Are Blue Nile Diamonds Conflict Free? (Detailed Analysis)

Wondering is Blue Nile sells conflict free diamonds?

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In this Learning Jewelry guide you'll learn:

  • Does Blue Nile source diamonds responsibly?
  • Where Blue Nile sources diamonds
  • How to check everything for yourself
  • And much more...
Blue Nile Conflict Free

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Does Blue Nile Source Conflict Free Diamonds?

There are few industries that have come under as much scrutiny as the diamond industry. Plenty of movies now have been made that highlight the moral, economic, and political conflicts of the diamond industry. 

Most people know now that the De Beers corporation has something to do with it and that most of the conflict happens in Africa, but there is a lack of clarity about what conflict free actually means.

Often referred to as the 5th C in the 4 C’s of a diamonds purity, Conflict free essentially means that the diamonds are ethically mined and that their sale in no way funds criminal organizations, war, or terrorist activities. All in all, it was estimated in the 1990s that 4% of the worlds diamond population were conflict diamonds. Industry standards and public pressure have arguably dropped that to 1%.  

It is important therefore to know if the diamond that you are buying to show your love or appreciation to someone comes clean and conflict free. But how do you do that?

Most companies will publicly state if they a conflict free provider of diamonds. Blue Nile does declare this. While this is a good start, it is important to do further research to make sure that this is not just good P.R.  

Three great ways to continue research is to:

  • Look at where Blue Nile sources their diamonds
  • Find out if they adhere to the Kimberly Process (more on that later)
  • Look through others’ reviews and research into the companies practices as well

After doing our due diligence, it appears that Blue Nile is as close as it gets to conflict free though it is difficult to be 100% certain of any diamond.

Where Does Blue Nile Source Their Diamonds?

Blue Nile sources their diamonds through global suppliers that adhere to the conflict-free Kimberly Process which is a U.N. mandated process which tracks diamonds from mine to market.  They claim to have a zero-tolerance policy for their suppliers and will end a relationship and warranty any diamonds that may have a suspicion of not living up to the standard.

Most of the diamonds that they source come from mines in Australia, Russia, Africa, and Canada.  After the alert in regards to Zimbabwe’s Marange district came out, Blue Nile severed all ties to any diamonds or suppliers from that region.  

It has been noted that some of the Canadian diamonds labeled as Canadian may, in fact, be from other areas of the world and imported to Canada where there is a bit less scrutiny than Africa or other regions.  Once there they start a new life at the mines and then adhere to the Kimberly process. These claims are built mostly upon speculation, but it is important to pay attention to any potential red flags.  

Blue Nile claims a position on Responsible mining that is admirable.  They not only focus on conflict free diamonds but want to make sure that their gold and metals all come from high-quality suppliers that place human rights and the environment in front of higher profits.  They actively prefer metal suppliers that adhere to stricter standards for mining.

Unfortunately, since Blue Nile is an online medium between suppliers and consumers, Blue Nile often has to rely upon the reported standards of the suppliers that they work with.  Those suppliers are held to outside standards that are enforced and with Blue Nile’s zero tolerance policy it would be a risk to lie about their sourcing. Still, there is only so much of a guarantee that Blue Nile can give when it comes to the integrity and the ethics of their diamonds and jewelry.

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How to Check if Blue Nile Jewelry is Conflict Free?

How to Check if Blue Nile Jewelry is Conflict Free

As mentioned, one of the best ways to check if any company is conflict free is to see if they adhere to the Kimberly Process.  This international process came about after the 1990’s revelations that many civil wars and guerilla wars in Africa were being funded by abysmal mining standards and that diamond purchases were fueling terrorist activities.

Enacted by the U.N. the diamond industry polices itself to make sure that all suppliers up and down the chain who hold themselves to the Kimberly Process track diamonds from mine to market.  Since it is self-policed, there is room for doubt at times, but most of the world’s markets are very strict about avoiding what are now called “blood diamonds.”  

The U.S. stops all diamonds at ports of entry to ensure that the diamonds have the proper paperwork and licensing to ensure that all suppliers involved adhered to the Kimberly Process.  The other way is to get into contact with the actual suppliers of the diamonds themselves. It is important to know though that the Kimberly Process is self-reported until an outside audit is conducted.  

A safe way to avoid suspicion of any diamond supplies is to reject diamonds from areas that have been identified as risks for unethical mining processes.  Blue Nile did this recently with certain regions of Zimbabwe.  

Insiders of the diamond industry will still object that some suppliers skirt the line to increase profit margins.  More and more though, large stores like Blue Nile are cutting off relationships that seem like they could be involved with conflict diamonds.  

Blue Nile takes it even a step further and warranties any diamond that they may have sold if it comes under suspicion that the diamond may have been a conflict diamond.  If a region comes under question, then diamonds sourced from that region can be recalled and replaced.

In general, the best way to check if Blue Nile diamonds are conflict free is to see what their policies are, if they uphold the Kimberly Process, if they warranty any questionable diamonds later on, and if they conduct audits of their suppliers.

Blue Nile have publicly stated a zero tolerance policy when it comes to conflict free diamonds.  Not only for themselves but for all of their suppliers in the supply chain. They do hold a warranty for any conflict diamonds that may have passed through their hands so that their mistake does not become your mistake.  They state that they audit their suppliers to make sure how much they adhere to the Kimberly Process, but it is unclear how thorough of an audit they actually conduct.

Besides mining the diamond and setting it itself, Blue Nile seems to hold the line fairly well when it comes to conflict free diamonds that make memories and occasions special.  There should be little reason to think that your purchase would be an occasion for guilt. Again, while there are standards, warranties, and guarantees expressed, there are very few ways to know for sure.

Online research has brought into question one of the Canadian suppliers, though the suspicion itself is suspect as there is very little evidence other than a few phone conversations.  The results were based upon inference and speculation. There is reason to pause for suspicion as conflict diamonds are a terrible reality. It is important to remember though that conflict diamonds were reported to only be 4% of the worlds diamond population and new estimates under greater international scrutiny have dropped that number down to 1%.  

The diamond is still considered one of the precious stones in the world that make any occasion or piece of jewelry dazzling.  There should be no reason for the dazzling light to be darkened by any conflict. The Kimberly Process, companies and suppliers that adhere to it and company standards are helping to make this a reality.  It is important for every consumer to ask and show companies like Blue Nile these standards continue to matter to us and will continue to matter into the future from here on out.

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