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Conflict Free Diamonds


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This is a question concerned consumers often ask. In North America you can buy with high confidence; large and small sizes.


The Kimberley Process is to be applauded for dramatically reducing the scope of the issue. Some estimates put rough touched by conflict at less than 1 percent today. But the global diamond industry is vast. Greed is not exclusive to Africa, and rogue elements trade rough of dubious origin where they can. Kimberley Process fraud was uncovered in Brazil and Guyana in 2006 and by November of that year NGOs were calling for expulsion of Venezuela from KPCS participation. They have continued to have issues. Border controls are tighter in North America, especially post 9/11, but the possibility of corruption in the system exists, even in Canada where “conflict-free†is a national marketing slogan (CDCC). The good news is that Kimberley and Global Witness have estimated that 99%+ of the world’s diamonds are conflict free. Still, unless you walked the diamond yourself from mine to sorting to trading house to cutting factory to parcel buyer to retail outlet, nothing can be 100 percent certain.


As responsible retailers we do our utmost to protect our clients and ourselves. We select our partners with great care. We know the leaders of our primary trading houses and their commitment to the process of certification. Every diamond we bring in is accompanied by written conflict-free guarantees and certification from people committed to the process. We have joined hands and done everything in our power to guarantee our diamonds’ conflict-free provenance for you, just as our conscientious peers do.


As a consumer I suggest you don't just be cautious, be proactive. You can test a retailer’s awareness and commitment to the issue. These four questions are suggested by NGOs Amnesty International and Global Witness:


1. How can I be sure that none of your jewelry contains conflict diamonds?

2. Do you know where the diamonds you sell come from?

3. Can I see a copy of your company’s policy on conflict diamonds?

4. Can you show me a written guarantee from your diamond suppliers stating that your diamonds are conflict-free?


Most importantly, remember that "conflict-free" just scratches the surface of the issue. The industry works hard to ensure conflict-free provenance for the end-user and for many consumers that is enough. The only drawback is that it overlooks the real issue, which is those who still suffer in parts of Africa.


As jewelry companies and consumers we can’t change governments or politics, but we can create commerce and benevolence to help those people. UNICEF is active in Africa. Development diamond initiatives like Rapaport Fair Trade are evolving. Our company’s chosen charity partner is the WCCCI and we have a program funding relief for African children called Dreams of Africa.


Beyond the protectionist work Kimberley Process, the Patriot Act, NGOs and the CRJP are doing, we believe there must be people-centered answers to help actual humans without industry or red tape in the way.

Edited by JohnQuixote
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