The illicit trade of blood diamonds has always been a huge concern in the diamond industry, but it was not until the release of Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2006 movie ‘Blood Diamond’ that the heated topic took center stage in the minds of retailers and consumers. To most diamond buyers, a first priority in the search for the perfect loose diamond is that it not be in any way connected with conflict diamonds. Responsible diamond importers and wholesalers can reassure customers with the knowledge that their diamond was mined and processed in an ethical manner by adhering to the guidelines set forth in the Kimberly Process.
The Kimberley Process (KP) is an initiative that was launched in conjunction with the United Nations and the gemstone industry in an effort to rid the market of conflict diamonds. Conflict diamonds first gained national exposure in the late 1990s, when the country of Sierra Leone was wracked with civil war. The brutal nine-year battle was sparked by, in part, the desire of insurgents to control the local diamond mines. In the years since, the term “conflict diamonds” has been used to describe any diamonds that are illegally sold to fund hostile warfare, primarily in western and central Africa.
The UN has issued the following official definition of conflict diamonds: “…diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council.”
The ultimate objective of the Kimberly Process is for all diamond trading to follow a stabilized, legitimate procedure while complying with all environmental and social regulations. All members of the Kimberly Process pledge to ship only conflict-free diamonds to jewelers and consumers.
The Kimberley Process gets its name from the town of Kimberley, South Africa, where the original proponents met in May of 2000 to identify strategies for reducing the flow of conflict diamonds. The following December, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was adopted by the U.N. as a means of standardizing the requirements for certified distributors of conflict-free diamonds. Members of the KPCS must agree to enact laws that regulate the import and export of diamonds, to purchase gemstones only from suppliers who are also in accordance with the KPCS, and to provide full disclosure of all diamond trading.
Today, approximately 99.8% of the world’s diamond distributors adhere to all guidelines of the Kimberly Process as a means of boycotting conflict diamonds. Since its inception, the initiative has resulted in a significant decrease in the flow of conflict diamonds. In addition to working to eliminate conflict diamonds, the Kimberly Process has also worked to boost the economic development of impoverished countries by increasing the flow of legitimately acquired diamonds into the jewelry market.
It is widely believed that responsible consumers, those that inquire about the origins of their diamonds before purchasing, are the biggest component in the effort to stop the trade of conflict diamonds. Here at Brilliance, we are proud to be a certified diamond retailer that is in full compliance with the Kimberley Process.