The diamond trade is rocked by the issue of conflict diamonds. This is where money obtained from diamond is used to fund civil wars and other human rights violations in some countries. This corrupt trade was very prominent in African countries such as Sierra Leona and Angola. The movie “Blood Diamonds” brought this vice to the light and this caused uproar in the world to stop the trade of blood diamonds.
As a result, there were attempts to curb the trade and this significantly decreased its prevalence. Despite the success, this vice has not been 100% dealt with. This is because of the development of advanced technology that can forge the laser inscriptions and certifications that verify the source of diamonds. Nonetheless, which diamonds are defined as conflict-free?
What are conflict-free diamonds?
Conflict-free diamonds are ethically mined and sold diamonds, they are not sold illegally to fund wars, terrorism, and acts of violence. For a diamond to be considered exclusively conflict-free, it should meet all of the following criteria:
- There are no claims of child labor.
- It is not funding any civil wars, terrorism, or acts of violence.
- The people employed at the mines are earning a fair salary.
- The mines are safe with proper working conditions.
- The mines are not causing any environmental hazards
However, not all of these conditions are recognized by the bodies that govern conflict diamonds. Countries that are officially at war are not credible sources of diamond. Unfortunately, there are countries that are not at war but the diamonds are produced with serious human rights violations.
The Kimberley Process
The Kimberly Process is the best attempt to stop the trade of conflict diamonds. The diamonds that are conflict-free should have a certificate of origin that verify that they are obtained from conflict-free nations. They use unique numbering and laser inscriptions to mark these diamonds and this has reduced the blood diamonds by almost 98%.
The Kimberley Process has greatly reduced the trade of conflict diamonds but it has not done enough to stop the trade. This is because there are some corrupt dealers who have perfected the art of forging certificates and this has reduced its effectiveness in curbing this vice. So, just be aware that a Kimberley certified diamond may not be a truly conflict-free diamond.
Also, the Kimberley process only considers diamonds that fund civil wars and other human rights violations in war-torn countries as conflict diamonds. The other ethical considerations are left out of the definition hence the certificate may declare some unethically obtained diamonds as conflict-free. The issues such as exploitation of workers, child labor, forced labor, and environmental pollution should be incorporated into the definition to make the diamonds 100% conflict-free.
Who Sells Conflict-Free Diamonds?
Only reputable jewelry retailers only acquire Kimberley certified diamonds and you should ask for the certificate whenever you are purchasing a gem. This will ensure that your money is not used to fuel any violence in another country.
The diamonds with Kimberley certifications are regarded as conflict-free and any buyer should strive to buy such gems. This may not be absolutely true but it is the best assurance we have so far. You should buy a conflict-free diamond to set your conscience free and have a guarantee that your money is not used to oppress other people elsewhere.