If you are shopping for a diamond, you may have come across the term “Kimberley Certified.” Even for professionals within the ethical jewelry industry, this term can be vague and confusing. For some, it is associated with ethical diamonds, and for others it signifies the exact opposite. In this article we attempt to define the Kimberley Process, comb out the many intricate complexities behind Kimberley Certification, and objectively lay out the positives and negatives of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). We hope that by the end of this article you will be better able to make an informed opinion about Kimberley Certified Diamonds.
It used to be that when you bought a diamond, you had no way of knowing its origin or history. But since the late 1990‘s the jewelry industry, as well as the general public, has gained an awareness of the dark and complex issues that have plagued the diamond trade throughout its long and sordid history. One major turning point in diamond industry reform was the creation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) in the early 2000’s. While the KPCS has significant shortcomings, it provided the impetus for change in the diamond industry, and continues to serve an important role today.
At Bario Neal we source ethical, traceable diamonds from sources that offer more stringent oversight than the KPCS whenever possible, including Namibian, Canadian, and certified Recycled diamonds. However there are some cases where Kimberley Process diamonds are the best option available. In this article we will give a brief overview of the KPCS and the impact it has had on the diamond industry.
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.025ct diamonds from the Argyle Mine in Australia
The term “melee” refers to small diamonds and gemstones that are .18cts or less. They are used for embellishing and accenting jewelry, as well as the focal point of some pieces. Some of Bario Neal’s most popular pieces feature melee diamonds or gemstones. This article will examine the issues with traceability for these small stones and the efforts Bario Neal is making to source traceable melees.
The use of diamond melee in jewelry makes up the largest portion of the world’s diamond consumption, but because each individual stone is small and relatively inexpensive, it’s often not worth suppliers’ time to document their sourcing and keep them separate from other stones. Additionally, with larger stones, traceability can be achieved by laser-inscribing a unique tracking number on each stone, a process that is cost-prohibitive (and sometimes even impossible) for smaller stones.
This attention to larger stones applies to the cutting and polishing processes as well. It is easier to find larger diamonds and gemstones that are cut in facilities in China, India, Canada, Belgium, Israel, the US, and elsewhere that have high or extremely high standards for worker health, safety, well being, and compensation. It is easier to cover the higher costs of ethical sourcing with these large, very valuable precious gemstones. Likewise, it is more difficult to find small, and therefore less valuable, stones that are ethically mined, cut and polished because it is often not seen as cost effective (see our article on Stone Cutting and Polishing).
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New images of recent custom work are now up on our website! Here are a few of our favorites: