Before we dig deeper into the secretive and hidden marketplace dealings, it is best to briefly recap what a Blood Diamond is and what the label entails. Blood Diamonds got their infamous moniker not for the colour red, which they are not, but for the cost in blood spilt of enslaved innocent miners, a majority of them kidnapped children, by African warlords in war-torn countries like Congo or Sierra Leone. These loosely held paramilitaries seize villagers and force them at gunpoint to tear the earth asunder near rivers and lakes in search of diamonds. As these slaves tire and collapse or get sick, they are often killed and disposed of to be replaced by newly captured slaves. These so-called "armies" or "rebel" fund their terrorism, including rape, murder, genocide, and ethnic cleansing, by selling mined diamonds to buy military armaments and equipment to retain their grip on power.
Since slave labour has negligible labour cost, these diamonds are often sold very cheaply and in bulk. So who buy these diamonds? Who else but the old giants of the diamond industry all the way down to small diamond cutters and miners. Indeed, are these big and smaller companies unaware of Blood Diamonds' human cost and suffering? Of course not. These companies are only motivated by greed and nothing else. They have stifled the industry and hindered every attempt to reform till recently. They have always gratefully bought Blood Diamonds to exploit the artificially low price and easy supply while wilfully ignoring their human cost. But please don't take our word for it; there are plenty of well-researched articles published in prestigious publications exposing all the dark and corrupt dealing of the mined diamond industry.
You would be forgiven to believe that the Blood Diamond supply and market industrial complex was something of an ignorant past; a relic of a dark industry that was extinguished by the rising consumer awareness and unstoppable and inevitable advent of truly clean lab grown diamonds, despite the concentrated effort of the mined diamond industry. However, the truth is not so convenient; Blood Diamonds are not simply a fragment of history that should be remembered but moved on from. Just like any industry forced with relentless pressure, it simply evolved to the current climate and shifted to the background. After all, did the African warlords disappear?
Many companies and newly minted non-profit certification boards have come up with the label 'Conflict-Free Diamonds' to cover up the ugly truth of the mined diamond industry. However, it is simply a marketing stunt to convince to empathetic customers buy mined diamonds without feeling guilty. Despite their claims that all their diamonds are audited to only come from registered mines, all industry insiders know that it is a lie and nothing more than a marketing scam. Suppose a company or a distributor is able to buy in bulk ridiculously cheap diamonds from conflict regions. In that case, they aren't ever going to admit to their customers that they are selling Blood Diamonds. Instead, they will do everything in their power to sell them as 'Conflict-Free' with hefty premiums. Diamonds are composed of a pure element, a strong crystal of only carbons, therefore untraceable. You can’t test pure gold, iron, or any other element to uncover its origin. A diamond is the same. A diamond mined in Russia is identical to one unearthed in Sierra Leone by a slave threatened with the death of his family if he didn't meet his quota for the day.
So how did it come down to this? In simple terms, a combination of greed and a loophole in the supply chain. Currently, an excess of 90% of the worlds mined diamonds are polished in India. How one country came to dominate this part of the process is an interesting tale on its own. A few decades ago, most diamonds were being polished in Belgium, Israel and India. However, over time it all shifted to India due to cheap labour. And here is the part where Blood Diamonds get mixed in with the other mined diamonds in this one specific stage of the process. There is nothing to differentiate a Blood Diamond from any other diamond. But why India specifically? It is common knowledge among the business circle of the frankly incredible amount of corruption and lack of transparency in India. Everything can be had or done for a price, and the people in charge of the polishers and suppliers and dealers are happy to look the other way as long they keep getting business.
Let's dive into the nitty-gritty details of how the Blood Diamonds enter the supply chain. Once a parcel of diamonds, which contains thousands at a time, arrive in a polishing house, it is opened and mixed with other similar packets. Now we have this giant bowl of diamonds of different origins and mixed up. Once every diamond is polished and sent to a grader, there is simply no possible way to guarantee a diamond's origin. Any company or organization that provides a certificate of origin or claims with certainty that their diamond is from a 'Conflict-Free' mine in Botswana is simply giving you a false promise. The certified diamond could, just as easily, be from a conflict area in Congo. Even if they state they have a strict 'Chain of custody, it is simply not financially feasible to process diamonds individually one at a time with a certifier overlooking every step of the way. Remember, 90% of the world's diamonds are batch-processed in the thousands, not hundreds, in India of all places, a country without the best reputation for transparency.
All that is to say, anyone involved in the selling of mined diamonds is complicit in sustaining the continued existence of Blood Diamonds, and at least indirectly responsible for the death and suffering of countless innocents, not to mention the devastating loss of forest critical to the survival of endangered primates such as Eastern lowland gorilla and numerous other species. If you are a company that sells mined diamonds, you're not truly committed to 'conflict free' diamonds as the only actual conflict-free diamonds are those produced in a lab by engineers and scientists. Even at the very inception of NOVITA Diamonds, it was decided, by our management team, that we would exclusively buy and sell only lab grown diamonds as we could not in good conscious partake in selling mined diamonds, an industry ripe with corruption, morally and financially, and risk selling even one Blood Diamond to our customers who, we believe with all our heart, deserves better.