Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but when Anna-Mieke Anderson discovered her new engagement ring was most probably a blood diamond, she took it off and sought an alternative.
Originally from Hastings, but now based in Portland, Oregon, Anderson set up MiaDonna, a business producing high-quality alternatives to blood or conflict diamonds.
She told TV ONE's Breakfast that she started the business when she learnt the truth about her own ring. She said questioning the origins of the diamond triggered her thought process and she uncovered what she described as "a living nightmare that she was contributing to".
Over half of the world's diamonds originate from central and west Africa, where the trade is controlled by corruption and where environments are being ravaged.
Anderson said her products give consumers a viable choice to the controversy associated with earth-mined diamonds and precious metals in countries such as Sierra Leone and Liberia.
She described MiaDonna Diamonds as being manmade and manufactured in a controlled environment, however they have an identical look and feel to that of a natural diamond. She described the diamonds as the equivalent to the cultured pearl.
"They are real in the sense that they are chemically identical, there is no difference. They are also graded like an earth mined diamond."
Anderson told Breakfast her business wasn't taking on the diamond cartels, but merely offering options. "Before now there has not been any option for the diamond consumer....it's a cost alternative for the consumer, but also a non-minded alternative."
Profits from her eco-friendly jewellery go back to projects repairing diamond mining communities. In Sierra Leone funds have recently produced a 100 acre rice field.
MiaDonna has also created a foundation called The Greener Diamond which works hand in hand with the world's largest humanitarian organisations and celebrities in order to rebuild the lives and land of communities devastated by the unethical harvesting of the country's natural resources.
MiaDonna Diamonds are web based and available online at < http://www.miadonna.com>.