If you are planning to buy a diamond engagement ring, you need to be sure that you are buying one that is conflict-free. This is because many diamonds that are purchased today have been mined during civil wars.
These blood diamonds have been linked to human rights abuses blood diamond, forced labor, terrorism funding, money laundering, and environmental devastation. They are also associated with the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
1. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme
As the world’s diamond markets grew, activists recognized the role of the trade in financing conflict. Activists called the sale of diamonds “blood diamonds.”
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was created to prevent the trade in diamonds associated with violence, human rights abuses and other concerns. It requires participating countries to adhere to certain minimum requirements.
It has helped limit the flow of conflict diamonds to international markets and helps local economies thrive based on the diamond trade.
The Kimberley Process is an international certification scheme that aims to regulate the trade in rough diamonds. It is currently backed by over 75 countries, including a number of government entities.
2. The Gemological Institute of America
The Gemological Institute of America, headquartered in Carlsbad, California, is the world’s leading authority on diamonds, colored stones and pearls. The institute has been educating and researching gemstones since 1931, establishing and maintaining the standards of quality that jewelry buyers around the world depend on.
GIA’s research helps to fuel the growth of the global jewelry market by advancing knowledge about gems and their properties. Its education and laboratory services help jewelers and consumers to buy, grade and appraise with greater accuracy than ever before.
GIA also conducts research into new gemological techniques that help to increase the value of jewelry. It is the publisher of the professional journal, Gems & Gemology, which keeps students and professionals in the field up-to-date on vital topics in diamond and gemstone studies.
3. The International Gemological Institute
The International Gemological Institute is a large organization with laboratories in multiple locations around the world. It also runs Schools of Gemology, graduating thousands of new jewelry professionals each year.
IGI provides independent diamond grading reports, colored stone reports, identification and appraisal reports, diamond authentication and attestations of origin, laser inscription services and traditional jewelry identification reports.
Their lab research empowers consumers to assess the caliber of their unique jewelry, compare costs and choose a diamond that’s right for them.
The IGI’s grading reports accurately assess a diamond’s four Cs: cut, color, clarity and carat weight. They also show proportions, a plot of inclusions and information about fluorescence and symmetry.
4. The Jeweler Offers Free Returns/Exchange
A reputable jeweler will offer free returns or exchanges on most items. This is a great way to try on a new piece of jewelry without having to shell out any cash – and what’s better, you can return it within 30 days for a full refund. Often, you can even get the item returned in a gift box for a fee. This is especially true of larger items such as rings and necklaces, which are best left to the experts. There are also online e-tailers such as Blue Nile and Amazon that offer free return and exchange services for customers who need it. Aside from the aforementioned perks, Blue Nile’s free return service comes with an accompanying nifty gift card, a free one-year warranty and a customer service department that can answer any questions you might have about your new purchase.
5. The Diamond Is Certified
Certified diamonds are those that have undergone a grading process by independent gem labs such as GIA, AGS, HRD, IGI or EGL. These are the most reputable and trustworthy laboratories.
They issue a certificate that describes the ethical lab grown diamonds quality characteristics of the stone such as colour, clarity, cut, carat weight, shape, measurements, polish, symmetry and fluorescence. The grading report should accompany the diamond for life.
It provides peace of mind that you are paying a fair price for the diamond. It also protects you from scams and rip-offs.
Graduate gemologists in unbiased and highly secure laboratories examine diamonds by high-powered microscopes to assess their inclusions, blemishes, polish, symmetry and color. They then assign grades to each stone that are accurate, consistent and reliable.