Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity
  • PriceScope will be conducting a server maintenance April 13th about @ 1 am CST.

    It will includes bug fixes, and security updates.
    If all goes well, the forum should only be down for about 3 hour.
    We apologize for any inconvenience.

Avoiding unjust diamonds - buy Canadian?

Status
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.

jpdoane

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2003
Messages
53
I am looking at getting engaged soon, and am therefore in the market for a diamond. Both my girlfriend and I are concerned about the diamond market, however, due to conflict diamonds and the human rights concerns of most diamond sources (horrible conditions for miners, diamond cutting sweat shops, etc).

I have three questions therefore.

1) How significant are these issues? Do 60% or so of diamonds really come from child labor sweat shops in India? Are african miners really subjected to horrible conditions? I know ''conflict diamonds'' are only about 4% of the rocks out there, but how ''just'' are the rest of the diamonds?

2) How do I go about avoiding this? I know I can buy Canadian, but are there other options? Is there any way to be sure (or relatively sure) of a stones origin, and know that people were not taken advantage of?

3) I have had a very difficult time trying to price Canadian diamonds out. For this forum, people say that Canadian diamonds come with around 10-15% premium. I am willing to pay that if I have to, given the above concerns. However, all the prices I have gotten so far have been 40-60% higher than what I see on bluenile.com or on the price calculator at diamondreview.com (Yes, I figured in the conversion to USD and the 10% lux tax).

Quotes for canadian stones I have got:
.5ct ''ideal'' Princess g/vs1 $2380 USD (65% over $1444 from diamondreview.com)
.58ct ''ideal'' Princess f/vs2 $2580 USD(45% over $1778 from diamondreview.com)
.53ct ''ideal'' Princess e/vs2 $2478 USD(37% over $1808 from diamondreview.com)

Also, all the stones I have been quoted are supposadly ''ideal cut'' (I am looking for a princess cut), but when I ask what the criteria for that is, one jewler replied that she figured 60-75% table, and 65-75% depth was ideal. Although there''s no standard, according to gemappraisers.com, that goes down to a Class 2B pricess cut (hardly ''ideal''). I also was told that repudable jewlers don''t carry anything less than ideal. Is this just a Canadian thing? Are all canadian diamonds cut ''ideally''? And what exactly does this mean, given there''s no standard for Princess cut diamonds?

It seems like I''m being taken. Any help from out there? Am I just dealing with horribly overpriced dealers, or is this what I should expect for Canadian stones?
 

Paul-Antwerp

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Sep 2, 2002
Messages
2,840
I will try to give you some background, which will answer most of your questions. With so many questions, however, please understand that some will be left unanswered.

Your first problem seems to be child labour and/or exploitation of cutters in cheap-labour-countries. Well, in a previous job, I have visited a very high number of diamond cutting factories in Asia. I have never witnessed any child labour there, and I am sure that it was not hidden for me. There might be some very small workshops, that do work with children, but they surely are an extremely small minority in diamond cutting.

In all the reports and documentaries, that I have read or seen, I was shown children cutting gemstones (not diamonds), while the reporter tried to sell it as child labour in diamond cutting.

This also makes sense: diamonds (also rough stones) are very expensive, and to cut them takes training, a sense of responsibility, and no owner in his right mind would ever resort to child labour, just to save a cent on the cutting cost, while losing hundreds of dollars on the final value of the stone. In general, the Asian diamond cutting factories are well-paying units, who bring work and prosperity to a high number of people in these countries.

As for conflict diamonds, the issue has become even less important with a lot of the conflicts being resolved, and the new import- and export rules of the Kimberley Process.

The working conditions of African miners are generally unknown to me. I know that in some diamond areas, the situation seems similar to that of the goldrush, while in other areas, mining is very industrialised.

If you want to be sure about a diamond's origin, basically, your only option is a Canadian diamond or maybe the Rand-diamond from South Africa. However, if I buy Canadian rough here in Antwerp, I will not be able to prove to you that the resulting stone is indeed of Canadian origin. A true Canadian cert of origin is only given if the stone is also cut in Canada. In a way, this is a protective measure of Canada, in order to support a new Canadian cutting industry. The mines need to make sure that these cutters are supplied with rough, and as such, the cutters get a price and quality advantage over the rest of us. A similar system is used in South Africa, and the Russian system is even more restrictive.

I have no idea about the current premium for finished Canadian diamonds, but this premium is based solely on blackening the image of the rest of the trade and their product. I for one think that this is a sorry way of competing.

Some food for thought, I should think,

Take care,

Paul
 

jpdoane

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2003
Messages
53
Thanks for the info.
Does anybody have any more details about the issue of labor conditions in the diamond industry?
How about the issues with Canadian diamond prices?
 

dimonbob

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 12, 2000
Messages
670
I will answer one small part of the original question.
I have been to several mining area in Africa. I have been down into diamond mines, gold miles, copper mines and others. Mining is a hard, hot, dirty and dangerous. The diamond miners are paid well, housed, fed and given medical attention if needed. They sign on for a period of time and can quit at the end of that time. They are not mistreated by the owners of the mine. If there is mistreatment it is usually between the miners themselves. If there is a bully or troublemaker, he is expelled from the mines and is not welcome back.
 

winyan

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 9, 2003
Messages
1,163
What about conditions in the Argyle? I would think that would be another source of conflict free diamonds.

win
 

jpdoane

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2003
Messages
53
The Argyle? I'm not familiar with it. Where is it, and who carries such diamonds?
THanks
-Jon
 

mike04456

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 20, 2002
Messages
1,441
I will second what Paul and Bob said. Diamond mining and manufacturing is a highly-skilled, and in the case of mining, very dangerous, trade that cannot be conducted effectively with child or slave labor. It typically takes up to two years to learn how to cut diamonds, and children simply do not have the strength and stamina to work in an underground diamond mine. I suspect there are children working some alluvial (river) deposits in various places, but that is a far simpler, easier, safer method and one that is usually a family operation at that level.

The diamond industry in Africa and Asia provides an enormous amount of prosperity in areas (such as Botswana and Namibia) where there are few other opportunities. The working conditions may not be wonderful by first world standards but they are hardly sweatshops. It is unfair to tar these hard-working people with the misdeeds of a few terrorists and barbaric warlords. A wholesale dismissal of diamonds coming from outside Canada is unfair and likely to do more harm than good.

If you want to be sure you're not getting conflict diamonds, the best thing is simply ask your vendor what he knows about the Kimberley Process and what he and his suppliers are doing to comply with it. You have the right to ask to see Kimberley certificates and vendors are supposed to keep them on file.
 

winyan

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 9, 2003
Messages
1,163
Hi Jon

The Argyle mine is in Australia. I have seen Argyle diamonds on the net, I'm not sure what B&M also carries them.

win
 

trichrome

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2002
Messages
397
Good question

Since i'm canadian, maybe I can help you.
Canadian diamonds (mined & cut here in Canada) are pretty rare
these days...So that's why you're paying a premium.

There are so rare that for example, here in Montreal,
there's only 1 jeweler who's selling them....so of course,
he knows that...and the price is pretty high.

However, many mines will open soon in Canada & I'm pretty sure
you'll see prices go down.

Ekati diamonds are Ideal Cuts (AGS0) & come with an AGS Cert

Trichrome.
 

oshilig

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 16, 2005
Messages
12
Date: 6/12/2003 4:19
6 PM
Author: Furthermore
Ekati diamonds are very rare at the moment and you`ll pay a premium for them. The mining operation is very small and there`s only a small cutting community based up in Yellowknife at the moment.

For several years now, the Canadian diamond industry has been saying that it`ll outstrip production in several countries - it probably has the potential to become large scale, but at the moment, Canadian diamonds are a rarity. Bear in mind that any diamonds mined and cut in the first world are naturally going to be expensive.

Child labour is not a problem in the diamond industry, for reasons discussed above, and generally, although wages for miners and cutters in third world countries don`t compare to those given in the West, most miners and cutters get a very good salary compared to the average worker where they come from - otherwise no-one would go mining, and if an employer pays someone a pittance to cut a stone... the result will be a badly cut stone with the profits gone out of it.

Really, any third world worker will be very glad for you to buy their diamonds as it ensures them a living. Most of the issues regarding conflict diamonds have - as mentioned above - been resolved. I think you can buy ''normal'' diamonds and have a sound enough conscience.

Best regards
Furthermore
I''m going to have to disagree with the general sentiment above that international trade of diamonds is risk free now-a-days. Check out this post,

https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/yesterday-i-learned-that-a-lot-of-hiv-cases-were-spread-at-diamond-mines-in-s-africa.17112/

The idea that "any third world worker will be very glad for you to buy their diamonds as it ensures them a living" is simplistic, and smacks of exploitation.
 

Lord Summerisle

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 14, 2004
Messages
866
Date: 6/11/2003 4:10:10 PM
Author: Paul-Antwerp
I have no idea about the current premium for finished Canadian diamonds, but this premium is based solely on blackening the image of the rest of the trade and their product. I for one think that this is a sorry way of competing.
Hey it works for Tiffany & Co.















Ok im done with the can opener, anyone else want it?
 

valeria101

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 29, 2003
Messages
15,809

At least the Kimberly process approaches a real problem - conflict funding.



If the Canadians were so concerned with giving an option out of wrongdoing, why are they making the right choice sooooo hard (= expensive) ? I do not think they have any moral ground - that's a business and nothing more. They could be adding a charity charge to their diamonds - it's not even that. The added value goes to them without benefiting any moral goal.

Cheap labor on the international market can only be a threat, and the Canada Mark is a knee-jerk response to that threat. What makes it different ?

And it is not that the "Canada Mark" branding keeps off competition through lower labor costs (actually, given their prices there could be competition at higher prices than that). But any kind of competition. "Canada Mark" is a self-styled geographical monopole. The sort of which EU regions are fighting for. From my part, long life to both ! That they live long and prosper - if possible. By keeping some prices up, such ventures bring all prices up - and that can only be a good thing.



That they have some sort of high moral ground under their feet ? C'mon... That's a firm selling diamonds, not salvation. Although that used to be sold as well.



This is an awfully old thread..


 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

Super_Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
14,931
My take on this issue is that if you really care about the desperate plight of Africa then you would not buy a canadian diamond and therefore contribute to devaluing diamonds from Africa.

I have just read for the first time an S African minister referring to 'development diamonds'.

The media and NGO's continue to brainwash people - it is time for a 180 degree turn around - and help Africans develop the trade they need to bring themselves from 4th world to 3rd world status.

Aid does nothing. Development is what they need.
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
personally, i''d go with the australian diamond...gets around the issues.

peace, movie zombie
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

Super_Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
14,931
Date: 4/16/2005 12:41:29 PM
Author: oshilig


The idea that ''any third world worker will be very glad for you to buy their diamonds as it ensures them a living'' is simplistic, and smacks of exploitation.
You are right Oshling, we should leave the poor people in their malarial swamps growing cotton and foods that we in the west place huge tarrifs on.
And it is only fair that cotton farmers in the US should have subsidies that are greater than the price of their produce to stop those nasty little poor people undercutting them.
If we had a lot more exploitation in africa then they might end up with some infrastructure that enabled them to trade viably. It is just that type of development that is enabling India and China to cast off their third world shackles. And sure - there is plenty of inequality - the rich get richer etc - but the poor are not getting poorer - they are gettting jobs - and starvation is being reduced.

I would far sooner teach a man to fish than give him food.
 
Status
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top