After researching this a bit, one of the key facts to surface is that 2-4.5% of diamond sales will go to finance terrorism or forms of violence. Such diamonds, for want of a better term, have been named "conflict diamonds". For those of you interested in following up on this subject, here are a few more links:
hardDiamond asks: "I'm going to get engaged. I know my 4 C's. I know I'm going to get screwed by the jeweller, but that's okay: after all, a diamond engagement ring is a time-honoured tradition... NOT. Having checked out the goods, looked for the flaws, I found the biggest one of all. Diamond engagement rings are the creation of a well orchestrated advertising campaign for most of the last century - according to this article.
Would you buy one for the love of your life? I know my girlfriend would love a diamond, but ethically I have my doubts. Diseased-miners, child slave labour, cartel inflated prices... and as if that wasn't enough, diamonds have no resale value. Naddah. Zilch. They'll sell you the shit, but damn it, they're not taking it back at any price. So what have my fellow slashdotters done with regards to engagement rings? What's a good substitute for diamonds? My girlfriend understands my thoughts regarding diamonds, but deep down, I'm sure she would like a diamond. Even a small one."
I've never even thought about questioning such a time honored tradition, but now I'm curious. Have any of you looked at the issues surrounding diamonds and found them wanting? What alternatives have you found and were they acceptable?
For those of you who have a subscription to Science News, the cover story, this month, deals with this issue as well.