There has been much in the press over recent years about 'blood' diamonds. Naomi Campbell has recently been giving evidence in court over a gift made to her of diamonds that were suspected of coming from sources that were not legitimate and not recognised by the Kimberley Process. So what are 'blood' or their other name, 'conflict' diamonds and why are they so frowned upon?
Funds for Wars and Terrorist Activities
Diamonds are mined for their beauty and to satisfy an ever growing appetite for beautiful gems to be worn by women...and increasingly, men all over the world. Unfortunately some of the mines are in War Zones and are mined by criminals who sell them to fund insurgencies, conflicts and wars. Many of these areas are in Africa where around two thirds of the world's diamonds are extracted.
Angola gained independence from Portugal in 1975. Although now independent, the MPLA, (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola and UNITA (National Union for the Total independence of Angola) and the FNLA (National Liberation Front of Angola) began fighting in a civil war that began in 1974 and did not reach conclusion until 2001.
UNITA began to sell diamonds to fund the unrest. Between 1992 and 1998 they provided funds to the value of US$3.72 billion. Diamonds were also transported through Libya to fund weapons which were provided to terrorists in war torn Sierra Leone.
The Birth of the Kimberley Process
1998, Global Witness became aware of the trading of diamonds being mined from War Zones and being sold on to fund conflict. They applied international pressure to NGOs (Non-governmental organisations) to meet in Kimberley, South Africa to discuss ways in which to stop blood diamond trafficking.
The meeting was hosted by the South African government and was the beginning of an uneasy three year period of negotiation which was concluded with an agreement that a diamond certification scheme should be established. This became known as the Kimberley Process and was endorsed by the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) and UNSC (United Nations Security Council.) The process was launched in January 2003.
The Kimberley Process in Practice
The certification process relies on governments who have agreed to participate to certify the origin of rough diamonds. They must also instigate and put into practice, controls that ensure that conflict stones from designated areas must not be allowed to enter the supply chain. Trading with other members of the Process ensures that all parties are fully aware of the origin of diamonds. Being part of the Kimberley Process has become a given for those countries wishing to mine, trade or sell stones. As of November 2012, the Kimberly Process had 80 participating governments, with the European Union and its Member States counting as a single participant.
Beauty and the Beast
The Kimberley Process has notched up many great achievements in ensuring that diamonds are not being used to fund unrest in certain countries, or being used to fund armouries of weapons that could be used by terrorists. Zimbabwe, Cote d'Ivoire and Venezuela have unfortunately proved to be problematical and it has been discovered that despite the valiant efforts of the KP, diamonds are still being used to fund violence and human rights abuses. There must be radical reforms or total political intervention for the scheme to be 100% effective.
The Monrow Yorke Diamonds Promise to Customers
At Monroe Yorke Diamonds, all diamonds have been vetted and adhere to the requirements of the Kimberley Process. Monroe Yorke Diamonds take our position in the world of diamond retailing and our commitment to our customers very seriously and we can assure them that at no time has a 'blood' or 'conflict' diamond ever entered the selection of superb and stunning diamonds in our showrooms or in our online store.
To see our exquisite collections of conflct free certified diamond engagement rings, diamond wedding bands and anniversary rings, go to www.mydiamonds.com.au. Alternatively, contact one of their professional diamond experts on 1800 766 567, who will guide you on your journey to your very special piece of diamond jewellery.