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Once upon a time, diamonds were the gold standard in the engagement ring industry and the most desirable of all stones, but in recent years they’ve fallen behind more sustainable and affordable stones. One reason: increasing awareness of the role conflict plays in sourcing diamonds. Buyers don’t want to play a role in that violence.

Luckily for the diamond industry, big data may have found a solution to the diamond’s decline. By providing reliable stone tracking, buyers can be certain they’re acquiring ethical gems with no conflict history.

Beyond The Kimberley Process

For the past 17 years, the diamond industry has relied primarily on the Kimberley Process, a UN-based process for removing conflict diamonds from the global sale chain. It’s a good system but relies on government buy-in and a narrow definition of what constitutes a conflict diamond. By embracing more extensive digital documentation, however, buyers can be certain their diamonds are actually ethical.

Overall, the Kimberley Process doesn’t provide much information about diamond provenance, which is the heart of ethical purchasing. Vintage stone vendors often rely on other distinguishing elements when tracking provenance, such as obvious old mine and old European cuts, to determine whether the stone should be considered ethical. These nebulous …

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