What Are Conflict Free Diamonds?
Reputable jewellers source their diamonds from the world's best, most respected and largest diamond suppliers. They make every effort, as do their suppliers to ensure that they do not knowingly purchase or sell any conflict diamonds. They buy only from suppliers who warrant that their diamonds are from sources free from conflict. They are committed to the highest standards on behalf of their customers. They comply with the Kimberley Process. In 2000, the world adopted the Kimberley Process, a UN-Mandated process that assures customers that 99% of diamonds are sourced free of conflict.
Conflict diamonds or "blood diamonds" are diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments. Since the issue of conflict diamonds first gained notice within the diamond industry ten years ago, the flow of blood diamonds has been dramatically reduced, most significantly by implementation of the Kimberley Process. Ethical and conflict-free diamonds are those that are mined in conditions free from blood-shed, child-labor and ecological destruction. Workers earn fair wages and enjoy safe and violence-free work environments.
The Kimberley Process, launched in 2003, is an international initiative to prevent proceeds from the sale of conflict diamonds from financing civil wars, rebel uprisings, and other forms of unrest which have led to the suffering of many innocent people groups.
The 80 countries that participate in the Kimberley Process agree to trade rough diamonds only with those other countries which have adopted the process. The Clean Diamond Trade Act of 2003 and Executive Order 13312 were used to legally commit the U.S. to the Kimberley Process, and established a framework for how the process is implemented.
The Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process Requires The Following:
• That every rough diamond imported or exported be accompanied by a Kimberley Process certificate, sealed in a tamper resistant container. Rough diamond parcels lacking a certificate are prohibited from entering or exiting the country.
• That rough diamonds be imported from or exported to only those other countries which participate in the Kimberley Process.
• That all rough diamond imports must be registered with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and that all rough diamond exports must be filed in the Automated Export System prior to departure, regardless of value.
• That rough diamond importers and exporters must retain records of all Kimberly Process certificates for at least five years. In addition, an annual report must be filed declaring all import and export activity for the year.
As a result of the Kimberly Process, diamonds are now among the most monitored and audited of any natural resource in the world. The extensive certification process prevents conflict diamonds from entering the supply chain by isolating non-participating countries from the world diamond market. By depriving illegitimate forces of what was once a significant source of funding, the Kimberley Process has become an important factor in restoring civil order and economic stability to developing nations.
Reducing the flow of conflict diamonds from illegitimate sources has also increased the flow of legitimate diamonds from smaller, developing countries which otherwise might have been overlooked in the diamond trade.
The adoption of the Kimberley Process by the world's leading diamond producers and consumers has reduced conflict diamonds 15% of all diamonds sold in the 1990's to less than one tenth of one percent today. Conflict-free diamonds are now a source of prosperity, especially in Africa:
• 65% of the world's diamonds come from Africa, earning these countries $8.5 billion annually.
• Diamond export revenues enable every child in Botswana to receive a free education; unheard of in that nations history. Since diamonds were discovered in Botswana, the number of secondary schools has increased 100 fold.
• Approximately 40% of Namibia's export earnings come from diamonds. These funds are a critical source of funds in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic in that country.
• After a decade of civil war, Sierra Leone was banned from the diamond trade in 2000. Within 3 years, the war ended and Sierra Leone had joined the Kimberley Process. Today, diamond export revenues are the single most important source of funds for the rebuilding of infrastructure, health services, and education systems in Sierra Leone.