Conflict (or ‘blood’) diamonds are diamonds that have been sourced and traded through illegal means in order to fund conflict. The term was coined in the last 1990s when rebels in some African countries used diamonds to fund armed movements against legitimate governments and caused many human rights abuses.
At the height of the problem, diamonds from these sources accounted for around 4% of the world’s diamond supply. With the initiatives the industry has put in place, they now account for considerably less than 1%.
Since the late 1990’s, the world diamond industry has been taking steps to address the problem of conflict diamonds. Working with international governments, the United Nations and other humanitarian organisations, two important programs were established in 2003 to ensure only legitimately sourced diamonds are traded. These programs are the Kimberley Process Certification System (KP) and the System of Warranties (SoW). All diamonds traded after 1 January 2003 are required to comply with these programs.
Australia is one of 69 counties that are signatories to the Kimberley Process.
The Kimberley Process sets rules for the import and export of rough diamonds, ensuring that every shipment of diamonds that crosses a border must be certified, numbered and sealed. The diamonds are shipped in tamper-resistant containers and accompanied by government validated certificates in order to verify the diamonds have been sourced from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict.
The diamond industry also adopted a System of Warranties to further assure consumers of their diamonds. Once imported and ready to be traded, a written statement must accompany all invoices, guaranteeing that the diamonds or diamond jewellery being sold are from legitimate sources.
Diamond traders and diamond jewellery manufacturers are required to keep records of their invoices and have them audited on an annual basis.
You can only be sure by buying jewellery from a reputable, professional retailer. All Diamond Guild members are committed to eliminating trade in conflict diamonds and, as such, have put in place an auditable means by which they can prove all diamonds sold comply with the World Diamond Council Kimberley Process.
If you have any questions, please contact us or talk to your local DGA member.
Thanks to Trewarne Fine Jewellery for their contribution to this section.