Who What Wear Podcast: Shilpa Yarlagadda


What is the Kimberley Process? 

The Kimberley Process is a certification that people are able to give to make sure that your diamonds are ethically sourced. That was really put in place after everything that happened with blood diamonds. What’s so interesting is that ever since that movie about blood diamonds, so many people are worried about it, and it was definitely a very real thing. But it was something that I learned actually impacts larger-size gemstones a lot more than smaller ones. So for our pinky rings that have really tiny diamonds, usually for that small of a stone, those are not the ones that are going through ethical issues to the same degree.

There’s a lot of greenwashing that also happens in the industry, where, even for things that really aren’t unethical sometimes, people just put extra labels on it to be like, “This is good.” And the consumer then thinks it’s better even when there wasn’t really a problem to begin with.

But also, I’m very excited because, with diamonds, I really wanted to understand exactly where they’re being sourced from and who we are supporting through the supply chain. … I had been speaking to some diamond mines in the recent months, and the average diamond, especially for larger-size stones over a carat, will change hands over 20 times from start to end.

I’m actually going to be going to Botswana to visit this female-founded diamond mine, the Karowe Mine. They’ve discovered the third-largest diamond rough in the world as well as the second of that quality of that size. And it’s just truly amazing. The land that they’re on sits on about several billion dollars worth of diamonds. Especially with all of the talk with lab grown and natural, I really wanted to figure out who I was supporting through the supply chain. And I really wanted to make sure we were economically empowering women. I know that developing countries still rely so much on natural diamonds for their economy to grow, and knowing that it changes hands that many times, I really wanted to understand that story before we could really make any decision on whether we want to work with natural or lab grown. And from a lot of the research I’ve been doing in the last few months and going to visit these mines, I’m actually really realizing the power of the supply chain of diamonds for women.



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