Anyone that plans to buy a diamond (or several) faces the ongoing problem that plagues diamond buyers and investors the world over. “Blood diamonds” are diamonds that have been mined in an active war zone and sold for the purposes of furthering the war in some way. It will fund the rebellion, aid in illegal activity or support the warlord. This type of trade occurs at the cost of many lives, many of which are innocent, since active war seldom discriminates between young or old, weak or strong. The countries involved include the likes of Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Unfortunately, as long as there are buyers for these illegal stones, these war-torn countries will continue to suffer the consequences. It is the responsibility of brides, grooms, jewellers and investors to ensure that their stones are legitimate and conflict-free.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was implemented in 2001 by the United Nations Organisation. This scheme was designed to lay out and implement strict rules and regulations regarding the humane, legal mining and shipping of diamonds. This means that, regardless of what country you are in, your jeweller must be able to provide this certification for any diamonds that he or she sells. This certification has been implemented with the aim of ensuring complete transparency, forcing the governmental authorities of countries to keep records of the numbers of diamonds they are importing and exporting, their origin and their worth. The records have to be freely available. The governments are then required to analyse these figures and compare them to what is being spent on social upliftment. This process will soon reveal discrepancies and the unfair distribution of finances.
If you are planning to purchase diamonds in the near future, you will want to ensure that they are conflict-free. To do this, you should:
- Request and examine the certification of each stone
- In addition to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, diamonds will also have a System of Warranties statement (a sample can be found at www.diamondfacts.org). The documents you receive should follow the diamond from its mining all the way through to your piece of jewellery.
- Choose an outlet that prides itself on its conflict-free stones
- There are jewellers and designers that are renowned for their ethical sourcing of stones. They also frequently donate a portion of the price you pay to charities that are dedicated to the complete abolishment of blood diamonds. Make an effort to find and use such services.
- Become educated about the prices of diamonds
- Conflict-free diamonds should be no more expensive than blood diamonds. Do not allow a jeweller to fool you into believing that you should purchase an uncertified stone because it is cheaper.
Although, as individuals, we often feel that our small contribution makes no difference on a global scale, nothing could be less true. The horrors that the victims of these wars face are purely because of the market for blood diamonds. As each of us resolves to stop supporting this market, there is the very real possibility that we can make a massive impact on this savage and illegal trade.
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