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Blood Diamonds and the Kimberley Process
History of the Blood Diamond
The blood diamond sometimes termed as conflict diamond, converted diamond or war diamond was identified by the United Nations in the 1990’s. The term is used to identify diamonds that were being used to finance rebel actions and guerilla warfare. Typically, this activity has occurred in Africa.
History of the Blood Diamond - United Nations Response
The United Nations responded to the harvesting of blood diamonds by implementing sanctions against countries that were known to have mined and used diamonds as trade to fund war activities. The first country to have sanctions passed against it was Angola in 1998. Liberia followed and a host of other African countries that were violating human rights and funding war.
The tragedies of the Blood Diamond process were depicted in the 2006 film by the same name. Blood Diamond, the film by Ed Zwick, brought home the reality of the illegal trade to millions of viewers worldwide.
History of the Kimberley Process
History of the Kimberley Process - De Beers Involvement
The United Nations was aware of the issue but the diamond industry stepped in to devise a certification process for the origin of diamonds to insure only conflict free diamonds were being purchased. The World Diamond Council met in Kimberley South Africa to devise a plan that would certify diamonds conflict free. Andrew Coxon, President of the De Beers Institute of Diamonds is one of the founding members of the World Diamond Council and was an integral part of this attempt by the World Diamond Council. The council included both industry buyers and representatives from producer countries. The process took about two years to realize success and the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was designed. The United Nations gave approval in 2002.
The Kimberley Process
Briefly, the requirements that are set forth by The Kimberley Process Scheme state that:
Diamonds are to be shipped in sealed containers that are tamper resistant.
A tamper resistant Kimberley Process Certification that is uniquely numbered has to accompany the rough diamonds.
Diamonds can only be transported to countries that are Kimberley Process participants.
Violations are reported to the World Trade Organizations and actions are taken.
There is a system of warranties in place as well. These legal affirmations are printed on invoices for both rough and polished diamonds. The diamond industry has set up a set of rules for self regulation. De Beers diamonds was the frontrunner in setting up these self governing rules. The member risks expulsion from industry organizations if the member violates any of the self governed rules.
De Beers offers a Diamond Passport with every piece of diamond jewelry that it sells guaranteeing that the diamonds are 100% conflict free and are ethically produced.