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7 Ways To Buy An Ethically Sourced Diamond

Culture

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.

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8min read
Politics

Do 2020 Presidential Candidates Still Have Rules to Play By?

Not too many years ago, my advice to political candidates would have been pretty simple: "Don't do or say anything stupid." But the last few elections have rendered that advice outdated.


When Barack Obama referred to his grandmother as a "typical white woman" during the 2008 campaign, for example, many people thought it would cost him the election -- and once upon a time, it probably would have. But his supporters were focused on the values and positions he professed, and they weren't going to let one unwise comment distract them. Candidate Obama didn't even get much pushback for saying, "We're five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." That statement should have given even his most ardent supporters pause, but it didn't. It was in line with everything Obama had previously said, and it was what his supporters wanted to hear.

2016: What rules?

Fast forward to 2016, and Donald Trump didn't just ignore traditional norms, he almost seemed to relish violating them. Who would have ever dreamed we'd elect a man who talked openly about grabbing women by the **** and who was constantly blasting out crazy-sounding Tweets? But Trump did get elected. Why? Some people believe it was because Americans finally felt like they had permission to show their bigotry. Others think Obama had pushed things so far to the left that right-wing voters were more interested in dragging public policy back toward the middle than in what Trump was Tweeting.

Another theory is that Trump's lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable behavior was deliberately designed to make Democrats feel comfortable campaigning on policies that were far further to the left than they ever would have attempted before. Why? Because they were sure America would never elect someone who acted like Trump. If that theory is right, and Democrats took the bait, Trump's "digital policies" served him well.

And although Trump's brash style drew the most handlines, he wasn't the only one who seemed to have forgotten the, "Don't do or say anything stupid," rule. Hillary Clinton also made news when she made a "basket of deplorables" comment at a private fundraiser, but it leaked out, and it dogged her for the rest of the election cycle.

And that's where we need to start our discussion. Now that all the old rules about candidate behavior have been blown away, do presidential candidates even need digital policies?

Yes, they do. More than ever, in my opinion. Let me tell you why.

Digital policies for 2020 and beyond

While the 2016 election tossed traditional rules about political campaigns to the trash heap, that doesn't mean you can do anything you want. Even if it's just for the sake of consistency, candidates need digital policies for their own campaigns, regardless of what anybody else is doing. Here are some important things to consider.

Align your digital policies with your campaign strategy

Aside from all the accompanying bells and whistles, why do you want to be president? What ideological beliefs are driving you? If you were to become president, what would you want your legacy to be? Once you've answered those questions honestly, you can develop your campaign strategy. Only then can you develop digital policies that are in alignment with the overall purpose -- the "Why?" -- of your campaign:

  • If part of your campaign strategy, for example, is to position yourself as someone who's above the fray of the nastiness of modern politics, then one of your digital policies should be that your campaign will never post or share anything that attacks another candidate on a personal level. Attacks will be targeted only at the policy level.
  • While it's not something I would recommend, if your campaign strategy is to depict the other side as "deplorables," then one of your digital policies should be to post and share every post, meme, image, etc. that supports your claim.
  • If a central piece of your platform is that detaining would-be refugees at the border is inhumane, then your digital policies should state that you will never say, post, or share anything that contradicts that belief, even if Trump plans to relocate some of them to your own city. Complaining that such a move would put too big a strain on local resources -- even if true -- would be making an argument for the other side. Don't do it.
  • Don't be too quick to share posts or Tweets from supporters. If it's a text post, read all of it to make sure there's not something in there that would reflect negatively on you. And examine images closely to make sure there's not a small detail that someone may notice.
  • Decide what your campaign's voice and tone will be. When you send out emails asking for donations, will you address the recipient as "friend" and stress the urgency of donating so you can continue to fight for them? Or will you personalize each email and use a more low-key, collaborative approach?

Those are just a few examples. The takeaway is that your online behavior should always support your campaign strategy. While you could probably get away with posting or sharing something that seems mean or "unpresidential," posting something that contradicts who you say you are could be deadly to your campaign. Trust me on this -- if there are inconsistencies, Twitter will find them and broadcast them to the world. And you'll have to waste valuable time, resources, and public trust to explain those inconsistencies away.

Remember that the most common-sense digital policies still apply

The 2016 election didn't abolish all of the rules. Some still apply and should definitely be included in your digital policies:

  1. Claim every domain you can think of that a supporter might type into a search engine. Jeb Bush not claiming www.jebbush.com (the official campaign domain was www.jeb2016.com) was a rookie mistake, and he deserved to have his supporters redirected to Trump's site.
  2. Choose your campaign's Twitter handle wisely. It should be obvious, not clever or cutesy. In addition, consider creating accounts with possible variations of the Twitter handle you chose so that no one else can use them.
  3. Give the same care to selecting hashtags. When considering a hashtag, conduct a search to understand its current use -- it might not be what you think! When making up new hashtags, try to avoid anything that could be hijacked for a different purpose -- one that might end up embarrassing you.
  4. Make sure that anyone authorized to Tweet, post, etc., on your behalf has a copy of your digital policies and understands the reasons behind them. (People are more likely to follow a rule if they understand why it's important.)
  5. Decide what you'll do if you make an online faux pas that starts a firestorm. What's your emergency plan?
  6. Consider sending an email to supporters who sign up on your website, thanking them for their support and suggesting ways (based on digital policies) they can help your messaging efforts. If you let them know how they can best help you, most should be happy to comply. It's a small ask that could prevent you from having to publicly disavow an ardent supporter.
  7. Make sure you're compliant with all applicable regulations: campaign finance, accessibility, privacy, etc. Adopt a double opt-in policy, so that users who sign up for your newsletter or email list through your website have to confirm by clicking on a link in an email. (And make sure your email template provides an easy way for people to unsubscribe.)
  8. Few people thought 2016 would end the way it did. And there's no way to predict quite yet what forces will shape the 2020 election. Careful tracking of your messaging (likes, shares, comments, etc.) will tell you if you're on track or if public opinion has shifted yet again. If so, your messaging needs to shift with it. Ideally, one person should be responsible for monitoring reaction to the campaign's messaging and for raising a red flag if reactions aren't what was expected.

Thankfully, the world hasn't completely lost its marbles

Whatever the outcome of the election may be, candidates now face a situation where long-standing rules of behavior no longer apply. You now have to make your own rules -- your own digital policies. You can't make assumptions about what the voting public will or won't accept. You can't assume that "They'll never vote for someone who acts like that"; neither can you assume, "Oh, I can get away with that, too." So do it right from the beginning. Because in this election, I predict that sound digital policies combined with authenticity will be your best friend.