photo by Pennsylvania wedding photographer Kathy Martin

Have you ever heard of “blood diamonds”? Or perhaps you saw the popular movie Blood Diamond with Leonardo DiCaprio. The term blood diamond refer to diamonds that are mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency or the abhorrent activity of a warlord (typically in Africa). While jewelers have adopted much stricter standards to ensure they purchase only conflict-free diamonds, it’s still a good idea to do your homework. Here’s what you and your fiance need to know and ask to guarantee you end up with conflict-free diamond and a clear conscience.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme – In 2002, the United Nations developed a system designed to end the practice of diamond trading for suspicious means. The scheme provides regulations and requirements countries must adhere to in order to ensure a diamond is mined and shipped in a humane, legal manner. A Kimberley Process certificate is sent with each diamond that meets the regulations and when you go to purchase a diamond, the jeweler should be able to produce the certificate. If not, be dubious of its origin.

Ask for Certification -A good, reputable jeweler should be able to tell you the history of any diamond you are considering and guarantee that it is from sources free of conflict. Inquire about the stone’s System of Warranties statement, which is a warranty on diamond invoices that is required every time a diamond changes hands and states that the diamond is in fact conflict-free.

Shop Around – You may consider shopping with jewelers that specialize in conflict-free jewelry, such as Brilliant Earth or Pristine Planet. These companies deal exclusively with suppliers that mind diamonds in an environmentally-friendly and conflict-free way.

Conflict-Diamond Policy – Make sure any jeweler you are considering purchasing from has a company policy on conflict diamonds. Only shop with suppliers that can guarantee the sell only conflict-free diamonds.

Ask Questions – Where do you diamonds come from? Can I see your company policy on conflict diamonds and certification? How can I be sure your diamonds are conflict-free? The most important thing is to keep asking questions until you feel comfortable.