Namibian Kalahari Diamonds
The Current Best Choice In A Fair Trade Diamond Diamonds are mined by either medium or large scale companies that employ relatively few people, or by numerous small scale miners around the world who live marginal existences. One of the most difficult accomplishments in the diamond supply chain is creating stronger local economies in the diamond mining areas through what is known as beneficiation, which in the diamond sector represents a best practice.
One of the nations where this has happened is Namibia, a country about half the size of Alaska, in Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean. It is mostly desert and its population just over two million depend upon its extractive industries, particularly because it has very little farmland.
In the past, all diamonds taken from Namibia were cut in other parts of the world. Now, it is possible to purchase a diamond mined and cut in this economically and politically stable African country with an organized diamond polishing industry. These are branded as Kalahari Diamonds.
The cutting and polishing of the Kalahari diamond is a ground breaking initiative that allows more money and well paying jobs to strengthen their local economy. The polishing facility where we source our diamonds supports over 100 workers. It represents a functional example of skill transfer, job creation and economic empowerment. In general, workers in the diamond industry earn twice the national salary average which is profound in a country with a relatively small population.
In the past, diamond companies have been reluctant to create these types of projects because they require huge new investments in training and infrastructure. The initiative has been developed by a company which purchases unpolished diamonds from a mine owned by DeBeers located in Namibia. The environmental responsibility of the mine is third party verified by SGS whose verification is further reviewed by URS.
The company involved in this project, Finesse, is very forward thinking and dedicated to creating a better situation in Africa. Because the diamonds are mined responsibly, they are more expensive. Their polishing operations are costly as well, especially compared to selling diamonds polished in sweatshops in India or China. Yet in the end, the Kalahari Namibian diamonds are completely competitive in the marketplace.
Third party certified fair trade diamonds do not yet exist. Diamond mining has its impact and with so much attention placed on conflict diamonds from Africa, many people wanting a "conflict free" diamond choose Canada. That is a mistake. Many countries in Africa needs diamond business in order to provide even basic services to their citizens. Among all projects in Africa, the Kalahari diamond stands out.
The selection of Kalahari diamonds tends to be smaller and range toward pieces over one half carat. But we recommend diamonds from this project above all other choices. It is an excellent project that deserves market support.
Read our interview with Alex Twesky, President of Finesse Diamonds, who describes how difficult it was to set this up beneficiation, and how he did it for you, who is reading this text..