From time to time I have clients who question the source of the diamonds they want to purchase and want to be assured they are conflict free.
The vendors I have worked with for years are members of the Kimberley process, which is noted on their invoice. The Kimberley Process is a worldwide association of jewelers that have assembled to be sure that much of the revenue generated by the diamond industry goes back to the nations in which the diamonds are mined. This money is building schools, hospitals and improving living conditions in mining communities since the year 2000. Through the Kimberley Process, the diamond trade is monitored to bring an end to 'conflict diamonds'. Quoting from the Kimberley Process website:
The Kimberley Process started when Southern African diamond-producing states met in Kimberley, South Africa, in May 2000, to discuss ways to stop the trade in ‘conflict diamonds' and ensure that diamond purchases were not financing violence by rebel movements and their allies seeking to undermine legitimate governments.
In December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution supporting the creation of an international certification scheme for rough diamonds. By November 2002, negotiations between governments, the international diamond industry and civil society organisations resulted in the creation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) .
Today because of this process, when buying a diamond it is actually helping the lives of many people involved in the mining industry. Here are some ways that the diamond industry helps the communities in which diamonds are mined.
- Increasing access to education
- Access to appropriate healthcare
- Diamonds account for a high percentage of the GDP of the producing countries
More diamond facts are available at Diamondfacts.org.
I am very attuned to this problem and have tried to make it a priority to only sell diamonds that have gone through the Kimberley Process. If you are interested in reading more about this process you should visit the Kimberley Process website and The Diamond Development Initiative website.
Diamonds have been a tradition of giving an everlasting gift to commemorate your relationship since 1477 when Archduke Maximillian of Austria had the very first diamond engagement ring crafted for Mary of Burgundy. This is a beautiful tradition that is embedded in time and I feel you can be assured the jewelry industry is doing a great job of making sure that your diamond purchase is actually helping the lives of many people.