If you love someone, give them a rock (not a diamond)
The diamond… a small piece of superheated carbon compressed under millions of tons of pressure (or the hands & super awesome laser-vision of superman). The diamond is ubiquitous with love & kissing and all that awful stuff…
I can only imagine how many people exchanged diamonds this Valentines day to say, “I love you”. There was “boys 2 men” playing in the background, a great restaurant, idle chit-chit chat and then the box was produced, opened & tears. Moments later hugging, kissing and instant Facebook updates… so many Instagram pics of the hand wearing the ring… In our culture, the diamond helps to co-construct our meaning of love.
I say screw that. Diamonds don’t mean love; they mean suffering. If you love someone, give them a piece of polished gravel, or sand, or anything else except a diamond ring.
If you are going to go down the diamond path, know your stuff or you may be hurting people!
Let’s break this down:
The majority of diamonds come from mines in sub-Saharan Africa and/or countries that have numerous allegations involving intense human rights violations. Miners are often paid next-to-nothing, or are involved in a form of debt-bondage, forced labor or other form of human trafficking offenses. These miners are often kept in line and under control by child soldiers and/or others who are forced to be in the military. These exploited individuals are by legal definition, human trafficking victims. That’s right, many diamonds on the market come from people who are victimized. They are exploited because you’re willing to buy/wear a rock to prove your love. It isn’t worth it. Watch the movie Blood Diamond to outline it. Although it isn’t a documentary, it is based on events that happen quite often & does help to drive the point home.
So how do you ethically prove your love?
- Never, ever, ever buy a new diamond: Sure, the person at Jerrods assures you that there isn’t blood on that diamond, but how does he know? DeBeers diamond cartel & Anglo American Mining controls the majority of mines & new-production rocks on the planet. Blood diamonds are mixed in with legally harvested stones. You don’t know! Don’t do it!
- If you’re not going to listen to #1, get a certified Conflict Free Diamond: There are mines in the U.S., Canada, and a few other countries with more stringent labor laws. These diamonds are sold as Certified Conflict Free & come with a certificate clearly outlining the origin, and chain of custody of the stone. Can certificates be faked? Sure, but it’s a start in the right direction.
- Pawn Shops & Grandma/Moms old rings: There is no such thing as a used diamond. Go to a pawn shop & purchase a pre-owned. By using the existing supply you are cutting down on the financial incentive to exploit others in the present & future. Or, ask Grandma or Mom for the old rocks they’re not using. What significant other wouldn’t want a family stone? They’re going to be part of the family!
- Forget diamonds & precious stones all together: Be an individual, be a trendsetter; get something mounted on a ring that means something. Yes, you can have a piece of gravel cut & polished to a mirror finish. Get a stone from that park that you first met in, the parking lot of your first kiss; something meaningful.
We cannot let our love harm others. Please quit the diamond.
Remember, your dollar is your voice, spend wisely.