is no official fair trade certification system for diamonds, yet standards have already been created for many other products, including coffee and tea. Though environmental standards are promoted, devastation of lands still occurs with some fair trade products. Nevertheless, numerous groups, such as Rapaport Fair Trade, have been working to redefine the idea of fair trade to include the following four conditions: fair wages, community benefit, do no harm (to people or the environment), and credible and impartial monitoring. In the meantime, however, there is a new standard which addresses all of these issues.
Socially responsible products are the most ethical product available, as impact on the environment is not only balanced through eco-friendly programs (as with some conflict free or fair trade items), but is reduced or eliminated altogether. Additionally, these products are clear from negative social impacts, and often help support social causes and charitable organizations. The amount of available, socially responsible products is growing, and now includes clothing, eyewear, shoes and jewelry, offering countless jobs and support to countries in need.
While conflict free, sustainable and fair trade labels have all made important steps in ethics in thepast socially responsible products have made the biggest strides, as they take into consideration the issues of each of these labels and goes beyond. With diamonds, not all stones are created equally, and while many fall into one of these ethical levels, we must remember that because no official fair trade certification system exists for diamonds (and conflict free doesn’t take into account the environment), socially responsible sources are necessary for finding a truly ethical diamond.
Coming Soon: Why is it important to inscribe and register your diamond?