40% of all diamonds sold at U.S. retail directly fund Putin's government.
That's because the diamonds from Russia -- labelled "conflict free" by the diamond industry -- are mined by a company owned by the Russian government.
Tiffany & Co does not disclose that fact. Neither do other U.S. retailers.
Of course, Vladimir Putin was elected by the Russian people and is supported by the President that the American people elected. So purchasing diamonds from Russia is a good way to show your support for Putin and his government.
Purchasing Russian diamonds translates into $5.2 billion in revenues to the government of Russia, with $2.3 billion in profit. When you buy a Russian diamond from a U.S. retailer—from your local mall to Fifth Avenue—you are helping the Russian government.
There are advocates for stopping to buy Russian diamonds. But even if those tried, they would not be able to.
Why not? It could have something to do with the fact that the RJC isn’t a watchdog organization so much as an industry trade group, boasting a board made up largely of miners, including Russia’s largest diamond mining company. The RJC has been controversial since its inception,
drawing complaints of industry-friendly standards from groups like Earthworks, United
Steelworkers, and Mining Watch Canada. Human Rights Watch said that the RJC’s Code of
Practice “risks becoming a weak voluntary standard that falls short of international legal
standards and international norms.”
Consumers deserve to know where their diamonds are coming from and where their money is
going. Buying, giving, or receiving a diamond is an unforgettable moment in a person’s life, and
you should be able to experience it without worrying that you’re funding human rights abuses,
arming militants, or subsidizing election fraud here in the United States. We need to demand
that the retailers label the origin of a diamond so people can make informed decisions.
- RJC Board https://www.responsiblejewellery.com/about-rjc/governance/
- The RJC is a trade organization a la the NRA, composed of companies “such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Tiffany & Co and Cartier, as well as trade associations such as Jewelers of America.” https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/responsible-jewellery-council-ethical-standards
- RJC does not disclose country of origin. https://www.responsiblejewellery.com/members/chain-of-custody-certified-entities/
- RJC cited by HRC: https://www.hrw.org/news/2013/07/02/human-rights-watch-comments-responsible-jewellery-councils-code -practices
- Broad accusations of all kinds of misconduct, and being a captured agency: https://earthworks.org/publications/more_shine_than_substance/
- Broad backup for a lot of the above, specifically the controversy about how toothless the RJC is: https://www.diamonds.pro/education/ethical-diamonds-conscientious-consumers-need-know/
- RJC certifies Alrosa: https://www.thediamondloupe.com/articles/2017-12-12/alrosa-becomes-certified-member-responsible-jew ellery-council
- Chairman of the RJC leads a company that bought stolen gold from rebels in the DRC. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/litigation/trial-v-argor-heraeus-sa