- Meghan Markle’s engagement ring features two diamonds from Princess Diana’s personal collection and a center diamond from Botswana.
- Botswana is the second largest producer of conflict-free diamonds, according to data from the Kimberley Process Certification Theme.
- An increasing number of millennials are shopping for conflict-free diamond engagement rings.
The story behind Meghan Markle‘s engagement ring was always that of a fairy tale, but it just got even better.
In case you need a romantic refresh, the sparkling bling on Meghan’s left hand is a three-stone diamond ring with a classic yellow gold band made by Cleave and Company. Two round diamond stones (estimated to be roughly .75 carats) are from Princess Diana’s personal collection, framing a center cushion cut diamond (estimated to be 5 carats) from Botswana and sourced by Prince Harry himself.
It’s reportedly worth up to $US350,000 and can cost upwards of $US120,000 to replicate, according to Kathryn Money, vice president of strategy and merchandising at Brilliant Earth, which specialises in ethically sourced engagement rings and jewellery.
Prince Harry, a Patron of Rhino Conservation Botswana, has visited Botswana since he was young, and the two lovebirds have travelled to the country together on several occasions, including a safari trip for Meghan’s birthday. Needless to say, Botswana is a special place in their romance.
But it’s even more fitting that Botswana is the second biggest supplier of conflict-free diamonds, according to data from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. It only makes sense that Meghan and Harry, who are both heavily involved in charity work, made an eco-friendly choice.
“Choosing a diamond from Botswana speaks to Prince Harry and Meghan’s shared commitment to social and environmental responsibility, as Botswana diamond mining has contributed to transforming Botswana into one of Africa’s most prosperous economies,” Money told Business Insider. “Botswana diamonds are also sourced from mines that follow internationally recognised labour and environmental standards.”
Call it the Markle Effect, but more and more millennials are opting for conflict-free diamond engagement rings. As Ashley Wallace, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst explained in a research note, millennials tend to be more value conscious and concerned with sustainability and ethical production than previous generations.
Google search traffic in lab-created diamonds has increased from 36% to 100% in the past decade, and a Brilliant Earth survey revealed that 40% of consumers aged 19-34 feel positively about a lab-created engagement ring – a 10% increase since 2015. Meanwhile, there has also been growth in the popularity of coloured gemstone engagement rings.
The Kimberley Process (KP) Certification Scheme helps control rough diamond trade among 81 countries who have joined forces to eliminate conflict diamonds, ensuring transparency and prohibiting diamond trade with countries not part of the initiative.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s International Trade Management Division, which collects import and export data as well as KP certificate-based statistics, took a look at the production of rough diamonds from KP countries. The Russian Federation ranks first both in volume and value at 32% and 29% respectively, with Botswana ranking second at 23% and 16% respectively.
When it comes to volume, the Democratic Republic of Congo produces 12%, Australia 11%, and Canada 11% of rough diamonds among KP countries. In regards to value, Canada ranks at 12%, South Africa 10%, and Angola 9%.
Thanks to the KP, the United Nations, and neighbouring countries there is now greater stability in countries that previously produced conflict diamonds, including Sierra Leone, Angola, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The only current case of rebel forces controlling diamond-producing areas is in Côte d’Ivoire, which constitutes less than .1% of the world’s diamond production.