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OTHER ITA SITES:
The Ethics Of A Diamond Engagement Ring
The diamond engagement ring is perhaps the most widely used symbol in the world for love and commitment. The engagement ring suggests an upcoming marriage and the diamond evokes thoughts of true love and even complete adoration.
Mary of Burgundy is the first woman we know of to have received a diamond engagement ring. This took place in 1477 when Archduke Maximillian of Austria asked for her hand. This practice did not immediately become common however. Giving presents with precious gems on gold or silver remained largely an activity among the aristocracy. It was only in the twentieth century that the idea began to spread among common people. This might be largely due to a very successful marketing campaign for diamonds by DeBeers. Their advertising campaign coined the term “A Diamond is Forever.” Other expressions have followed such as “a diamond is a girl’s best friend.” The DeBeers marketing campaign was so successful that in western society it is now an extremely common practice to offer a diamond ring with a proposal of marriage.
In the last ten years, more and more information has surfaced about the harsh realities of the diamond trade. Conflict diamonds and blood diamonds are terms used to describe diamonds which may have been mined by poorly paid miners and even slaves in some cases and to describe diamonds from regions in which the diamond trade is used to fund weapons for war. This knowledge removes the romance associated with diamonds.
However what this information has also done is bring to light the fact that some diamonds are mined in ethical ways. These are now called ethical diamonds. A wonderful example is the diamond trade in the Canadian Northwest Territories. The diamond miners and other workers are mainly Inuit. They have been professionally trained and earn fair salaries with excellent company benefits. The diamond trade has drastically changed the Inuit way of life as the salaries earned have had a ricochet effect which has impacted the entire region for the better.
People all over the world are now asking about provenance which means where the diamond has been mined. Requests for Canadian diamonds have reached an all time high. Buying an engagement ring with a Canadian diamond is one way to bring romance back to the symbol of romance which had been losing its appeal due to the very real stories about the diamond trade. As well as mining, the Inuit people have been trained in diamond cutting by the people of Georgia who are claimed to be the best in the world.
There is no doubt that receiving a diamond engagement ring that has a diamond which has been ethically mined is more romantic than receiving a conflict diamond. Knowing that there is an association of people suffering and dying with the diamond you are wearing is probably as unromantic as you can get. On the other hand, knowing that the purchase of your diamond has helped an entire group of people who had many injustices done to them in the past is romantic. Knowing that as a result of this diamond trade they are now part of a lively and growing prosperous community is actually ultra romantic.
A diamond engagement ring which can be accepted lovingly and totally free of guilt remains a beautiful way to show commitment.
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Travel Part B