Did You Know?Unless you're buying a vintage diamond that has been cut over 50 years ago, the only way of ascertaining a conflict-free diamond is through proper documentation.
The Kimberley Process (KP) defines 'conflict diamonds' as "rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments." For the conscientious buyer, it is of great significance that only conflict-free diamonds are considered for purchase.
You, being the consumer, have the right to seek as much information as required from the retailer about the origin of the diamonds being shown to you. A mere verbal guarantee is not enough, and must be supported by substantial paper trail to back the claim. This Buzzle article discusses how to buy conflict-free diamonds in further detail.
Know About Conflict Diamonds and The Kimberley Process
☛ Also known as, 'blood diamonds', rough diamonds that are extracted from mines in war zones are known as conflict diamonds. These war diamonds are sold by rebel groups and their allies to finance their insurgency and buy weapons. The diamonds from Zimbabwe, Angola, and Côte d'Ivoire are extracted through forced labor, and are tainted with torture, murder, child labor, corruption, and environmental devastation.
Ask for the Retailer's Official Written Policy on Conflict Diamonds
☛ The Kimberley Process is an international diamond certification scheme that was initiated in 2003, and backed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The goal behind this certification scheme was to stem the flow of conflict diamonds that were used by African rebel movements to fund wars against UN-recognized lawful governments.
☛ The first requisite of this process is to make participating governments certify that only conflict-free rough diamonds leave their country.
☛ Secondly, this export-import scheme required that participating countries neither imported nor exported diamonds to non-member countries. The trade of certified diamonds is allowed only in those countries that are signatories and members of the Kimberley Process.
☛ Thirdly, all diamonds are sealed and exported in tamper-resistant containers that have their individual Kimberly Process certificate and unique serial number.
☛ Every reliable and credible diamond retailer must have a written company policy on sourcing of conflict-free diamonds.
Inquire About the Origin of the Diamonds
☛ This written policy must be made available on the retailer's website for the public to view. However, if this policy is not displayed on the retailer's website or store, request that you be shown one.
☛ If you happen to visit the retailer's store in person, you may inquire from the staff about the ethical sourcing of diamonds used in their jewelry.
☛ Do not go ahead with the purchase if the retailer does not comply with your request.
☛ Try to find out more about the background of the diamond you intend to purchase.
Request for a Written Guarantee by Their Diamond Suppliers
☛ Even though the Kimberley Process does not require the retailers to know from which mine their diamonds originated, a select few retailers have taken measures to trace the origin of the diamonds being sold by them.
☛ Consumers are within their right to ask about the source or origin of the diamonds sold by the jewelers. Therefore, you must inquire about the mine from which the diamonds being shown to you were extracted.
☛ As a rule, you must avoid those retailers that fail or refuse to identify the mine and country from where the diamonds were extracted.
☛ Ask the retailer to show you the government-validated Kimberley Process certificate for the diamonds you wish to purchase.
Opt for Ethically-sourced Diamonds
☛ Secondly, ask the retailers if their diamond suppliers adhere to The World Diamond Council's System of Warranties for rough and polished diamonds. You, being the buyer, have every right to request the retailer to show you an invoice with a guarantee statement from the diamond suppliers.
☛ Also known as 'The System of Warranties', the guarantee statement ought to state the following:
"The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations resolutions. The seller hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds."
Ethically-sourced diamonds go many steps further than the standards expected by the Kimberley Process. The mining of such diamonds is carried out under humane conditions and does not involve brutalities such as torture, child and forced labor, and environmental devastation. For instance, Canadian diamonds are governed by the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct
, which ensures that the diamonds mined in Canada meet the criteria of sustainable development.
Therefore, mining in Canada meets the expected global standards of environmental protection. It also ensures that the Northern communities involved in the mining process in Canada are socially and economically benefited.
This voluntary program has a list of retailers who are code members. These members are required to provide the consumer with the following information:
- The principles followed by the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct
- Diamond identification number
- Date and number of the invoice from the diamond supplier
- Retailer's name and address
- The place/country where the diamond was cut and polished
- A description of the diamond and its place of origin
The Kimberley Process requires that consumers ask prudent questions from the diamond retailers before going ahead with a purchase. Making an informed purchase is the only way to remove and prevent conflict diamonds from seeping into the mainstream market.