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Monday 11 July 2011

Conflict Free Diamonds

While the atrocious conflict in Sierra Leone in the 1990s was the reason the world took notice of conflict diamonds, since then various governments, the UN, the diamond industry, and a number of eminent NGOs have taken far-reaching measures to ensure that such diamonds do not enter the legitimate diamond supply chain, ultimately resulting in the total eradication of blood diamonds from the world’s diamond trade. One of the major roles in achieving this goal is played by the Kimberley Process and the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). The Kimberley Process is one in which rough diamonds are sealed in tamper-resistant containers having a forgery resistant conflict free certificate with unique serial numbers each time they cross over an international border, helping ring-fence conflict diamonds and in the process averting them from funding any rebel groups or illegal activities. The United States’ Clean Diamond Trade Act (CDTA) helped enforce KPCS in the US, which is the largest consumer of the world’s diamonds.

Today, thanks to KPCS with a membership of over 74 countries and supplementary allied actions, diamonds are driving economic opulence and growth for diamond-rich countries. Starting from appropriate healthcare, free education in countries like Botswana, the awareness and spotlight on the improvements seen in these countries are persuading charity organizations to pitch in, and diamond manufacturers to improve working
conditions and build schools, play areas, and hospitals in the areas where mining and manufacturing of diamonds takes place.

As a consumer you can be sure that the diamonds you are procuring are conflict free diamonds, by purchasing the stones from a well-reputed source, and asking for a statement of origin, or System of Warranties for assurance. The System of Warranties is printed on the invoice presented to you saying, “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.”

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