Most of us have heard the term ‘blood diamond’ but many are not aware of its complete implications. Blood diamond facts discussed in the following article are an attempt to throw some light on the disturbing events surrounding it.
Who do you think buys the stones I bring out? Dreamy American girls who want a story book wedding and a big shiny rock. It’s like the ones they see in the advertisements in your politically correct magazines, so please, don’t come here and make judgments on me, alright. I provide a service, the world wants what we have, and they want it cheap. We’re in business together, get over yourself, darling.
~ Danny Archer
(Character portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2006 movie Blood Diamond)
Conflict diamond, hot diamond, blood diamond, war diamond, converted diamond―all these terms stand for the same. Diamonds that are illegally mined in a region in Africa, which is facing a situation of prolonged rebellion, military unrest or guerrilla activities are called blood diamonds as the primary purpose of their mining is to fund such activities in order to procure arms and ammunition for the same. Mining of blood diamonds has been taking place in the African nations of Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Zimbabwe as these countries have a long history of coups and civil wars. Also, since the African continent is rich in diamonds, being responsible for supplying almost two-thirds of the world’s diamonds.
Facts and Trivia about Blood Diamonds
- The history of blood diamonds can be traced from the year 1989 when Liberia was under the influence of a civil war. Liberian president Charles G. Taylor was accused by the UN for supporting the RUF insurgency in Sierra Leone by providing training to insurgents and weapons in exchange for diamonds.
- Global attention was diverted towards the phenomenon of blood diamonds the first time when Sierra Leone was undergoing a disturbing period of brutal unrest and political conflict in the latter part of the 1990s. Around this time, the extent of conflict diamonds that were mined illegally to fund these insurgencies was so huge, that these diamonds comprised almost 4% of the total global production of diamonds.
- The United Nations officially recognized the issue of blood diamonds for financing insurgencies in Africa in the year 1998.
- Soon after, in 2000, representatives of all diamond producing countries of Southern Africa met at Kimberly, South Africa to discuss the issue of illegal diamond mining. Trade for financing civil violence and suggestions were made regarding ways to stop this. The entire African diamond industry was at stake and the meeting also discussed ways to assure buyers of legally mined diamonds’ separate entity from these variants.
- World Diamond Council imposed a complete restrain upon trade in conflict diamonds in January, 2001. During the same time, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was given shape in order to impose stringent regulations on the export and import of diamonds and to introduce a legislation all over the world compelling every country to accept only those packages of diamond that are officially sealed.
- The KPCS also provides certification of all diamond roughs as emerging from sources that are free of civil or military conflict. This clause along with the regulations and legislations are framed with a motive of rendering the mining or trade of blood diamonds unprofitable and thus, decrease their incidence.
- Since the implementation of the Kimberley Process, the share of blood diamonds in the global diamond production has come down from 4% to 1%.
- Despite the great success of the Kimberley Process, there are still a few diamond producing countries that are non compliant.
- The Clean Diamond Trade Act (CDTA) was implemented in July, 2003. This act clearly outlines that as the consumer of a majority of the world’s supply of diamonds, the United States has an obligation to help sever the link between diamonds and conflict and press for implementation of an effective solution. This Act necessitates that all US diamond retailers have diamond trading relations with only those producers who possess appropriate documents that indicate towards legitimate sources and channels of procurement of the merchandise.
- The most recent among all blood diamond facts (2010, July) was a development that took place regarding Zimbabwean diamonds. The KPCS has considered diamonds coming from Zimbabwe as conflict diamonds till recent times. However, since 2010, the KPCS has agreed to recognize the diamonds mined from Zimbabwe’s Marange Diamond Fields as conflict free and have allowed these to be sold in the global market.
These were some grave facts about blood diamonds that should make any rational and conscientious buyer look beyond the dazzle and make an effort to find out the source from where the diamonds come before making his/her purchase. As much as you would love to own a diamond solitaire ring or pendant on your engagement, wedding, anniversary or birthday, I’m sure that the idea of that rock being the cause and effect of bloodshed in another part of the world would make you change your mind.