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March 2001

First Global Witness started the campaign against “conflict diamonds.” Now Amnesty International and a lot of other groups are jumping on the bandwagon. Amnesty is even using De Beers’ techniques against them, by using a parody of De Beers’ “Shadows” ads. The ad starts as the typical “Shadows” ad, then talks about the war in Sierra Leone, mentions the atrocities there, and even features someone having their hand cut off in silhouette.

While these groups say over and over again they are not calling for a boycott, they have the potential to hurt the diamond industry just as badly as any boycott could. For example, the Amnesty video ends with a woman refusing her diamond ring and then says “refuse to take part.” These activists also recommend consumers ask their jewelers where their diamonds come from. Everyone who’s informed on the issue know there really is know way to find out where a diamond is from but less than 4% of diamonds are from areas of conflict. Anyone who can’t give a proper answer, however, risks losing a customer.

Still, jewelers so far have reported no case of a woman “refusing to take part” in receiving a diamond ring — unless, of course, she doesn’t like the man who gives it to her.

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