Diamonds are truly one of nature’s most beautiful objects. When cut and polished and given with love, they become a priceless gift.
But, unfortunately, some diamonds, sold by unscrupulous dealers, are tainted with blood. This may sound extreme, but I’ll explain.
Around the world we see many regional and local conflicts where guerillas and terrorists seek to gain control of the state. In countries where diamonds are found and mined, these same forces use diamonds to fund their military campaigns. If this wasn’t bad enough, the real problem and tragedy lies in how these diamonds are mined.
Based on the premise that “the end justifies the means”, tens of thousands of men, women and children are “conscripted” to mine for diamonds under the harshest possible conditions. If they are paid at all, it is barely enough to survive on. But, more often than not, they are used as slave labor, working 12 or more hours a day, 7 days a week and closely guarded to ensure that they continue working and don’t escape.
Life for these people is gruesome, the death rate tremendous with horrendous punishments being handed out for even the smallest of infractions.
All this so that the rebel leaders can sell diamonds to finance their military and terrorist campaigns.
It’s a sad fact, than many diamond dealers are tempted by the low prices they pay for conflict diamonds. The draw of selling a diamond at its full market value and making a huge profit, is one that to many dealers have succumbed to.
International steps have been taken to stop, or at least, reduce the trade in blood diamonds. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme established in 2000 laid down a set of standards and regulations for the transfer of rough, conflict free diamonds. The aim of this UN backed convention, is to certify that the point of origin for rough diamonds comes from conflict free sources. The hope was that this would stop the flow of conflict diamonds into the retail market and so lessen human rights abuse funded by the trade in blood diamonds.
In addition to the Kimberley Process, some countries such as the United States and Canada have passed laws and instituted regulations and certification processes to ensure that diamonds sold within their jurisdiction are conflict free diamonds.
But is this enough? The sad truth is that it isn’t. Despite the Kimberly Process and all those other measures, human greed and corruption means that there is still a huge trade in these diamonds. Corrupt officials in the source countries regularly accept bribes to falsify the paperwork that is supposed to proof that the diamonds are conflict free. Diamond dealers, in search of a quick profit, turn a blind eye because they know that once a diamond is cut and polished – identifying it as a conflict diamond is very difficult.
Well, to put it bluntly – you can’t because, as just said, once the stone is cut and polished, identification is problematical in the extreme.
So what can you do? Before buying that wonderful piece of diamond jewelry, ask the jeweler or supplier four simple questions.
Ask the dealer if they have paperwork showing that the diamonds are conflict free. This should be more than just a plain sheet of printed paper but official documentation.
Ask about the source of the diamonds. Where were they mined? If the answer is vague, that should set of a warning bell. If the source is Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo or other known conflict areas, that’s another warning sign.
Note: GIA diamond certification points to the diamond’s physical characteristics not whether or not it is a blood diamond.
Find out if the store has a defiant policy regarding the purchase and sale of conflict free diamonds.
Ask if their suppliers also have a conflict free diamond policy.
If all the answers are affirmative, then you can probably go ahead with a clear conscience. The important thing is that dealers should be aware that there is increasing pressure from the public to stop this trade. The more people who show awareness and concern, the less tempted dealers will be to try and market conflict diamonds.
Here at Couplez Diamonds, we are 150% committed to only providing our clients with conflict free diamonds. That’s why we carefully monitor the source and shipping of all our diamonds, to be sure that each and every one is pure in every sense of the word.