web counter diamond jewelry politics - Diamonds at Heart

Conflict DiamondsOften called Conflict Diamonds, Blood Diamonds are diamonds which are produced in areas that are unfortunately controlled by rebel forces who are opposed to internationally recognized governments. The rebels sell these diamonds on the black market, and the money which they earn this way is then used to purchase arms or to fund their guerrilla military actions.

Oftentimes, Blood Diamonds are produced through forced labor by men, women and yes, even children. Often, they are stolen during shipment or seized by attacking the mining operations of legitimate stone and gem jewelry producers. These attacks may even be on the scale of large military operations. Then, the stones are smuggled into the international diamond trade and sold as legitimate gems. Such diamonds are often the main source of funding for these rebels, however, smugglers, arms merchants, and dishonest diamond traders make their actions a reality by unknowingly enabling them. Obscenely huge amounts of money are at stake and bribes, torture, threats, and murder are modes of operation. This is why we use the term “blood diamond.”

The flow of Blood Diamonds has originated mainly from Angola, Sierra Leone, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and The Ivory Coast. Currently, The United Nations and other groups such as Amnesty International are working to block the entry of blood diamonds into the worldwide diamond trade. This approach of theirs has been to develop a government certification procedure which is known internationally as the Kimberly Process.

This procedure requires that each country can certify that all rough diamond exports are produced through legitimate mining and sales activity. All rough diamonds that are exported from these nations are then to be accompanied by certificates. These certificates state that the diamonds were originally produced, sold and exported through legitimate channels. The certification process accounts for all of the rough diamonds, through every step of their process, that is, from mine to retail sale. Retail customers buying a cut diamond are encouraged to insist upon a sales receipt that documents that their diamond originated from a conflict free source.

Nations that agree to participate in the Kimberly process aren’t permitted to trade with nonmember Nations. That is good. The Kimberly Process is said to have significantly reduced the number of Conflict Diamonds which are reaching international gem markets. Today 71 governments and several non-governmental organizations adhere to the laws of the Kimberly Process. The only two nations which remain under Kimberly Process sanctions as of December, 2006 were the Ivory Coast and Libya. The World Diamond Council estimates that 99% of all diamonds, today, are conflict free. That means non-blood diamonds.

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