Conflict diamonds, blood diamonds we have all heard these expressions but what do they really mean? A conflict or blood diamond is any diamond that has been mined in any area of the world that is in a state of violent upheaval and used to finance that violence. Let’s be honest, it is not the diamonds themselves that are to be blamed for these heinous crimes against humanity it is the people who commit them but if we could only choke off the supply of money these predators get from selling the diamonds …
In 2003 the mined diamond industry tried to do just that. In partnership with the United Nations they started something called the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme. The principles behind the Kimberly Process are sound and admirable. Socially conscious and responsible diamond companies will willingly police themselves to ensure adherence to the regulations. The regulations are pretty straightforward;
Each shipment of rough diamonds crossing an international border should be:
- Transported in a tamper-resistant container.
- Accompanied by a government validated Kimberley Process Certificate.
- The certificate must be uniquely numbered, resistant to forgery and itemize the shipments contents.
- Shipments can only be exported to other KPCS participant countries.
The World Diamond Council, the members of which are a Who’s Who list of international diamond mining, manufacturing, and retail companies, strongly endorsed the Kimberly Process and added a few requirements of their own;
Each invoice for diamond shipments must contain the following footer;
“The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations resolutions. The seller hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds.”
They have also directed their member companies to not buy any diamonds from any suspect sources, countries or individuals amongst several other similar self-regulating statements. Failure to abide by these guidelines can result in loss of membership in the World Diamond Council.
Here is what Amnesty International had to say about these efforts;
"[We] welcome the Kimberley Process as an important step to dealing with the problem of conflict diamonds. But until the diamond trade is subject to mandatory, impartial monitoring, there is still no effective guarantee that all conflict diamonds will be identified and removed from the market."
The Canadian Aid group One Sky echoes Amnesty International’s statement and goes on to say;
"If effectively implemented, the Kimberley Process will ensure that diamonds cannot be used to finance war and atrocities... However, without a system of expert, independent and periodic reviews of all countries, the overall process remains open to abuse."
The process is indeed so porous that in 2011 Global Witness, the organization that first shined the spotlight on the terrible human rights abuses that were being financed through the sale of these mined diamonds, resigned as an Official Observer of the Kimberly Process. They stated multiple reasons for the decision among them the fact that the Kimberly Process only applies to rough diamonds. Once the stones are cut and polished they are not subject to monitoring and there is really no way to track the provenance of these stones.
It seems these concerns are well founded as noted in this video which tried to substantiate conflict free claims by a leading on line diamond retailer.
Wow, that’s a lot to digest. Here is the summary, Lab Created diamonds are the only way to be sure that your diamond is harming nobody!
Clean Origin Lab Created diamonds are free of any taint of human rights abuses, epidemic social violence, horrible working conditions and the financing of civil wars.
Honor your love. Know the origin of your diamond.