The Straight Goods On Conflict Diamonds

By: Spence Diamonds

When you buy something as significant and timeless as a diamond, for any occasion, it makes sense that you would like to know the history of that valuable memento.

In the late 1990's, the world became aware of the existence of "conflict diamonds," jewels that have been used to fund insurgent or invading army's war efforts.

Today, over 99% of the world's diamond supply has been verified to be completely conflict free, and reputable retailers and suppliers of diamonds the world over have embraced a policy never to support the countries involved in the diamond trade that still engage in these practices. Still, retailers such as Spence Diamonds see the value in educating their customers and staff on the issue of conflict diamonds, to better understand the importance and the process of diamonds that are procured through fair trade.

In 2000, a joint initiative supported by the United Nations General Assembly created the Kimberly Process, an international certification regimen that aims to put an end to illegally traded diamonds. Today, 69 countries are legally bound by the rules of this strict and thorough process.

Any trade of diamonds between these 69 countries (which includes Canada, the U.S., Belgium and many of the African countries involved in the trade of diamonds) must adhere to these guidelines:

Each participating country must have laws in place that mandate the Kimberly Process
Any shipment of diamonds must be inspected to ensure that each shipment adheres to the guidelines
They must then be shipped in tamper-proof containers
They must be accompanied by a uniquely numbered, Government validated Kimberly Process certificate
Shipments must only be made to participating countries in the Kimberly Process
Each diamond, when sold by a retailer must be accompanied by the following warranty statement:

"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 supplier of these diamonds."

In a very short time, the Kimberly Process has had a profound effect. In the six years since its creation, the Kimberly Process has reduced the trade of conflict diamonds, from 4% to less than 1% of the entire diamond industry.

Retailers like Spence Diamonds have always maintained a strict policy about the origin of their diamonds. The diamonds in Spence stores come from large, reputable diamond suppliers who ensure that the diamonds originated from Kimberly Process compliant countries such as Belgium and Canada. As a major centre for the trade of diamonds, Belgium has always had a system for diamond verification, even previous to the creation of the Kimberly Process. Today, Belgian diamond wholesalers employ one of the strictest levels of security when it comes to the trade of diamonds, according to the U.N.

All of the diamonds purchased for Spence Diamonds have been certified as conflict free.

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