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The most important criteria, even before the other 5Cs, while buying a diamond is the 6th C – that it should be conflict-free. In 2002, the UN along with a coalition of governments and non-governmental organizations adopted a system – the Kimberley Process – to end the practice of diamond trading that involved any form of conflict. They wanted to make sure every diamond traded has been mined and shipped in a humane, environmentally conscious, conflict-free and legitimate way. Today, 99 percent of the diamonds that are traded around the world are conflict-free. The most important thing is to ensure the diamond has documentation all the way from the mine to the market. Uniglo specialises in conflict-free diamonds, and will be able to produce the Kimberley Process certificate with each diamond you purchase.
What Are Conflict-Free Diamonds?
Diamonds that are sold illegally to finance war and terror; those that have been mined by abusing labourers and with some form of criminal activity involved are called conflict diamonds or blood diamonds. These diamonds most come from rogue operators in African countries, but with criminal operators part of the supply chain, they can easily end up anywhere in the world. By purchasing blood diamonds, you are fueling criminal activity in the world. Conflict-free diamonds in contrast, are those diamonds that have been ethically mined and sold, through a full-proof supply chain, and unassociated to any labour abuse or crime.
Conflict-Free Diamonds And Its History
Blood diamonds have been around for decades, but they really came under the international spotlight during the 1900s when the Sierra Leone civil war occurred. For nine years rebel groups used horrific tactics like rape, mutilation and financed this crime with the smuggling and selling od diamonds. The war resulted in more than 75,000 deaths and 2 million people being displaced – and brought the outrageous reality of blood diamonds to the world’s attention. This along with the Angola war, which was also financed by blood diamonds, and other atrocities linked to diamonds, gave the world enough reason to bring a stop to all of this. That is when the Kimberley Process came to life.
Understanding The Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process is an international alliance of around 80 countries who pledged to engage in diamond trade only with countries who agreed to the terms and conditions of the alliance. In 2000, much of the diamond industry partnered with the United Nations and other organizations to create the Kimberley Process Certification. This requires the country to closely monitor and officially audit incoming diamonds from the time they are mined to its final sale. When the shipment enters the country, it is given a Kimberley Process certificate that verifies the diamonds to be conflict free. Import and export of rough diamonds is only allowed between Kimberley Process member countries. Every diamond imported or exported must carry with it a Kimberley Process Certificate, sealed in a tamper-free container. Without this certificate, the said shipment is not permitted to enter or leave the Kimberley Process member country. The goal of this system was to positively improve the working conditions for miners and bring to a halt diamond sale proceeds going to outlaw forces that promote war and violence. During the time of the Sierra Leone civil war, conflict diamonds accounted for about 4% of the total diamond production . Today, this number has successfully dropped to less than 1%. While choosing the right cut, colour, carat and clarity is important, there’s nothing more crucial than knowing whether your diamond is conflict free or not.