Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Conflict Diamonds

What is a conflict diamond? Conflict diamonds are diamonds that are sold to fund the unlawful and illegal operations of rebel, military and terrorist groups. The countries most affected by conflict diamonds are Sierra Leone, Angola, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo--all places where citizens have been terrorized, mutilated and killed by groups in control of the local diamond trade. Recently, some participating countries have started something called the Kimberly Process. The Kimberly Process accounts for more than 99% of their diamonds and insures they are non-conflict.

It's a topic that really concerns me because many conflict diamonds still find themselves in jewelry stores all over the world. Forget non-existent weapons of mass distruction. How about our funding terrorism by purchasing conflict diamonds? There are many comapanies around the world that cannot account for where their diamonds come from, according to a British based report by Global Witness: Bulgari, Cartier, and Harry Winston--failed to respond to Global Witness in writing about their policies on conflict diamonds and how they ensure that none are sold by their stores. U.S. jewelry chains, including Littman Jewelers, Whitehall Jewelers and U.S. department stores like Bloomingdales, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue, also failed to respond.

I hope this disturbs you and makes you want to take some sort of action, even if it's as simple as buying your diamonds from non-conflict diamond retailers, who also have documentation as to where their diamonds come from. Here's a buyers guide on how to purchase a non-conflict diamond. Information can also easily be found on google.


Iris Ophelia said...

This has always really concerned me... but...
I really hate diamonds anyways. It's all a huge scam. DeBeers has a big vault full somewhere, locked up forever, to keep prices high. What makes a diamond so much better than an opal or a star sapphire which, even polished into a uniform roundess, shimmer and sparkle?
Boycott diamonds. Period. :\

Simone said...

I've known about this for a long time, and have never owned diamonds as a result. I'm glad to hear about the Kimberly Project. I hope we can educate more people so that once in a lifetime engagement ring can be worn without others cringing when they see it. We need to come to grips with the simple truth that what we do has far reaching impact that we may never fully see, even something as simple as buying a little trinket for a loved one. Thanks for posting this, Cici.

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