Emphasizing America’s focus on eliminating trade of conflict diamonds, President Bill Clinton addressed the subject on his last day in office. Clinton issued an executive order to halt Sierra Leone imports without government-authorized certificates of origin.
At the same time, the World Diamond Council, met in London and asked the U.S. Congress to back a gem certification system aimed at blocking sales of conflict diamonds. The law proposed by the WDC would require rough diamonds to be certified through government documentation that includes the carat weight of each shipment, along with a registration number. The content could therefore be identified – reliably – as coming from a legitimate source.
Violators would be fined $250,000 and the U.S. Customs would have authority to seize illicit shipments. The law would go into effect of Sept. 1.
"This is an international problem that demands an international solution. We believe there is broad agreement internationally on the principles on which this proposal is based. Now it is up to governments to run these principles into law and to enforce the rules vigorously," says Eli Izhakoff, WDC chairman.
At a recent White House conference, meanwhile, scientists doubted the ability to positively tag diamonds. Former national security advisor Samuel Berger called for development of a method for tracing origin of stones over the next 10 years.
However, it is our hope that within 10 years, these civil wars will be over in diamond mining zones.