Diamonds are treasured gems that hold significance to different people for different reasons. For the newly engaged couple, diamonds signify their love and commitment to one another, and are the promise of a new beginning together. However, for the person mining diamonds in their country, that diamond is seen as the opportunity to have money for food, medicine and maybe eventually school.
In those countries where diamonds are mined, they also become a source of misfortune. These diamonds have led to acts of violence, civil wars breaking out, ecological devastation, and many more issues that have led to human suffering. With this knowledge being made public, diamond buyers have become wary when looking at diamonds. Because no one wants a symbol of forced labor, war, suffering, and controversy on their finger for the rest of their life.
Diamond Consultation does not support the sale of blood diamonds in any way. Our company and our affiliates do not sell or use blood diamonds in any of our jewelry.
What are Blood Diamonds?
Blood diamonds, often referred to as “conflict diamonds”, are mined in war zones by miners who are laboring under horrible conditions. These mined diamonds are then stolen by rebel groups who are opposing the government and traded illegally to fund the rebels wars. However, groups of armed merchants, dishonest diamond traders, and smugglers do what they can to prevent them from selling the diamonds. The tactics of bribery, murder, threats, and torture are all used to get these diamonds, which is why they have been given the name “blood diamonds”.
The United Nations defines conflict diamonds as: “diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council.” Several actions have been taken to stop the trade of blood diamonds, though this issue continues to trouble the world.
A History of Blood Diamonds
Blood diamonds originated in Africa where they were used to fund civil wars, human trafficking, and other conflicts. Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are countries where blood diamonds are traded; however, other diamond mining locations may also have questionable ethics. Blood diamonds are particularly common to Africa but may exist elsewhere.
From 1991 to 2000, Sierra Leone created a tragic war. A group of Revolutionary United Front Rebels attempted to overthrow the government, using illicit diamond trade to fund the war. Between 1989 to 2003, Liberia also fought a civil war. Liberia became the main trade route to export diamonds. Thus, these diamonds became known as blood diamonds, as they are today.
The United Nations discovered the illicit trade around 1998. In 2000, there was a meeting with the two countries in Kimberley, South Africa. And what came out of that meeting was an initiative to help stop the illegal trading and use of blood diamonds.
The Establishment of the Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process is what grew from that meeting in 2000. It banned the trade of blood diamonds as a way to ensure an international certification system to regulate exports. Only officially sealed packages of diamonds would be accepted by other countries. It also put pressure on all countries to criminally charge anyone caught trading blood diamonds. The United Nations approved this process to ensure all rough diamonds would come from conflict-free sources.
By 2003, 52 governments and international advocacy groups had made ratifications to the process, establishing a system of diamond passports. These passports are issued from the country of origin and accompany every shipment of rough-cut diamonds to ensure their legitimacy. Countries unable to prove that their diamonds are not blood diamonds could be prevented from being in the international diamond trade.
As of July 1st, 2013, there were 54 participants involved in The Kimberley Process. These participants represent 81 countries across the world. Through this process, approximately 99.8% of the global production of rough diamonds comes from The Kimberley Process. This number shows the impact this process has had on the blood diamond trade and the diamond industry as a whole.
Legitimate Diamond Trade
Thanks to those who established the Kimberley Process, the legitimate diamond trade has provided jobs for over 10 million workers across the globe. With both nations and consumers supporting the Kimberley Process, slavery can be turned into jobs and smuggling into a legal exchange of goods. This means that the miner who wants to provide for their family and attend school will be able to do so, offering prosperity and growth to those areas in a positive way.
Reputable companies, including Diamond Consultation and our affiliates, do not support the sale or usage of blood diamonds in any of our jewelry. All our diamonds come from legitimate mining facilities and go through certification processes to ensure conflict-free diamonds on websites and in stores. If you have any further questions about diamonds or need some advice on choosing the right ring, call us today! We are able and ready to help you with all your consulting needs.