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Blog, Philosophy or Ethics

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but where did this best friend come from?


As Valentine’s Day is upon us, I’ve been contemplating on what type of item or object to blog about. Seeing as chocolate was covered (and made me have such a craving), I thought of what else is related to this special holiday, being chocolate and jewelry of course. My boyfriend came up to visit and celebrate Valentine’s Day. Luckily, I received a present early that’s given me inspiration to search more information on a popular jeweler: Zales.

My first stop for information was their website. In browsing around, great detail is given on the various facets of diamonds: clarity, cut, science, myth, carats, etc.  The one that caught my eye (no pun intended) was what are called conflict diamonds. I’ve never heard this term used before. The term I have heard of, which I feel is possibly more common, is blood diamonds. I’m sure some of us in class have seen the film Blood Diamond. Conflict diamonds in short are diamonds that come out of conflict zones. The United Nations defines conflict diamonds as “…diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council.”

An agreement between the United Nations, European Union, approximately 75 countries, the World Diamond Council and a number of interest groups, was formed to combat this issue. The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was the result of the process to ensure “conflict-free” diamonds. Zales outlines their conflict diamonds policy within their website: “We take the issue of conflict diamonds very seriously.” Information is provided regarding role of governments, of industry, of the retailer, and frequently asked questions. However, Zales failed to respond when asked to participate in a survey on conflict diamond policies. This raised questions to how retailers felt about the seriousness of the matter and keeping them out of their supply chain.

Switching gears, I found a rather disturbing article regarding a Zales former employee. This former saleswoman was extremely successful for Zales: first in her area to earn a million dollars in sales in one year.  She requested time off to have surgery for a life-threatening aortic aneurysm. What is said to had happened is she wrote a letter to HR, attended a meeting on the subject of her leave of absence, and was terminated on the spot. The code of ethics was clearly not exercised here. Apparently after this occurred, Zales was slow on the paperwork this former saleswoman needed for applying for COBRA coverage. This caused her to have to postpone her surgery. Emails were exchanged between her son and a representative within Zales, his response being that since the schedule was rescheduled then it probably wasn’t a life-or-death situation.  For me, this is one of those situations that is too absurd to believe, especially when looking at an excerpt from their Code of Conduct:

Common sense test:

Take a Common Sense Test

A good test for judging the employee’s conduct under Zale’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics is: If you would be embarrassed for your supervisor or co-workers to read about your conduct on the front page of tomorrow morning’s newspaper or if the conduct is potentially harmful to the company … Don’t Do It.

 

Related article: http://www.un.org/peace/africa/Diamond.html

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About Danielle Marquette

I'm a senior management major at Bucknell University. I took last semester off to work as a marketing co-op for a Johnson&Johnson consumer beauty brand. I'm from Douglassville, Pennsylvania. I have 3 younger brothers and 6 step-sisters. I could live on strawberries and pineapples.

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but where did this best friend come from?

  1. Hi Danielle, I haven’t been on the market for any diamonds lately but I am surprised that companies in the US still sell “conflict” diamonds. Many of us are aware that blood diamonds exist due to the news and popular movies like Blood Diamond. I guess these jewelers are required by law to call them “conflict” diamonds? Are “conflict” diamonds less expensive than “non-conflict” diamonds? I am wondering why people who are aware would ever want to support these regimes by purchasing conflict diamonds.

    Posted by Lauren Daley | February 15, 2012, 8:31 am
    • I’m not sure who coined the term ‘conflict’ diamonds, but it gives off a lesser tone of worry than ‘blood’ diamonds. ‘Blood’ diamonds seems to be the term we use in every day context, like in the movie. I don’t believe any jewelers intentionally sell any conflict diamonds – or at least we can all hope not. The KPCS, that I mentioned in my post, had created a framework for building a global diamond market that is today over 99% certified to be from conflict-free sources (according to what I read on Zales’ information provided about the conflict diamonds). This framework is a compliance that jewelers are obligated to. Zales has also said to take further measures against the conflict diamond trade by developing a conflict diamond compliance program, which requires their diamond vendors to provide proof of warranty from their sources of diamond merchandise: “Diamonds are a symbol of love and we want our customers to have confidence that we are using our best efforts to both bar conflict diamonds from our inventory and sell diamonds and diamond jewelry that are ‘conflict-free’.” All in all, I think Zales provides this background information on conflict diamonds as well as their programs set up to avoid them at all costs more so to educate the consumer and protect themselves from the issue, if one would arise.

      Posted by Danielle Marquette | February 15, 2012, 11:11 am

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Blog 5 before session 6 What (interest) or Who (person) Inspires You? For this week’s prompt, the Blog Council wants you to examine how this class relates to your own interests. So, please write about how this class relates to some of your own intellectual or other learning interests. We are NOT interested in how it relates to a specific career goal. Plan B: same idea, but based on a person. See whole post for details.

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