“‘Diamonds are forever’ it is often said. But, lives are not.“-Martin Chungong Ayafor, Chairman of the Sierra Leone Panel of Experts Although Blood Diamond, was released six years ago, I finally watched it for the first time just a few days ago. I was very moved by the story, so I decided to do a little research to see if I could find any current information on the issue of blood diamonds. But first, blood diamonds…What are blood diamonds? Blood diamonds are “diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions as opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and [they] are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments.” (cite)
In 2000 the Kimberly Process was launched in an effort to monitor the trade of conflict diamonds. The Kimberly Process “is a joint governments, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds – rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments.” (cite) Although as far as I can see, there are no current conflicts producing blood diamonds (see this article on the import of diamonds from India), there are still many conflict diamonds in circulation. As of the beginning of this year, over 76 countries have committed to the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, which “imposes extensive requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free’ and prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate trade.” (cite) As consumers, we can work to ensure that this scheme is successful, by making sure that any diamond we purchase comes with a “Certificate of Origin,” which insures that the diamonds we purchase are legitimate. So next time you need to purchase a diamond, consider asking for its Certificate of Origin, and make sure that you are purchasing a legitimate diamond and not a blood diamond.