At J. Fox Custom, we enjoy working with a wide variety of beautiful gemstones. When requested, we are happy to work with lab created diamonds and diamond alternatives such as moissanite; but we are also proud to say that the vast majority of what we do uses natural diamonds.
This is not a blind default. It is something that we choose to do as responsibly and ethically as possible.
Conflict diamonds, or "blood diamonds", refer to diamonds mined in countries that use the proceeds to fund terror. At their peak in the 1980s, these were estimated to account for as much as 15-19% of the global diamond market.
This number has fallen tremendously over time, with huge efforts being made by the UN as well as at least 38 individual countries. Today that percentage sits at nearly 0, with more than 99% of natural diamonds on the market today being conflict free.
This does not directly address the issue of mining conditions, or environmental impact. There is still much to be done in these areas, although these issues are constantly being worked on and improved.
However, that is just one side of the story.
Natural diamond mining also has very important positive impacts that are frequently overlooked in the narrative.
Diamond mining supports an estimated 10 million people around the globe, often in developing areas where few other opportunities exist, and those that do may be even less safe or ethical.
Mines often support social, educational, and environmental programs as well - giving hundreds of millions of dollars to their local communities each year, and greatly increasing resources and quality of life.
This also includes access to healthcare and education in areas that would otherwise be without.
In Botswana, diamond mining has built hospitals that aided in a huge reduction in spread of diseases, and has helped the average life expectancy rise from just 37 in 1966 to almost 70 today. To quote Botswana President Mogae, diamonds represent "food on the table; better living conditions; better healthcare; safe drinking water; more roads... and much more."
No industry is perfect, and that is why we make great efforts to buy only from ethical and reliable sources, and to support mines who support their communities.
Among others, diamonds from Canada, Australia, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana are all guaranteed conflict free. In Canada and Australia, environmental controls and ethical guidelines are well enforced, and in all of these countries fair wages and workers rights are enforced.
Much ink has been spilled about the negative sides of the diamond industry, and we agree that these cannot be allowed to go unaddressed, but know that these issues are not one-sided. When you buy a natural mined diamond today you are also helping to support families and communities around the world.