10 Reasons Not To Buy A Diamond Engagement Ring
The Ugly Truth About Your Engagement Ring
In the UK culture, the daffodils are out, the lambs are frolicking, and thoughts are turning to this summer's weddings. If you've ever drooled over the diamonds in a jeweller's shop window, or you're planning to spend two month's salary on a single ring, you might want to read the rest of this page first.
Supermodels Iman, Erin O'Connor & Lily Cole have all distanced themselves from or refused to work for diamond companies on ethical grounds. Actress Julie Christie has also urged the public to "Boycott DeBeers!" after they evicted Botswana Bushmen from their homes.
The truth is, the diamond industry is among the most relentlessly corrupt of all legal industries. Commiting many different crimes. Here are ten hard facts guaranteed to knock the sparkle out of your engagement ring.
Child labour, including slavery
Mines in both India & Africa use children as young as 4 to mine & process diamonds. This can include 10 hours a day of physical labor, exposure to chemicals, and punishments such as hacking off fingers for theft. Some children's feet begin to rot after standing in mud all day, and of course they don't get to go to school. Many children are in 'debt bondage' to their employers, a UN-recognized form of slavery.
They're not really valuable
Less than 100 years ago the diamond cartel De Beers decided to make the entire world believe that diamonds were both valuable and necessary. The combination of advertising, product placement & collaboration with the movie industry was a powerful assault on the public, and diamonds became associated with power, wealth and of course, love. Before that, nobody really cared about diamonds.
Families torn apart
In South African mines, the lowest paid workers are nearly all black. The lowest band of workers are not allowed to live in married quarters, meaning that they do not see their wives or children for months. If a wife gets a job at the same company, she must stay in single women's quarters, and the married couple is punished if they are found to have slept together. This does not apply to higher paid workers, who are almost all white.
They're not rare
The price of diamonds is kept artificially high by the cartel that controls their availability. Areas rich in diamonds are bought, heavily guarded & left un-mined. One has even been deliberately turned into an animal sanctuary so that animal activists will campaign against its sale or use. This makes diamonds appear scarce & inflates the price.
Many diamonds are 'Blood Diamonds'
'Blood Diamonds' or 'War Diamonds' are diamonds mined in a conflict zone & sold to fund war.
Although the diamond industry has begun to regulate the flow of Blood Diamonds, they still end up in mainstream jewellers. This means that your engagement ring could have funded land mines, ethnic cleansing or the training of child soldiers.
Children fight in diamond wars
Both governments & rebel forces in some diamond producing countries use child soldiers. Children are also used as slaves & sex workers. They are often given drugs, raped or beaten to make them comply. There is no 100% reliable way to tell if a stone is War Diamond or not.
Diamond miners more likely to contract HIV/AIDS
Because of the draconian rules imposed on black male South African miners, there is a higher risk of them contracting HIV from camp sex workers. The wives that depend on the workers have little or no income & no power to demand safe sex. Many babies are born with HIV.
Displacement of indigenous people
Because of the vast wealth of the diamond cartels & mines, it is relatively easy for them to displace indigenous communities from their ancestral land, if they happen to live on top of a Diamond pipe. In 2010 in Botswana, campaigners claimed that Bushmen had been illegally evicted from their homes. The Basarwa refer to the resettlement camps as "Places of death," & actress Julie Christie urged the public to boycott De Beers because of their treatment of the Bushmen.
They're not traditional
Diamonds have been a traditional symbol of love & fidelity for thousands of years? Dream on! When a large cache of diamonds was uncovered early in the 20th Century, the De Beers company launched the biggest, most monsterous & arguable the most sucessful marketing campaign of all time. Now everybody believes you have to start a marriage with the biggest rock you can afford. It's just advertising.
They're a bad investment
Gold is a commodity that can hold & appreciate in value during times of inflation. Diamonds are not. The value of gold is recognized by governments, banks & financial markets. The value of diamonds exists only in the minds of the public. Diamonds depreciate about 50% in value as soon as they leave the jewelers. They're a terrible investment. Do you still want to spend 2 months salary on a diamond ring?