The discussion of conflict diamonds, and the increase in jewelers advertising the availability of ‘conflict-free' synthetic diamonds or ‘conflict-free' Canadian diamonds has become a hot button issue since the release of the 2006 movie Blood Diamond.
The movie contains many factual pieces of information about the history and conflict surrounding the diamond trade throughout Africa for many years, but in today's market many rules and regulations are in place to prevent the sale and trade of diamonds from conflict areas. Before you decide that you'd never wear a diamond take a look through some of the facts and fiction surrounding conflict-diamonds.
True: Conflict Diamonds Exist
Conflict diamonds are illegally traded diamonds used to fund war and military forces. The United Nations (UN) defines conflict diamonds as “…diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council.”
False: All diamonds are Conflict Diamonds
in 2000 approximately 4% of the diamonds bought and sold originated in conflict-areas. In 2014 less 1% of all the diamonds sold in the world have conflict origins. Source
False: Buying diamonds from Canada ensures that your diamond is conflict-free
Canadian mined diamonds come with a unique diamond identification number (DIN) laser inscribed on the diamond's girdle. If this number is not available, then it is not actually a Canadian Diamond and it may have originated in another country. You can see this number with the use of a loupe. Source
True: Diamonds sold in the United States ARE conflict-free
In 2000 leaders in the diamond industry and the United Nations met in Kimberley, North Cape to develop an international certification plan for the sale of diamonds. As a result of this meeting retailers and importers in the United States agreed to purchase ONLY conflict-free diamonds. This is called the Kimberley Process. This meeting is depicted at the end of the movie in the clip below.
True: Diamond sales boost economic well being of developing countries
The diamond mining process and industry creates new jobs and provides economic stability. In Botswana diamond sales have turned the area into one of Africa's most prosperous countries creating jobs and providing funding for civic projects like education and health care. Source
I hope this information is helpful and clears up some of the questions and myths around conflict diamonds. If you'd like to learn more about the Kimberley Process I suggest reaching out to a jewelry like Shane Co. who is a direct diamond importer and works directly with the diamond cutters to ask questions.