Conflict or blood diamonds are the term given to diamonds that were mined in war torn African nations using inhumane practices and then sold into the market to acquire cash to finance civil war actions on both sides of the war.
During these periods when certain nations were in conflict, diamonds were not supposed to be traded. However as diamonds are untraceable to their original origin once removed from the earth these blood diamonds were smuggled over country borders and sold outside of the conflict zone. This prompted the introduction of the Kimberly process for rough diamonds.
The Kimberly Process for rough diamonds
To ensure diamonds are being traded are conflict free and accountable for sale an accredited Kimberly certificate must be transported with each individual diamond. As the blood diamond problem only extends to the transportation and sale of rough diamonds the Kimberly certificates do not often extend through to the loose polished diamond market.
However there are a few companies that provide a certificate of origin for each diamond that come out of their mine. The main suppliers of these diamonds are the Canadian Mark and the Australian Argyle mine branded diamonds. There are a few others but most of the responsibility is laid on the diamond cutting manufacturers who purchase the loose diamonds and almost every manufacturer of polished diamonds advertises that they abide by the Kimberly process and are committed to selling only conflict free diamonds.
Should I still be concerned about the practice of conflict diamonds
The awareness of conflict diamonds is now very prominent and with the measures put in place by the diamond authorities there is very little need to be concerned about a repeat of this practice. These measures will always remain in place to prevent any re-occurrence of conflict diamonds. Conflict diamonds only occurred because no one was aware of the practice when it first developed which is why they gained access into the market initially.
Diamonds are mined in plentiful numbers and there is no need for anyone to need to purchase any questionable diamonds and all participants in the diamond industry are working to keep the industry free from conflict diamonds.
How to avoid buying a conflict diamond
Any new market diamond is backed by the cutting manufacturer to be purchased from legitimate sources and is 100% conflict free. However if you have a very strong ethical concern about buying a diamond and wish to know that the diamond has a 100% guarantee that it has not come from a country where there has been political unrest or where labor standards are not to 1st world standards there are a few options. To avoid buying a conflict diamond that has tracability for the cut diamond certified back to the origin of the mine that it came from there are a few companies that will provide this extra security. Both the Australian Argyle diamond mine and the BPH Canadian diamond mines produce a small number of diamond that they keep to market as country of origin certified diamonds. Purchasing the Canadian Mark and Australian Argyle origin certified diamonds are how you can avoid buying a conflict diamond. These are the most common certificates that are very reliable and are available to purchase in selected qualities.
Purchasing an ethical Conflict-free diamond
Although there is a very limited number and can often be slightly more expensive if you wish to purchase a diamond that is ethically mined and certified to be a conflict free diamond there are a small number of Australian supplier who either stock or can source a conflict free certified diamond. For those who still want a diamond but are still concerned that this still does not go far enough then synthetic or lab created diamonds are another option.
Lab created conflict free diamonds
Many people who still have strong concerns about the methods used for mining diamonds are also looking at man made or lab created diamonds. Synthetic lab created diamonds are gaining popularity and are starting to entre the mainstream market. To even the best diamond experts the lab created diamonds are almost impossible to distinguish between the natural and man made product. The lab created diamonds are full certified by GIA as created diamonds stated on the certificate and removes any of the mining component out of the purchase. Although still expensive lab created diamonds are less expensive than a natural and are becoming available in even the highest colour and clarity grades.
Blood diamonds are in existence and unfortunately it is impossible to tell if a diamond is a blood diamond or not. It will remain unknown how many diamonds were smuggled into the market before the problem was discovered with the origin of a diamond being lost once it has been placed into production. Fortunately it will remain only a very minute percentage and with the systems in place should never happen again. Blood diamonds are only a concern in developing countries where there is civil conflict or employment conditions are not regulated by ruling governments.