Where do you get your diamonds? Are they certified by the Kimberley Process as "conflict free" diamonds? If so, you've purchased a sense of well being, but KP authentication is no guarantee of a bloodless sparkly.
The Kimberley Process certification "guarantees" that certain diamonds don't come from conflict countries. If you only buy KP diamonds, the thinking goes, you'll have avoided funding bloody revolutions and enslaving minors. Sweet.
In actual fact, however, there are ways to get a conflict diamond KP certified. To avoid this regulation, conflict diamond smugglers take their goods to non-conflict countries for sale. Once smuggled into the "safe" country, the KP certifies these diamonds as having come from this new country, which doesn't have a history of exploitative diamond mining, slavery, and child labor. The diamonds have been metaphorically washed of their scandalous history, and are ready to be placed on your fiance's left digit.
Check these links for more information on the topic, especially the last one.
I love sparkles as much as most people. I wish diamonds weren't so awful. But they are.
Here comes my opinion, which is a separate point: Our culture defines a woman who wears a diamond ring as belonging to the man who "gave" it to her. "Sold! Your engagement and marriage to a beautiful woman, purchased for $5,000 at The Shane Company. She'll pretty much have to". ha. ha.
Of course, to many couples, this isn't what diamonds represent to them. Many couples simply choose diamonds because they're pretty, and it's what is expected. However, ownership is what these rocks represent in our culture, and that in itself is enough reason to buck the trend and opt out of this farce. Buy the love of your live a nice vacation, or a romantic piece of jewelery with no history of amputation or connotation of purchasing her services as wife and mother. She can buy you some seeds for a garden you'll grow together, or he can buy her a suit for her first job interview. The two of you can buy a house together! The possibilities are endless.
We're all responsible for the choices we make-- regardless of whether or not we act in ignorance of the consequences. Raising awareness is never easy, and neither is gaining it. We should at least think critically about the choices we make, and be knowledgeable agents who know whether or not our values correspond with our actions.