While it is true that anyone with the proper equipment could mark
any diamond as a Canadian diamond, the reality is that there are
licensed Canadian diamond dealers and they are selling Canadian
product only. At some point you have to trust your suppliers. After
all, this entire business is built on trust. I can get any
wholesaler in the country to send me tens of thousands of dollars
worth of merchandise on trust only (well that and a good JBT rating).
Diamonds worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have often been
traded back and forth with only a handshake, and for the most part
this system has always worked because our entire industry is built on
Trust, however, is different than some of the ethical issues that
crop up. While everyone has their own approach to these matters I
think it is necessary for us to look at the history of gem materials,
before we decide to stop selling products that are deemed ethically
unclean. Historically, anything of high value, that is easily
portable, and beautiful to boot has inspired wars, conflict, murders
and theft. They have also saved many people. Jews running from
Hitler and Nazi Germany were often only able to get their jewelry
out, which they then sold to help support themselves. The reason
that the NGOs went after the diamond business (i.e. selling conflict
diamonds) is because it was an easy target. Do you see them going
after the companies that supply the rebels in Africa with weapons
after they have raised money by selling the diamonds? Of course not.
If you are a jeweler you will almost always be working with a
product that is high value and may have some unsavory history related
to it. How do you know that the refined gold you are using hadn’t
been part of some old piece that someone stole from someone else, or
that someone stole from a mine?, or killed someone to steal it from?
How do you know that the ruby you are setting today wasn’t actually
mined thousands of years ago by a slave? This is both the downside
and the upside of this business. Personally I have always been
intrigued by this idea of not actually knowing who’s hands my raw
materials have been touched by. It also adds an air of mystery that
can be communicated to the customer. If these issues bother you so
much then perhaps you are in the wrong line of work.
Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140