When Buying Diamonds: Can We Trust the Kimberly Process?

In order to stem the flow of conflict diamonds into the legitimate  diamond market, the diamond producing states in South Africa met in Kimberly in May of 2000; the Kimberly process was created to validate the state or country of origin all diamonds come from to prevent the funding of war and terrorism.

Can we trust the Kimberly process to keep conflict diamonds from finding their way into our local jewelry stores? Each diamond we buy from a jeweler is required to have a certificate from the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) that validates the diamond you buy came from a legitimate source that does not fund violence.

Kimberly process is open to all countries who wish to participate in certifying their rough diamonds. Every participant is required to provide a Kimberly process certificate with each shipment of rough diamonds that are to be exported. As of winter of 2008 75 countries have adopted the Kimberly Process.

How does the Kimberly Process ensure that exported diamonds are conflict free diamonds? The United States has strict rules; each shipment of rough diamonds that are imported or exported must come in a tamper resistant container. The seal on the container would be one that if anyone tried to tamper with it, it would be apparent. The containers must come with an original Kimberly Process certificate, and the contents in the package must be exactly what is listed on the invoice.  Only the diamonds that come packaged in tamper resistant containers and are certified are allowed to be legally exported into the international trading market.

Is there a law to enforce the Kimberly Process? President G. W. Bush the Clean Diamond Trade Act. By signing the Clean Diamond Trade Act into law, President Bush declares the United States is participating in the effort to keep the diamond supply chain free of conflict diamonds.

The responsibility of monitoring the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme rests on the government of each country involved with handling the rough diamonds, which includes the extracting of diamonds from the mines, and processing the diamonds for export. The nations that export and import rough diamonds are subject to adhering to the certification process.

How can you be sure that your jeweler sells conflict free diamonds? Jewelry stores would not stay in business long if their reputation were tarnished. Reputable jewelers, such as the Zale Corporation participates in the Kimberly Process. Their suppliers must sign a document called a Vender Code of Conduct that guarantees the diamonds came from legitimate sources.

In summary, the Kimberly Process consists of a three fold alliance that acts as a check and balance system to ensure the rough diamonds that make it into the international market are conflict free. The three part alliance to the Kimberly Process consists of the government, the people of society, and the business community of each participating country. The checks and balances between the three fold alliance helps to ensure that buyers and sellers remain honest and adhere to the Kimberly Process. Due to the certification process more than 99 percent of the diamonds on the international market are conflict free.

Sources:

https://www.diamondintelligence.com/magazine/magazine.aspx?id=7187

http://www.zales.com/jewelry101/index.jsp?page=diamonds_conflictdiamonds

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/trade_programs/diamonds/updated_req.xml

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