Kimberly Process and Conflict Diamonds: Why You Should Care

Posted by Bella's Fine Jewelers on Jun 8, 2016 12:44:55 PM
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Conflict Diamonds and Kimberly Process

With a growing generation of young adults putting global awareness and social responsibility at the forefront, we are often asked about our diamonds and if they are conflict free.  However, a surprising number of people are unaware of what the Kimberly Process is and why it is so important.

  • What is the Kimberly Process?
  • How does it work?
  • What can I do?
  • Is it a 100% guarantee?

What is the Kimberly Process?

In May of 2000, in the city of Kimberly, South Africa, a group of leaders from diamond producing states met to discuss how they can bring an end to what are called 'blood diamonds.'  These are rough diamonds that have been mined in horrendous conditions and make their way to the international diamond markets though violent rebel organizations, horrific human suffering and loss, and are linked to destabilizing legitimate governments.  

In December of 2000, following the meeting in Kimberly, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to create an international certification process for rough diamonds. And, in 2002 with the support of governments, diamond industry organizations, and civil rights organizations an agreement was made to create what is today called the Kimberly Process, also known as the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme.   

While the cause was widely known throughout the jewelry industry, it was brought to the forefront of pop culture in 2006, gaining the vital attention it needed from mainstream Americans, as well as international attention, when Leonardo DiCaprio's movie "Blood Diamonds" hit the movie theater.  For the first time people from around the world were confronted with the atrocities being committed in the name of diamonds.

Thankfully, even after the movie faded in popularity, the cause did not.  And, thanks human rights organizations around the world and continued attention from celebrities like Teresa Palmer and Mark Webber the cause is still alive today.  In 2013, their engagement made international headlines when they selected a beautiful rose quartz engagement ring with ethically sourced accent diamonds.  

 

How Does The Kimberly Process Work?

Compliance of Kimberly Process begins at the mining level and continues right through to the end sale as a piece of jewelry.  However, the majority of the standards are met early on and include:

  • Legislation on a National and Organization Level
  • Export Controls
  • Import Controls
  • Internal Controls
  • Absolute Transparency
  • Exchange of Statistical Data
  • Limiting Trade To Other Compliant Organizations and Businesses
  • Kimberly Process Certificate Guarantee 

Together these minimum requirements help insure diamond cutters are only accepting conflict free diamonds for entry into the jewelry industry.

 

How Does the Kimberly Process Prevent Blood Diamonds From Entering The Jewelry Industry?

When diamonds are mined from the earth they are in their rough form.  The rough stones are sold to diamond cutters who expertly cut the stone to bring out the desired characteristics.  In turn, these diamond houses sell the stones to jewelry manufactures around the world.  If the rough diamonds can only be purchased from legitimate sources, then only legitimate stones will make it to market.

 

What Are Some Conflict Diamond Misconceptions?

While there are many misconceptions about conflict diamonds, one of the biggest is that a lab certified diamond is proof of it being conflict free.  While yes, a stone can be conflict free and be certified, and most-likely the majority are, the two are not one and the same.  A diamond certification is a lab report on the color, cut, clarity, and carat of the stone.  However, you need a letter from the designer stating that they sell only conflict free diamonds as actual proof.  Here is the letter David Connolly and Jabel sent us:


Jabel Die Struck Jewelry and David Connolly Kimberly Process Statement

 

What Can I Do To Prevent Buying a Conflict Diamond?

Ask for documentation!  I can tell you from experience that many manufacturers are proud to uphold the Kimberly Process.  They believe in being held responsible and accountable for the products that bear their name.

 

Is The Process 100% Effective?

As with any global crisis, there will always be concerns regarding the absolute efficiency of the system. However, it is the moment we stop caring, we give up, or you, the customer, stop asking us to prove our self that the system has failed.  Ask us for documentation. Ask us to be responsible.  Do your part to stay strong and keep millions of people around the world employed in a safer industry that promotes the wellbeing and continued improvement of quality of life for everyone involved.  And, we will continue to bring you only diamonds that follow the ethical standards set forth in the Kimberly Process and honor those brave leaders who stepped up to bring an end to this crisis.

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Bella's Fine Jewelers

The authors of Bella's Blog are dedicated to the American Jewelry scene. From pairing jewelry with today's trend to gemology, Bella's blog will intrigue even the most passionate jewelry fanatic.

June 08, 2016

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