Conflict Free Diamonds
Diamonds are nature’s most beautiful gift and we are all fascinated by its beauty. But do you know that many of these diamonds are mined under extremely terrible conditions? Not only are the workers exploited, but the very process of mining is also made to fund brutal movements in many African nations. As a customer, it is your duty to find out the source of your diamonds and the conditions in which it has been mined. In short, you need to ensure that the diamonds are conflict free. To understand the concept behind ‘conflict free’ diamonds, we must first try and understand what is meant by ‘conflict diamonds’.
Rough or uncut diamonds that are being used by rebel movements or even their associates to finance violence for the purpose of undermining governments are termed as conflict diamonds. In other words, conflict diamonds are those that are illegally traded with the sole purpose of funding conflict in war-torn areas like western and central Africa. According to the definition given by the United Nations (UN) “…….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.” The diamonds are also sometimes known by the term ‘blood diamonds.”
Conflict diamonds caught the world’s attention post the awfully brutal violence in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s. About 4% of the world’s diamond were expected to be conflict diamonds during this period. They were also being used to fund conflicts in areas like Liberia, Angola, Ivory Coast, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo etc.
Owing to several new practices adopted by the diamond industry, such as the Kimberley Process and the System of Warranties, the flow of conflict diamonds have been considerably reduced to about less than 1%.
The conflict-free diamonds are therefore those diamonds that are not obtained via such disgraceful acts like child labor, human rights abuses, violence or even environmental degradation. The Kimberley process of the United Nation only centers on diamonds that are under the control of of recognized and legitimate governments, but in general conflict-free diamonds usually goes a step ahead by concentrating on rejecting those diamonds from the governments that trade diamonds to fund various conflicts.
How to Choose a Conflict Free Diamond?
• Research: Find an authentic source, a jeweller you can trust. Only a genuine person can specialize in jewelleries or diamonds that are conflict free. Hence, when it comes to selecting a jeweller or diamond store, ensure that you do your research thoroughly and choose someone who is known to fairly source their diamonds, support good projects in the diamond mining areas and also render their support to the Diamond Development Initiative.
• Express/Talk with Your Jeweler: Express your concern by talking to your jeweller. You need to ask him questions concerning the diamond’s source. Make sure that the jeweller is able to clearly answer your questions and explain to you the details of its journey from the mines to the jewellery store. If your jeweller is unable to answer those questions or is sounding vague, you need to find a more reliable and knowledgeable jeweler who can acquaint you with all the details and ensure you that the diamonds are conflict-free.
• Do not purchase diamonds that are sourced from areas of conflict: The best way to ensure that you are purchasing conflict-free diamonds is by totally avoiding diamonds that are from the areas of conflicts or where mining is used to fund various conflicts. Avoid buying diamonds that are from areas like Angola, Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia etc. Instead, it will be better to purchase your diamonds from areas like Namibia, Botswana, Canada, Sierra Leone etc.
• Know the Limits of the Kimberley Process: Do not completely base your decisions on the certification of the Kimberley Process. As mentioned earlier, their definition of conflict-free diamond is very narrow. They do not cater to such issues as child labor, exploitation and issues like environmental destruction associated with diamond mining. The concept of conflict-free diamonds go much beyond that and it is your duty to understand what exactly is meant by conflict-free diamonds.