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Conflict Diamond Issue and Vigilance Committee of Jewelers’ Views

2003: Conflict Diamond Issue and Rules of Purchasing Diamond by Kimberley

Feb. 2003

If all goes according to plan, soon there will be no more issue of "conflict diamonds."

In January, governments all over the world began implementing the Kimberley Process. The system was developed over the last two years by governments, non-profit groups and the industry, with a common goal: To end the trade in conflict diamonds.

Under the Kimberley rules, every rough diamond coming into and exiting a country will have to get a government-issued certificate saying it is not from a conflict area. This system will let jewelers show warranties to customers assuring them their goods were purchased from legitimate sources — although even at the height of the problem, these conflict-tainted stones only made up 4% of overall production.

Every time new diamonds change hands, the sellers must assure to their legitimacy by means of a warranty:

"The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in the funding of conflict and in compliance with United Nations resolutions. The seller hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds."

Jewelers and club members also agreed to buy diamonds from suspect or unknown sources of supply, or any source found to violate restrictions against conflict diamonds, or a firm that doesn’t include the above statement on invoice.

In addition, each member organization has agreed to expel and publicize the expulsion of anyone who violates these rules.

We at the Diamond Registry Bulletin are proud of how our industry reacted swiftly to eradicate these stones from the pipeline.

We hope consumers realize that the industry has done as much as it can to end this situation. The one area that is rarely mentioned — but could be a big issue — is the billions of dollars in stock goods in the pipeline, which do not and cannot require Kimberley Process documents. According to the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, when dealing with stock goods, jewelers should give assurances that "every effort" is being made to see that these are not conflict diamonds. Consumers will hopefully understand that the odds are overwhelming that these goods were not found in conflict areas, but were more likely providing better conditions for people in countries like Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.


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