Kimberley Process Delegation Visits Israel

The Issue of "Conflict Diamonds" is a Difficult One

21.05.08

Justifiably, you might at first ask your jeweller to set a diamond into your engagement ring that say, comes from Canada, where there are officially, no conflicts. Upon further thought, you might see that it could be possible for disreputable people to infiltrate the Canadian supply chain and therefore it would be best not to buy a real diamond at all. However, delve deep enough and you will find that for some African countries diamonds are integral to people's livelihoods. For example, 86% of Botswana's export earnings come from legal mining, most of which is diamonds.

The industry's best guess is that only 0.2% of diamonds come from conflict sources. You don't have to be good at statistics to work out that you are likely to do more harm than good by avoiding diamonds from Africa. For instance, Botswana is a fairly poor country and it is estimated that as much as 25% of its population has AIDS (one of the highest rates in the world). They probably need your trade somewhat more than the Canadians do. Note the Botswana mining industry is approximately 50% owned by its own government.

The global diamond industry has become very focused on the conflict issue, and that was long before the Blood Diamonds film - although that did a lot to educate the public, which was a good thing. The industry has continued to refine and ever strive to improve the enforcement of "The Kimberley Process", a process that strives to ensure that conflict diamonds can't enter the supply chain.

So, when you go to a jeweller insist on seeing certification documents and ask them to explain the Kimberley Process to you. If they can't, shop elsewhere. If it's an online retailer be sure to check their conflict policy. All reputable sites will link this somewhere on their home page.

Israel Visit

And that brings me neatly to the end of my article. I hope it gives you some ideas to research via Google and I hope it explains why I think it is important news that a delegation from the Kimberley Process is visiting Israel this week. Many of the world's diamonds are cut, graded and polished in Israel and therefore they make their way for sale in New Zealand. To know that this process is alive and well, and more importantly being constantly refined, improved and enforced, is important.

Diamonds - the Kimberley Process and conflict diamonds

I for one think that the love, permanence and commitment to a relationship, that is signified by the giving of a diamond ring, means a great deal more if you took the care to check someone didn't come to harm so that you could wear it and perhaps means even more if you know that the trade actually did some good for others.

About

Richard Prout is the CEO of www.1791diamonds.com

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