“Ethical diamonds” is a phrase that is on many people’s lips right now. We live in a world where sustainability and ethics are becoming increasingly important to consumers, and rightfully so. For far too long, large corporations have pulled the wool over consumers’ eyes regarding product origins, manufacturing practices and environmental impacts. Natural diamonds have been in the spotlight for many decades, and when you see claims about “ethical diamonds”, it’s important to understand what the phrase really means (and how some companies deliberately misuse the phrase to confuse you).

What is the true meaning of ethical diamonds?

Ethical diamonds are those that are sourced and produced in a manner that minimises harm to the environment and respects the rights and well-being of workers and local communities. The true meaning of ethical diamonds goes beyond the absence of conflict or human rights abuses and encompasses a holistic approach that considers social, environmental, and economic factors. Ethical diamond companies prioritise sustainability, fair labour practices, and community development.

Diamond polishing in South Africa

Polishing natural diamonds in a local diamond cutting works in Johannesburg, South Africa.

What are “blood diamonds”?

The term “blood diamonds” is a colloquial term (popularised by the 2006 Leonardo diCaprio film) that refers to “conflict diamonds”. The term gained prominence in the early 2000s when the public became aware of the issue of diamonds that were mined in war zones and used to finance armed conflicts against governments, most notably in countries like Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, CAR, DRC, and Angola. Conflict-free diamonds are those that are not associated with violence, human rights abuses, or armed conflicts. In response to this issue, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was established in 2003 to regulate the diamond trade and ensure that diamonds are sourced from legitimate sources and not used to fund conflicts. Now, 20 years after the implementation of the KPCS, the phrase “blood diamonds” can be considered virtually obsolete.

What are “conflict-free” diamonds?

Conflict-free diamonds are those that are not associated with violence, human rights abuses, or armed conflicts. With the implementation of the Kimberley Process and the cessation of civil wars in Africa, virtually all natural diamonds are now conflict-free. It is important to note that South African diamonds have always been conflict-free.


An ethically mined, cut and polished diamond from South Africa, certified as part of the GIA’s Diamond Origin Report process.

Are there environmental impacts when mining natural diamonds?

Can diamond mining result in environmental damage? It can, yes. Then again, so can the mining of any gemstone or metal. Any mining industry, whether it be gold, platinum, coal, sapphires, rubies, or diamonds will have some impact on the environment surrounding the mine. Ethical mining companies invest significant financial amounts in minimising environmental disruptions, rehabilitating the natural environment, and managing post-mining land use and socio-economic plans for communities. You cannot be genuinely concerned about the environmental impacts of natural diamond mining without equally considering the environmental impacts of gold, silver, or platinum mining.

Are natural diamonds ethical?

Yes, yes, and yes! Currently, customers are being misled by claims of lab-grown diamonds being ethical because it implies that natural diamonds are unethical. This is not the case at all. Natural diamonds are indeed ethical and, in many cases communities and countries rely heavily on the natural diamond industry for job creation, education, health care and skill set development. In 2022, Botswana produced 24,5 million carats of natural diamonds, with an export value of $4,96 billion. Can you imagine the catastrophic financial effect on the country if natural diamond mining were to cease?

Local ethical diamond beneficiation in South Africa

Skilled diamond polishers at work in Johannesburg, South Africa. By buying natural diamonds that are mined, cut and polished in South Africa, you’re making a direct contribution to the South African economy, skills development and beneficiation programmes. When you purchase lab-grown diamonds, you’re contributing mostly to Asian economies, with little to no direct benefit for the South African communities or the economy.

At Katannuta Diamonds, we work closely with local South African diamond cutting and polishing factories. Many of the diamonds we supply are mined, cut, and polished in South Africa, making a direct contribution to our own economy. You can be sure that when you buy a natural diamond from Katannuta Diamonds, you’re buying an ethical and conflict-free diamond. Contact us via our website, WhatsApp, or social media to enquire about currently available natural diamond stock.