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Summer 2000

It’s unanimous. The U.N. and every diamond organization in the world including the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, the Int’l. Diamond Manufacturers Association, the U.S., European Union, U.K., Canada, even Russia all agree that diamonds should not be bought from anyone who is prolonging the civil wars and conflicts in countries such as Angola, Sierra Leione, Congo and other nations that are directly or indirectly involved.

All agree that steps should be taken to embargo diamonds from these regions and sanction any companies that deal in these diamonds. The moral issue raised by Global Witness and other humanitarian organizations is indisputable. The U.N., in session as we write, will strongly condemn any trading in so-called conflict diamonds. The main target seem to be Liberia and Burkina Faso. The question is not about good intent but about practical implementation. Identifying the source of a rough diamond meant for re-cutting has never been attempted.

Norsam Technologies, Inc., first mentioned in our February 1999 issue, has developed a laser-based technology to certify the origin of rough diamonds and other stones without affecting the grading quality. We have not tested whether Norsam’s technology withstands the whole cutting process and we doubt whether it is practical and cost effective to stamp every one of the hundreds of thousands of the world’s diamonds.

The solution is not in the identification of black-listed diamonds, thereby blocking some African nations from exploiting their natural resources, rather it is the resolution of the various conflicts for the benefit and prosperity of these nations.

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