When I was expecting, my then-boyfriend/would-be husband and I talked about getting married. We talked about all the different ways it would impact us from taxes to the fact that I was already overwhelmed enough and didn’t want to walk down the aisle pregnant.
We also talked about engagement rings. He wanted to get me something really nice, so he wanted to save up for it.
Which he did.
He also told me he didn’t want to get me a diamond.
He pointed to a Leonardo DiCaprio movie sitting on the bookshelf.
“Blood diamonds,” he said. “Do you really want to wear something on your finger for the rest of your life knowing that’s where it came from?”
I pointed out that there were ethical ones, and he pointed out that you can’t be sure that the sourcing of the stone wasn’t lied about somewhere along the way. They very easily could have come from slave labor or horrific working conditions or child miners. Or a mix of all three.
“That’s fine,” I said. And it really was. “I’m totally cool with a stone sourced locally–it doesn’t even have to be a gemstone. I’ll show you some of the ones I like. You won’t have to save up for as long, either.”
Eventually, he ended up deciding that he’d try to buy ethical, but he did want to buy a diamond. He thought that everyone would judge him for the rest of our lives because his wife didn’t have a diamond on her finger.
I told him that was stupid, but this was his thing. So I let it be.
The Gold Standard of Conflict-Free Diamonds
He was told the ring was ethically sourced–that conflict-free was the only way the jewelry chain rolled.
But we still don’t really know. It’s incredibly uncomfortable to think about. More than uncomfortable.
What we didn’t know then was that there actually is a way to be sure you’re getting a conflict-free diamond. You can do it by making sure your stone is a CanadaMark.
Where do CanadaMark diamonds come from?
There are two CanadaMark diamond mines in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The stones are mined by workers who make a fair wage. CanadaMark works with the local communities–many of whom are Aboriginal and have a knowledge of the land like none other–to make sure they’re mining in sustainable ways, and taking care to bolster the environment rather than destroy it.
They also give back some of their profits to these communities through literacy, education, and health/wellness programs.
Yeah, but how do I know that’s where my diamond actually came from?
Fair question. This is an industry where tracking is always in question.
That’s why CanadaMark diamonds are literally stamped with a serial number. Each stone is tracked and verified by independent auditors–from mine all the way to polishing.
Okay…where do I get my ethical diamond?
CanadaMark only works with select retailers. I’m a big fan of shopping online as it can save you over fifty percent compared to shopping brick-and-mortar, but they only work with one online retailer.
If you’re going to shop online, you can find CanadaMark diamonds exclusively at James Allen. Otherwise, you have to go brick and mortar and risk paying a marked up price.
You Can Still Save Money on Conflict-Free Diamond Purchases
Just because you’re going ethical doesn’t mean you can’t save money on your engagement ring purchase. By being smart about carat size, color and clarity, you can get her a gorgeous, ethical ring at a lower price.
Currently, James Allen is running a sale of 25% off your purchase for Black Friday.
If you can’t get your money together before the end of the sale, come back. I’ve been watching them for a few years now, and they have great deals throughout the holidays. Twenty-five percent is a pretty huge one, but I’m willing to bet you’ll run into another sale if you’re still trying to get your stuff together.
But how do I really know?
The serial number is great, but only if you can verify it. Get the diamond’s history. Certify every single time it changed hands.
Luckily, you can do just that. Before you purchase the ring, you can look at the certificate on James Allen’s site. You’ll find it under the image of the diamond. You can take the serial number and carat weight and verify it with CanadaMark before you even purchase.
After you purchase the ring, you’ll be able to enter the serial number you see on the stone using the online verification code. It will be the same, but it’s always good to check.
To top it all off, James Allen has a 30-day, 100% money-back return policy—no reasons or justifications required. They even pay for return shipping. In the unlikely event you aren’t satisfied with your purchase, you can simply return it hassle-free.
Did you purchase a conflict-free diamond for your engagement? What was your experience like? Do you still have concerns like I do, having not purchased a CanadaMark? Let me know in the comments!