Conflict Diamonds and Beyond
Diamonds used to fund war in countries such as Angola, Central African Republic , the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone have caused the death and displacement of millions of people. These diamonds have become known as Conflict or Blood Diamonds.
Tackling Conflict Diamonds
In 1998, the Global Witness report, 'A Rough Trade,' exposed the role of Diamonds used to fund the civil war in Angola. It highlighted the need for governments and the global Diamond industry to address the problem of eradicating conflict Diamonds and preventing their movement and circulation within the global Diamond industry.
The Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process (KP) was an initiative formed between governments, industry and civil society to stem the flow of conflict Diamonds – rough Diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments. The Kimberley Process adopted a system of “passports”– Kimberley Certificates issued from the country of origin created for every shipment of rough Diamonds travelling around the world. Countries that could not prove that their Diamonds were conflict-free could be suspended. The realistic figure for the reduction of conflict Diamonds is estimated to be from 5% - 10% compared to 25% pre-2003. Unfair work practices and human rights abuses do not disqualify Diamonds under the Kimberley Process. There has been a call for the Kimberley Process to include provision for environmental, labour and human rights consideration but this has met with resistance.
The System of Warranties
The System of Warranties was created by the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association, under the auspices of the World Diamond Council. It was developed in 2002 in order to comply with, support and strengthen the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. A voluntary system of industry self-regulation, the System of Warranties requires all buyers and sellers of rough Diamonds, polished Diamonds and jewellery containing Diamonds to make the following affirmative statement on all invoices :
"The Diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations Resolutions. The undersigned hereby guarantees that these Diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the seller of these Diamonds."
Beyond Conflict Free Policy
Many buyers seek the knowledge that their Diamond is not only conflict-free, but that the origin of the diamond is also known. They also feel that such an emotional purchase should provide reassurance that human rights and environmental considerations have been a part of the journey for their Diamond. At Serendipity Diamonds we feel that it is important to include ethically sourced Diamonds in our supply chain and to make them available to clients worldwide. In 2014 we began working with fully traceable CanadaMark Diamonds. Our membership and progress towards certification with the Responsible Jewellery Council means that we work with due diligence to delve into our supply chain and to introduce responsible practices for sourcing the materials for our jewellery.
Anyone specifically seeking a fully traceable, Diamond that goes beyond conflict free assurances, should contact us for details of Diamonds available under the CanadaMark system.
The Plight of Small Scale Artisinal Diamond Miners
Our future initiatives at Serendipity Diamonds lead us towards contributing to initiatives such as those created by the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI). Traceability and responsibly sourced Diamonds such as those offered by brands such as CanadaMark and ForeverMark arise from a system of formalised large scale mining activities. But many impoverished small scale Diamond miners around the World depend on the Diamond industry for their living. The DDI work to create systems for the education and development of these people who depend on our industry to survive. Over the coming years, we aim to fully support their work. We hope this work will lead systems of traceability for Diamonds sourced from small scale artisinal Diamond miners. Similar systems have been established for Fairtrade Gold with traceability back to the mine of origin and a better outlook for small operations recovering the raw materials.