Prized as one of the world’s most precious commodities for long, diamonds have had a bloody history, particularly in central and western Africa, where they were illegally traded to finance wars by rebel groups against recognized governments. Illicit diamonds, accounting for a substantial portion of the global diamond production, were used to fund wars in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and the Republic of Congo in the 1990s. These diamonds, which spelt acute violence, exploitation and misery for millions, were named conflict diamonds or blood diamonds.
Following public outrage against this nefarious practice, 74 nations have integrated the Kimberley Process Certification System into their legal systems. This has now resulted in guaranteeing that more than 99% of the supply is non conflict diamonds originating from zones that are conflict free.
Regardless of where you are buying diamonds from, you should make it a point to ask these vital questions to assure yourself that what you are considering purchasing are certified conflict free diamonds.
- Where does the diamond come from?
- How do you assure me that the diamond does not originate from a conflict zone?
- Do you have a policy on blood diamonds?
- Is it possible to see a written certification from your suppliers that states that the diamonds have been mined from conflict-free countries?
A reputed jeweler, whether online or brick and mortar, should be able to satisfactorily provide a written conflict-diamond policy that also specifies the definition of conflict-free. Besides complying with the Kimberly Process, the policy should preferably be unequivocal about no-tolerance for violence, child labor or environmentally harmful practices in the mining and processing of diamonds.
Your jeweler should be able to give clear answers regarding the origin of the diamonds and the work conditions under which they are extracted, cut and finally polished. You should be able to get independently verified information on the name of the mine and the working conditions.
The jeweler should also be able to provide for examination, complete and independently certified details of tracking and monitoring of the diamond that traces the path from the mine to the store.
When buying diamonds, always go to a reputed jeweler to get peace of mind and to reassure yourself that these are certified conflict free diamonds. Even a cursory online search will immediately reveal the supplier who is able to satisfactorily answer vital questions regarding the source, authenticity and certifications of the diamonds being sold. It is all the more assuring when your jeweler has his diamonds guaranteed by the US Clean Diamond Act. If you would like to have a clean conscience make it a point to totally avoid the relatively unknown stores, online or otherwise, as these are unlikely to be able to vouch for the authenticity of the diamonds they sell.