South Africa Trip
At Jewels That Dance, we believe when buying a diamond there is more to consider than just the 4 C's. That's why two years ago we traveled to South Africa to ensure the diamonds we carry meet our standards: all of our diamonds are conflict free, no child labor is involved in the diamond cutting process, and the diamonds are extracted from the earth in an environmentally friendly manner. In addition, a percentage of all South African diamond sales go toward Global Giving, which assists disadvantaged communities throughout South Africa. When you buy a South African Diamond, you can be assured that the beauty of your diamond is found in its past, present, and future. Click here to learn about our exquisite South African Diamond Collection.
Diamonds in the Rough
Paula Dawkins' desire to expand her awareness beyond the scope of Asheville has led her to France, India, and even China. But it seemed there was still much left to know about South Africa and the mining of diamonds. It was important for her to see with her own eyes how diamonds are tracked to avoid the hands of conflicting rebel movements, and to ensure that there was no child labor. She wanted to touch more of the world than its luxury, to see the diamond beyond its romance, and ascertain the bigger picture of the diamond trade. So, upon invitation from DeBeers she flew to South Africa with our store manager, Marlene Clevenger, and discovered far more than she ever expected to about humanity, benevolence and a village called Refilwe…
Discovered in 1961, the Finsch Diamond Mine carries a legacy of the world's most magnificent diamonds. Over 70% of the most famous diamonds in history have been discovered in mines located in the South African region, including the Cullinan Diamond which weighs over 3,000 carats. The Finsch Mine is conscious of the environment, using only water methods to extract diamonds from their host rock, the kimberlite. The rock is re-processed after the initial diamond discoveries are made, to avoid unnecessary digging. As a result of this thoroughness, nearly 2 million additional carats of diamonds have been discovered to date in already-processed rock. In addition, Finsch implements programs that assist in re-establishing sustainable ecosystem where mining sites previously existed.
FestDiam Cutting Works was founded nearly a century ago by the Dutch Meents family. Recently, our store commissioned this South African company to cut diamonds especially for our collection. With six generations of expertise to their name, FestDiam's master cutters employ exquisite craftsmanship to transform rough diamonds into luminous masterpieces. Three generations of the Meents family are working together today, alongside of native South African citizens whom they train. These individuals, who are frequently from less-advantaged communities, have stable, often life-long jobs with FestDiam, and enjoy improved quality of life with health benefits, fair wage and pensions.
FestDiam's Chris LaTrobe spent his childhood in Southern Africa, in close connection to the mining industry. His father, Dr. Brian LaTrobe has made a distinct mark on the world of the less-fortunate through a foundation which he established 25 years ago. The LaTrobe Foundation combines scientific expertise and benevolence to improve the lives of impoverished African people. Among Dr. LaTrobe's achievements is the EnviroLoo, an innovative sanitation system which has received the honored Tech Museum Award in 2005 for the implementation of technology to better humankind.
While in South Africa, Paula and Marlene visited Refilwe, a village project serving nearly 50,000 severely disadvantaged people in its circumference. Refilwe provides medical care and much-deserved attention to AIDS stricken individuals, who are frequently shunned by their communities. Refilwe workers provide day care for the children while teaching skills classes to help self-empower the adults to rise above their circumstances. Paula and Marlene had the opportunity to meet and speak with some of these children, and were deeply touched by their spirit and need. This is how we came to be more involved. With each South African diamond that is purchased from our collection, we will make a donation in the customer's name to Global Giving, an organization which will channel these funds directly to projects in Africa like Refilwe.
The South African diamond's legacy extends far past its journey from the mine to your ring or necklace. It touches many lives along the way, adding sparkle in the eyes of previously neglected children in Africa, and providing change that brings brilliance to the lives of the underprivileged.
"All men are created equal, some are just richer than others. Just because people are poor does not mean they lack dignity." - Dr. Brian LaTrobe, Tech Award Winner, 2005 Environment Category.