Charles G. Taylor’s 50-year sentence Upheld

By admin on September 30, 2013 at 11:36 am

A panel of judges have upheld the 50-year sentence of Charles G. Taylor, former president of Liberia, who was found guilty on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including using child soldiers, acts of terrorism, murder, rape, and the mining of diamonds to pay for guns and ammunition.

Read more here.

BN No Longer Offers Diamonds Based on Kimberley Certification

By Alyssa on September 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm

A couple of months ago we posted an article about Kimberley Certified diamonds here. Our goal in writing that article was to give our customers the power to choose a product that was right for them by providing information and transparency on diamond industry issues. At that point in time Bario Neal still offered diamonds that came only with a Kimberley Certificate. Since then, Bario Neal has changed its policy on ethical diamonds, and only carries diamonds that have additional criteria proving their ethicality. This decision is based on a great deal of information that has come to light over the past few years supporting the fact that a KP certificate fails to prove that a diamond is truly conflict-free. As an ethical jewelry company, we feel it is our duty to uphold the highest standards of ethics. We no longer feel the KP meets those standards, nor do we trust that a Kimberley Certificate alone is enough to ensure that a diamond is conflict-free.

The KP is a faulty system, but it was also the first system created to prevent the trade of conflict diamonds. It is a label that people have, and continue to, identify with “conflict-free.” Many reliable sources for ethical diamonds continue to use KP certificates in addition to their assiduous dedication to transparency and broader definitions of “ethical” and “conflict-free,” such as Kalahari Diamonds and select rough diamonds that are traced from mine to market. In response, Bario Neal now offers traceable, ethical diamonds from trusted, conflict-free sources that also come with Kimberley Certificates, but we no longer carry diamonds that come only with KP certificates.

Continue reading BN No Longer Offers Diamonds Based on Kimberley Certification

Iquira-ARM Fairmined Gold Workshop, Part 2: Mining Conditions

By Alyssa on September 4, 2013 at 11:58 am

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stones containing gold from the mines in Iquira, Colombia

To refresh our memories, BN co-founder Anna Bario traveled to Colombia last fall to attend a workshop held by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) to provide an insider’s perspective on the Cooperativa Multiactiva Agrominera del Municipio de Iquira, which is Fairmined certified. This Cooperative was formed in the early 2000’s when interest rose in the gold, and to a lesser extent silver and copper, deposits in Iquira, Colombia. Previously the economy had been based largely on coffee farming, but with the new economic potential, some farmers began splitting their time between artisanal mining and farming. With great foresight, the surrounding community formed the Cooperative to protect the area and its citizens, with the common understanding that artisanal mining can have negative effects on the environment and local community. Since the Cooperative’s founding, the gold mining operation has achieved Fairmined certification. Anna’s goal in attending this workshop was to gain a first hand understanding of the mining operations carried out in Iquira, particularly how Fairmined certification works in practice. Our goal in offering you this information is to maintain our promise to transparency, giving you the power to make informed decisions about your purchases. 

This second installment of the Iquira-ARM Fairmined Workshop takes a look inside the mining tunnels, with a focus on worker health and safety and environmental stewardship. After a presentation from the Iquira Cooperative and a bumpy climb up a steep mountainside, Anna toured the inside of two of the 13 active mining tunnels with a group of miners from other mines in Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru who are working towards Fairmined certification. Each tunnel winds through about 100 meters into the mountainside, following veins of ore. At the mercy of these veins, some tunnels have several shafts that travel vertically, in addition to laterally, and have up to four vertical levels reachable by wooden ladder.

ladder to upper shaft

vertical ladders enable workers to access upper level mining shafts Continue reading Iquira-ARM Fairmined Gold Workshop, Part 2: Mining Conditions