The Hollywood blockbuster, ‘Blood Diamond’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio, has raised the awareness of Conflict Diamonds. People considering buying a diamond to mark a special occasion in their life quite reasonably demand to know the diamond they purchase has not come at the expense of human suffering.
As the Melbourne spokesperson for the Australian jewellery associations, The Diamond Guild Australia (DGA) and the Gemmological Association of Australia (GAA) and a member of the Jewellers Association of Australia, I can explain to you first hand the steps that the industry has taken, in partnership with the United Nation,s to stem the illegal trade in illicit diamonds from the mine to consumer.
There are two programs that have been put in place to assure customers that the diamonds they buy are not from countries involved in conflict.
The UN-sanctioned Kimberly Process Certification Scheme ensures that each diamond shipment across a border must be certified, sealed in a tamper-resistant container by the export tax-collecting government where the diamonds have been legitimately mined. These Export taxes aid development in third-world African nations, sometimes as much as 70% of export revenues. KIMBERLY PROCESS WEBSITE
The System of Warranties is a program which further assures consumers of the source of their diamonds by ensuring that once a diamond has been tracked along an auditable pipeline. All invoices for the diamonds as they pass from cutter, to wholesalers and retailers must be accompanied by a written statement guaranteeing that they are from legitimate sources. All the diamond trade markets, bankers and associations have refused to finance or facilitate trade between non-complying businesses. SYSTEM OF WARRANTIES WEBSITE
By purchasing diamonds and diamond jewellery from DGA, JAA and GAA members,
consumer’s can be assured that the diamonds they purchase are conflict free.
Since implementation in 2003, these programs have resulted in a drop in the supply of conflict diamonds during the 1990’s of 4% – 6%, to today of a small fraction of 1%. Clean diamonds are now worth more than the few percent export taxes, and since manufacturing and consuming nations do not levy import duties on either rough or polished diamonds, there is now an incentive not to smuggle diamonds.
Holloway Diamonds, helping to create a ‘Brighter Africa’
As the owner of Holloway Diamonds (formerly Precious Metals). I have personally designed and created a diamond pendant and hav declared that 100% of the profit of its sale is donated to ‘Brighter Africa’ (www.birghterafrica.org). The 2 diamond and white gold pendant portrays and African mother and her child. Brighter Africa is a not for profit organisation dedicated to bettering the lives of people in Sierra Leone who were affected by decades of civil war in which was funded in part by the illicit mining of diamonds.