Conflict Free Diamonds
Many customers have e-mailed us at the Jewelry Exchange inquiring about the origin of our diamonds to see if they are in fact conflict free diamonds or “Blood Diamonds.” I am writing this letter in hopes to clarify everyone’s idea of what a Blood Diamond is and what we in the Diamond Industry have done to stop their flow into the open market and eventually to you, the end consumer. As a longtime member of the Jewelry Exchange E-Commerce Team, I can personally assure all of our customers that we do not conduct business in any way, shape or form with suppliers that do not adhere to The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (which will also be explained below).
Diamondfacts.org states that Blood Diamonds or Conflict Diamonds “are diamonds illegally traded to fund conflict in war-torn areas, particularly in central and western Africa.” Diamond producing countries such as Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast, in particular, are war-torn because of rebel organizations that take advantage of the demand for diamonds and sell them on the black market for huge profits. They then purchase weapons, vehicles and other supplies in order to create chaos and contest established governments. Unfortunately, prior to the year 2000 there was no regulation in place to control and/or deter Blood Diamonds from hitting the open market.
In the year 2003 The Kimberley Process was ratified by The United Nations, recognized governments and several other international organizations. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) establishes four (4) criteria to ensure rebel organizations do not profit from the selling of illegal diamonds while protecting the legitimate diamond trade. The KPCS enabled the creation of 1) an international certificate system, on import and export of diamonds; 2) legislation in all countries to accept only officially sealed packages of diamonds, 3) calls for countries to impose criminal charges for anyone trafficking in conflict diamonds, and finally 4) it calls for countries to institute a ban on any individual found trading conflict diamonds. The Kimberley Process website (www.kimberleyprocess.com) states that, “The KP has done more than just stem the flow of conflict diamonds; it has also helped stabilize fragile countries and supported their development. As the KP has made life harder for criminals, it has brought large volumes of diamonds onto the legal market that would not otherwise have made it there. This has increased the revenues of poor governments, and helped them to address their countries’ development challenges. For instance, some $125 million worth of diamonds were legally exported from Sierra Leone in 2006, compared to almost none at the end of the 1990s.” This not only deters rebel organizations from attempting to engage in the trading of diamonds, it has given countries such as Sierra Leone revenues that can be used to help its citizens’ quality of life.
We here at the Jewelry Exchange are very much aware of the suffering that Conflict Diamonds can cause innocent people and we can proudly guarantee that all of our diamonds have been purchased from legitimate sources who participate in the KP. Again, I can personally assure all of our customers that we do not conduct business in any way, shape or form with suppliers that do not follow The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
Thank you and have a great day.
– E-Commerce Director