We are all familiar with the song turned popular phrase, Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend. So naturally, you want to make sure that your ‘best friend’ is beautiful yet responsibly sourced. Whether you are diamond shopping for an engagement and wedding ring, or a ‘just because’ gift for yourself or someone else, do consider these options to ensure that your diamond choice is an ethical one.
1. Know the Kimberley Process
In 2003, the U.S. Government signed the Clean Diamond Trade Act, which implemented the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. The Kimberley Process unites administrations, civil societies and the industry in reducing the flow of conflict diamonds, which are also known as rough diamonds used to finance wars against governments around the world. The act requires that all diamonds imported to or from the United States have a Kimberley Process Certificate. Be sure to purchase your diamond from a jeweler that requires a mandate for this process.
Photo Courtesy of The Balance
2. Choose a Canadian Diamond
You will find that these are beautiful diamonds from the highest quality diamond mines in the frozen Canadian tundra. The pristine environment allows for some of the cleanest diamond roughs in the world. A Canadian diamond, such as Northern Lights, comes with a Certificate of Origin proving it is mined, cut and polished in Canada—which has strict environmental regulations for mining, cutting and polishing as well as a commitment to social responsibility.
3. Know Your Supplier
Know your supplier. De Beers, the world’s leading diamond company, produces Forevermark diamonds which come with a guarantee that each one was mined with stringent criteria on responsible sourcing. These diamonds are genuine, untreated and natural. Though you can’t trace your Forevermark diamond back to the exact mine where it came from, the company invests significantly in local communities by building schools and hospitals near its mines. Selected by hand, less than one percent of the world’s diamonds are eligible to become a Forevermark diamond.
Photo Courtesy of Diamond Foundry
4. Love for the Lab-Grown
Although traditional diamond mines have gone to great lengths to offset the environmental impact of mining, lab-grown diamonds’ environmental impact is significantly less than that of a mined diamond. You can, with 100 percent certainty, know the origin of your diamond with this eco-friendly option. Likewise, a lab-grown diamond has the same exceptional color, clarity, beauty and brilliance as a mined one because it is identical in composition. If you’re sensitive to how products you own are produced, as owner of a lab-grown diamond you can take pride in knowing your diamond had less impact on the Earth. This makes it an affordable and attractive option too. To explore the world of lab diamonds, click here.
After you have identified an ethically sourced diamond that you love, it's time to decide on the design of your new ring or another jewelry gift. Luckily, someone who is trying to stay eco-friendly and fashionable can have the best of both worlds with either a classic solitaire, stackable jewelry, and fancy diamond shapes — three of the hottest trends of 2017/2018.
5. Eco-friendly Classic Solitaires
When it comes to a woman's jewelry wardrobe, classic solitaries and pendants are staples. These simplistic, yet beautiful items can be found in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Classic solitaire rings, necklaces, and earrings are traditional pieces of jewelry that have made a huge comeback. Many people are looking for a clean, yet a dainty piece of jewelry that they can either wear casually or dress up for a special occasion. Solitaries are a very popular lab-grown diamond, containing the same quality of color, beauty, brilliance, and clarity as a mined diamond would have.
6. Go-green with Stackable Jewelry
Why only wear one piece of jewelry when you can show off multiple? One of the hottest trends in jewelry is layering and stacking pieces together. Whether you stack rings, necklaces, bracelets, etc. they all can make a bold statement with any outfit. Most stackable jewelry also contains mixed metals, gemstones, styles and more between each piece which gives every look a hint of glam and personality. The style options are limitless, making it easy for someone to combine ethically sourced jewelry pieces for that extra chic appeal.
7. Ethically Sourced Fancy Diamond Shapes
Fancy diamond shapes have been one of the hottest trends in 2017 and are forthcoming for 2018 as well. Vintage-inspired shapes such as emerald, pear, marquise, oval and more are gaining increased attention due to the uniqueness and personality that they bring to your jewelry collection. Each fancy shape acquires excellent versatility and looks great in almost any style of ring, necklace or earring design. With each shape already possessing a unique look to them, having them ethically sourced makes them even more exceptional. With that said, all of these shapes can be mined or created in a lab. Eco-friendly couples who want an ethically sourced diamond but also something extraordinary, fancy-shaped diamonds are the way to go.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.