Blood-Free Diamonds: How Important They Are?

07 January 2018
Blood-Free Diamonds: How Important They Are?

Diamonds are rooted deeply in our culture. Many people buy them, wear them, use them as their main accessory, complete their dresses with them and singers name their songs after them. But have you ever thought where those shiny little objects come from and how they are obtained? Although most people have a common notion about how do we extract valuable materials, diamonds are an exception. They can be “bloody”. Yes, there is a term called “blood diamonds” and the name says it all. Also known as conflict diamonds, hot diamonds, and war diamonds, blood diamonds are mined in war zones and sold to fund civil wars. This violence for diamonds mostly takes place in central and West African countries. In order to force the locals into working in their mines, warlords in the region use extreme violence. In the instance of civil war of Sierra Leone, a group known as the Revolutionary United Front threatened the people in the region and they did not stop until they took the mines. In Sierra Leone, 20,000 people were harmed and millions escaped from the country and according to National Geographic News, blood diamonds are responsible for almost 4 million deaths. The diamond problem of the region wasn't really announced to the public until Leonard DiCaprio’s movie; Blood Diamond in 2006. Instead of using this public awareness as an opportunity to prevent people to suffer, the diamond industry responded to the movie with successful PR campaigns.

In most of the cases, government officials bribed to let diamonds to pass to other countries or they get smuggled across borders into illegitimate trading channels. In fact, in 2003, a regulation called “Kimberly Process Certification Scheme” was established to prevent illegitimate diamonds from entering the market and to ensure that these diamonds are not funding civil wars. It was envisioned by diamond industry and instated by the United Nations and the diamond industries now claim that 99.8% of diamonds are “blood free”. But unfortunately, in 2006, the United Nations documented reports showing that nearly $23 million worth of blood diamonds are illegally smuggled from various countries like Ivory Coasts. Moreover, Ian Smillie was one of the founders of the Kimberly Process but after saying the resolution was so ineffective, he resigned.

Even so, the diamond trade is not all corrupted and evil. When diamonds are blood free and exported legally, they really help the economic development of underdeveloped nations. Moreover, despite being a failure, Kimberly Process prevented a good deal of violence in the region, related to blood diamonds. So what can be done? What can we do as customers for our parts? There are now ways to know where diamonds came from. There are even different labels for blood diamonds and blood-free diamonds. Also, you can try synthetic diamonds. Blood diamond smugglers obviously hate synthetic diamonds and good ones are chemically indistinguishable. After all the facts that listed above, we should be absolutely sure that we are not buying anything that can support violence. Whether or not you buy them, the diamond industry continues to grow year by year. This industry also provides underdeveloped economies with jobs and this is the bright side. What we should do as customers is to be sure that  we are buying blood-free diamonds.

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