Conflict Diamonds

By: Gen Wright

Conflict diamonds are also known as blood diamonds, and awareness has risen sharply in the past few years due to work done by Amnesty International as well as the international blockbuster 'Blood Diamond', set in Sierra Leone and starring Leonardo Dicaprio. Conflict diamonds are diamonds that are mined illegally and their profits, worth billions of dollars are were used to buy arms for wars in Africa, in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Angola and Sierra Leone, which has resulted in the death and displacement of millions. The majority of these wars are now over but the trade of conflict diamonds still continues, with diamonds mined in areas in the Western African country of Cote D'Ivoire still making it to the international market.

The worst thing that could possibly happen is for diamonds to be boycotted as in many parts of the world it does provide much needed employment. However people are now asked when they are buying diamonds to consider 5 C's as opposed to the usual 4 C's that most people with an interest in jewellery already are aware of Colour, Carat, Cut and Clarity. The fifth C is Conflict. Most retailers make a special effort to only provide diamonds that are conflict free, but it is a good idea when purchasing your diamonds to ask the retailer to certify that their diamonds are not funding conflict if they can't do this then consumers should really go elsewhere to buy their diamond. It is only in making a stand against such things that customers can really make a difference.

There is now the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme which was developed by governments, non-government organisations (NGOs), the UN and the diamond industry and aims to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate diamond trade. It is good to know that about 99.8% of world diamond production is from countries that participate in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

With schemes such as the Kimberley Process Certification in place and the majority of the diamond industry working towards eliminating conflict diamonds from the international market, you shouldn't let conflict diamonds put you off purchasing one of the most beautiful gems in the world. As well as the Kimberley many diamond companies are engaged in industry initiatives, like the Responsible Jewellery Council certification programme which are aimed at providing customers with the confidence that the diamonds that they are purchasing are legitimately sourced and managed throughout the supply chain. Some people are adamant that they don't want to purchase a diamond in case it is connected to a conflict but you must remember that the majority of the conflicts are being effectively tackled and the communities are now trying to rebuild themselves. The diamond trade is a valuable source of income sometimes a town's only means of making money, and as you can now ensure that the diamond you buy is not a conflict diamond, it is perfectly acceptable and encouraged to purchase.

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