Until recently, most people who bought diamonds were totally unconcerned about the source of those diamonds; taking a “diamond is a diamond” attitude as it were. Now, however, with the new big-budget movie, “Blood Diamonds,” about to hit the screens in Europe and eventually in the US and with all the new information that is arriving with the movie, people are starting to wonder where those diamonds they proudly wear came from and, more to the point, how many people died for them.
Blood diamonds (also called “conflict diamonds”) are diamonds that were used as payment to fund bloody armed conflicts in Africa. You, as a consumer, can’t tell a blood diamond from any other diamond by looking at it but your jeweler can — not by looking at the diamond but by looking at the documentation that tells where that diamond comes from. More and more frequently, jewelers are being asked to do just that.
The diamond industry started mobilizing in 2002 to assure the public, as well as their own member jewelers, that any diamond they purchase was procured from a country that is free of diamond-financed conflict. The answer they found is described as the “Kimberley Process.” The Kimberley Process is a scheme that certifies the origin of each diamond and prevents purchase of diamonds from countries that have not certified that their diamonds were not used to finance armed conflicts. The Kimberley process gets its name from the location of the initial meeting of South-African diamond-producing states in 2000; Kimberley South Africa. At that meeting the process was begun that led to the certification process that was finally agreed upon in 2002 by nations that trade in diamonds and by the major diamond mining and producing companies. Only countries that agree to and adhere to the Kimberley scheme are allowed to trade in diamonds in the international diamond markets.
Read more about the Kimberley Process at Wikipedia
You can also find out virtually everything you ever wanted to know about diamonds by going to diamonds and clicking on the Education link near the top of the page.
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