Jewelry Alternatives to Conflict Diamonds
It used to be that diamonds were a girl’s best friend. Now, more often than not, they are conflict diamonds, mined and sold to finance a war or insurgency. This has made the diamond engagement ring, the diamond infinity necklace, and other diamond jewelry less attractive to the eco-friendly and socially-aware consumer.
The question then becomes: what do you wear instead? If you simply want a sparkly gemstone to wear in an engagement ring or other piece of jewelry, there are many alternatives to conflict diamonds. If, however, only a diamond will do, there are also ways to ensure that your jewelry is conflict-free.
Here are a few suggestions if you are looking for an alternative. Remember to make your preferences known to anyone who might be buying you jewelry in the future, to prevent yourself from becoming the accidental recipient of a piece of jewelry you cannot wear.
Sapphires are a popular alternative to conflict diamonds because they sparkle and glitter in much the same way as diamonds. Although the word “sapphire” is often associated with the color blue, the truth is that sapphires come in many colors, including red, pink, gold, yellow, and orange, along with the traditional blue shades. There are also colorless sapphires for people who want to recreate the diamond’s facet and shine as closely as possible.
If you want a sapphire engagement ring, you are in good company. According to the team at Front Jewelers: “Sapphire wedding rings and engagement rings have been a leading choice among royalty for many centuries, thanks to the everlasting beauty and brilliance of these precious gemstones.” Kate Middleton continued the tradition by wearing Princess Diana’s sapphire ring to mark her engagement to Prince William.
Beautiful crystal, such as Swarovski Crystal, is a beautiful and elegant alternative to conflict diamonds. Wear cut, faceted crystal anywhere you might otherwise wear a diamond: in stud earrings, as a pendant on a necklace, or as the tiny supporting stones around a larger gemstone. Crystal is manufactured from lead glass in countries like Austria and Ireland, nearly always from a historical crystal house such as Swarovski or Waterford. With crystal, you know that your jewelry is conflict-free and is supporting true artisans.
Sapphires and crystal have the advantage of looking similar to diamonds in terms of cut and color. However, there are also plenty of other gemstone options. Rubies, emeralds, turquoise, amethysts — all of these gems make excellent jewelry and add a bit of color to your necklaces or rings. If you simply want a beautiful piece of jewelry and do not need it to resemble diamonds, try these gemstones instead.
In some cases, only a diamond will do. If you truly want a diamond more than anything else, you need to begin searching for conflict-free diamonds.
One of the best ways to find conflict-free diamonds is to look for antique jewelry, mined and created before diamonds became currency in warfare and conflict. Your parents and grandparents are likely to have a few options for you to wear — think of the symbolism and heritage that comes with wearing your grandmother’s antique diamond necklace set. Or, if you prefer, begin searching online or antique shops for jewelry options.
It is also possible to buy a new, conflict-free diamond. Many diamonds, for example, come from Canada, and are guaranteed to be conflict-free. The United Nations requires all conflict-free diamonds to come with a Kimberly Process certificate to prove that they were mined and processed without being used as currency in a war zone.
If you are committed to eco-friendly, socially-conscious jewelry, you need to avoid conflict diamonds. Luckily, as we have shown, there are many beautiful alternatives to the conflict diamond, and many jewelry options that you can be proud to wear as part of your collection.