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June 2006

The US jewelry industry is gearing up to counter any negative effects from the upcoming film “The Blood Diamond.” The film is due to star Leonardo DiCaprio as a South African mercenary jailed for smuggling in Sierra Leone, during its civil war that lasted until 2002 and killed 50,000 people.

“The danger is that people will think the situation in the film is continuing today,” Peggy Jo Donahue, public affairs director of trade group Jewelers of America told Reuters recently.

She noted that a new website on diamonds is being set up to answer queries from consumers.

The chairman of the Kimberley Process, Kago Moshashane of Botswana, wrote the producers of the film asking that it include an epilogue explaining the measures taken to stem the illicit trade.

He said Botswana was worried that a consumer boycott could damage its efforts to boost education and healthcare since the diamond sector accounted for around half of government revenue.

Consumers worried about this issue should look for companies like the Diamond Registry who has set policies against dealing in conflict stones and has been actively involved with the efforts to stop this trade.

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