The ethics of bling
If you have seen the Leonardo DiCaprio film Blood Diamond, then you have a pretty good idea of where this is going. In case you haven’t, the issue at stake is where your bling hails from and the human cruelty that can be involved in the commercial production of jewelry.
Although this may seem like a miscellaneous and random thought, it’s truly an important matter and I’m about to get into the nitty-gritty details. Before you move on to your shopping spree, let’s hang out and hear me out.
Too many big-name companies are getting away with foreign production without being scrutinized about their unethical business practices. It is time to understand how much unmonitored and life-damaging jewelry production — from gold mining to child labor in diamond mines — are ruining the earth and hurting people. After all, there aren’t a pack of happy dwarves whistling and chopping away in the mines for our accessory needs. So what are the benefits of buying ethically produced jewels and whom should you be buying from?
A better world
It’s only too easy for overseas diamond and gold mines to keep their means of production under wraps. Unregulated diamond mines throw a dash of highly poisonous substances like cyanide and mercury onto their gold to keep it looking attractive and shiny, then dump it into the same water sources that people in Africa and South America drink every day. These chemicals are known to cause serious birth defects and brain cancers. If we stop buying from unregulated sources, they will have to stop polluting.
Prevention of child labor
Unless regulations are passed and enforced, the mines that produce precious gems can continue to use child labor and ignore appropriate age limitations. Not only are they employing children too young to work, they’re also threatening their lives and paying a fraction of fair wages.
Fighting for human rights
The world has always been plagued by wars and cruelty, but many countries are stepping in to aid in the fight for human rights in countries where jewelry production is most prevalent. Companies like Hearts.com, Tiffany & Co. and QVC are supporting ethical sourcing to ensure their products are made and distributed with integrity.
An opportunity to join a great cause
Before making your next jewelry purchase, check NoDirtyGold.org to find out if the prospective store is listed as a supporting retailer. You can also click on the "Take Action" tab to sign up for regular updates and find out about local events in your area that are supporting ethical retailers and producers.
The only way to stop this tragedy is to stop funding jewelry that profits from these practices. Make a change and be aware before buying your next shiny sparkler, because the discounted price may cost more than you can imagine.