A few years ago the diamond trade in Africa was making headlines and people were concerned about the lives being lost or ruined because of it. Today we don’t hear much about the diamond trade and its effects on the countries where diamonds are found. Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola all suffer from gross human rights violations for diamond mine workers and in addition they use the uncut diamonds on the black market to fund wars within their countries.  A few years ago the Kimberly Process was introduced to curb the problem, but it has done little besides easing the minds of Westerners. Concern subsided, media attention waned and the problems continue.

When I first learned about the diamonds in Africa, the way the workers are treated and the wars that are fueled by them, I told Donald someone should start a humanitarian jewelry store. If I had the resources I’d do it. I think humanitarians and environmentalists the world over would appreciate the cause for the store. The idea came back to me when I was recently looking at my wedding ring and wondering what on earth I’m going to do with it now.

If there were a jewelry store out there that took in orphaned gems and precious metals and made them into new pieces and works of jewelry art, I think it could be quite successful. There are plenty of people out there keeping family heirlooms, awful looking necklaces and earrings they were given as gifts and unused engagement/wedding rings. There are tons of gems and precious metals that have arleady been removed from the earth that they could be reused for years without having to keep mining them.

I know it might seem weird to wear a ring or something that was worn by someone else but if it were recreated or made into something else nobody would know what it’s original purpose was. If the store were made to look like any other fancy shmancy jewelry store I think people would really buy into the idea, especially the hippie types. Anyway, that’s my idea. If any of you want to steal it and run with it, you’re welcome to it. I’ll never be able to afford starting my own business.

In any case, it’s something to keep in mind as Valentine’s Day approaches. Jewelry and engagements will be on the rise in the next few months. Try to be aware of what it is you’re buying when you buy these items. Stores should be able to tell you whether they sell conflict diamonds, although I doubt they’d admit to it if they do sell them.

PS I think I’m going to have my ring melted down and made into a necklace/earrings set. It has 17 diamonds in it. Those should be able to go pretty far and I don’t want them going to waste.

PPS I wish I could have found better websites about the diamond trade but I’m feeling lazy today.

PPPS Does anyone know if there are any good non-fiction books about the diamond trade? I think it would be so cool to be a journalist over there researching this for a book….maybe one day…