Conflict Diamonds and Ethical Sourcing
Diamonds mined in war zones
Conflict Diamond or Blood diamond is a general term for diamonds and expensive gemstones mined from diamond-rich conflict or war zones in the world.
Primarily in the central and western African nations, some areas are controlled by groups of armed insurgents and militants who, unfortunately, capture the local population and coerce them into unfree labor with the threat of violence. One of the tasks for this forced labor including children is to mine the diamonds and other exquisite stones under the direct supervision of armed militants.
The conflicts are augmented by the illicit trade of mined diamonds, resulting in destitution and killing of thousands of innocent indigenous people by the hands of rebel groups, often including child soldiers. Even today, these stones are being used by the outlaws to fuel civil wars and disturb the peace in the regions like Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Angola.
One of the primary reasons for this type of unsettling dispute is the price of blood diamonds. For consumers like us, it only costs a small percentage of the ideal price to buy a conflict diamond in the black market.
Backed by touring smugglers’ illegal techniques to supply the valuable stones to the developed world, warlords and rebels readily accept an exchange of locally mined diamonds for automatic firearms, cash and other modern necessities which are not available in those backward war zones. In the worst case scenario, the trade of conflict diamonds could be used to finance terrorism and human trafficking.
What happens if you buy such a diamond
With unlawful transactions, chances of negative consequences are very high for innocent lives not only in the war-torn countries supplying these precious stones but in our localities as well. One way or another, terrorism and human-trafficking need funding to sustain and for this reason, they heavily rely on the gray market of natural assets like oil, gas, precious stones and metals.
Boycotting these stones is a good idea if you want to stop the insurgents from financing any war in these unstable regions because a legalized trade contributes to eliminating poverty, child labor, and the ongoing conflict.
How to know if a diamond is not a conflict diamond
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS): This process was incepted to cut the trade of conflict diamonds and stop the resulting violence bolstered by rebel movements. As an effort towards the ethical sourcing of diamonds, shipments of gems from the affected countries are strictly controlled to validate the origin of stones by a paper trail with the help of local authorities.
The Kimberley Process is headed by multiple participating nations and is currently being chaired by India in 2019. Later on, this management will be passed down to another country as a regular practice of KPCS.
Before buying a diamond, if you are able to see the paperwork issued by any renowned Diamond Certification Institute, that should be sufficient. Without an authentic diamond grading report, it is difficult to tell the origin of a diamond. Moreover, some retailers also use Blockchain Technology, like Tracr, to pinpoint the source of diamonds. You may also ask the dealers to provide their written policy about selling conflict-free diamonds.