Most people are unaware of the role diamonds play in bringing real benefits to
people in the countries around the world where diamonds are sourced. Nowhere is
this more evident than in Africa. It is also in Africa that this same resource
has been used to fund conflict. In 2000, a coalition of governments,
non-governmental organizations and the diamond industry worked together to
address this issue. In 2002 they established the Kimberley Process Certification
System, a United Nations-backed process that has virtually eliminated the trade
in conflict diamonds. Today, over 99% of the world's supply of diamonds are from
sources free of conflict.
Buy With Confidence:
As a consumer, you should feel good about your diamond purchase. Ask your
friends and family for recommendations to find a jeweler you can trust. Make
sure that the jeweler is willing to spend time providing the information you
need. A reputable jeweler should:
- Only use suppliers who can provide a
guarantee that their diamonds are from sources free of conflict.
- Have a conflict diamond policy.
- Be able to answer a customer's questions
about the topic.
Esslinger and Company’s Conflict Diamond Policy:
Esslinger and Company has written policies in place from suppliers that all of
our diamonds are from conflict free sources. We will not knowingly purchase or
sell any conflict diamonds.
What are Conflict Diamonds?
Conflict diamonds are diamonds illegally traded to fund conflict in war-torn
areas, particularly in central and western Africa. The United Nations defines
conflict diamonds as "...diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces
or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments,
and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in
contravention of the decisions of the Security Council." These diamonds are
sometimes referred to as "blood diamonds."
Conflict diamonds captured the world's attention during the extremely brutal
conflict in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s. During this time, it is estimated
that conflict diamonds represented approximately 4% of the world's diamond
production. Illicit rough diamonds have also been used by rebels to fund
conflicts in Angola, Liberia, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo and
the Republic of Congo (also known as Congo Brazzaville).
Today, the flow of conflict diamonds has been reduced to considerably less than
Eliminating Conflict Diamonds
In July 2000, the global diamond industry made clear to the international
community its zero tolerance policy towards conflict diamonds. Dedicated to
eradicating the trade in conflict diamonds, it worked closely with the United
Nations, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Global
Witness and Partnership Africa Canada to create the Kimberley Process
Certification System. This system was formally adopted in 2003 and guards
against conflict diamonds entering the legitimate diamond supply chain. The
diamond industry also adopted a voluntary System of Warranties to assure
consumers that their diamonds are from sources free of conflict.
Today, 74 governments have enshrined into their national law the Kimberley
Process Certification System, and now more than 99% of the world's diamonds are
from conflict free sources. However, even one conflict diamond is one too many.
The diamond industry continues to work with governments, NGOs, and the UN to
strengthen the Kimberley Process and the System of Warranties.
While diamonds have been used to fund conflict, the problem is not the diamonds
themselves but the rebels who exploit diamonds (along with other natural
resources) to achieve their illicit goals. The vast majority of diamonds come
from countries at peace. These countries have been able to invest the revenue
from diamonds into the development of infrastructure, schools and hospitals for
the good of the communities in which diamonds are found. These countries include
Australia, Botswana, Canada, Namibia, Russia, South Africa and Tanzania.
A Word about the Kimberley Process and Conflict Diamonds:
"Diamonds are a unique resource, evoking beauty and eternal love. In recent
years, pictures of maimed children have threatened to overwhelm these
traditional positive images, when rebel groups in Africa used diamonds to
finance their wars and unspeakable brutalities against civilian populations.
Aroused by these conflicts, the international community mobilized to ensure
people living in countries with abundant diamond deposits receive the benefits
of their patrimony.
Outraged in the late 1990's that proceeds from diamond sales financed arms
purchases and prolonged insurrections in Sierra Leone and Angola which were some
of the most brutal of the past decade, the international community acted. By
2003 the international community through the participants in the Kimberley
Process, bringing together industry, governments and civil society, mobilized
governments to ban trade in rough diamonds funding African conflicts. Called the
"Kimberley Process Certification Scheme" the ban ended those African conflicts
financed by "blood" diamonds. Based on the respect for human dignity, the
negotiators found the following common interests to win support for an
international ban on trade in rough diamonds used to finance war and rebellion:
- First, in memory of those who died in
Sierra Leone, in Angola, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other
African countries in conflicts fueled by rough “Conflict Diamonds;”
- Second, to end the killing in on-going
conflicts in Africa;
- Third, to save the children of Africa
whose lives would be threatened by future conflicts fueled by conflict
- Fourth, to ensure those countries which
depend on diamonds for their development and economic well-being will
benefit from their patrimony;
- and Fifth, to assure consumers the
diamonds they wish to enjoy are without the taint of conflict.
Through the worldwide implementation of the
Kimberley Process Certification Scheme we have begun to fulfill the
international community's obligation to those who have suffered in Africa's wars
by banning the trade in conflict diamonds. We have eliminated conflict diamond
financing in Sierra Leone and are committed to bring the proceeds from the
diamond trade to benefit the people of Sierra Leone, Angola and Liberia as well
as all other diamond producing countries such as Botswana to help themselves
support economic development of their countries."
- Ambassador J.D. Bindenagel, Former U.S.
Special Negotiator for Conflict Diamonds