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Conflict Free - Fair Trader Diamonds

Keeping Diamonds Free of Conflict

What are diamonds ?
Natural diamonds are pure carbon, formed into crystals deep below the earth's crust many millions of years ago. Diamonds are found and mined in several parts of the world but predominantly in southern Africa where flows of volcanic lava, known as Kimberlite, have carried diamond deposits to the surface. These deposits can be mined or quarried to recover the diamonds within the Kimberlite.
As the hardest natural substance known to man, diamonds brought to the surface in this way have survived the effects of geological erosion, often being washed down river valleys and into the sea. Diamonds can therefore be recovered from the alluvial deposits in rivers as well as from the sea bed and even from beaches.
In their recovered or "rough" form they are far from the cut and polished gemstones which we prize today. Rough diamonds have to be sorted and graded before those which can be used for jewellery are shipped to specialist cutting and polishing centres around the world. Diamonds not suitable for jewellery are used for industrial cutting and drilling.
What exactly are "conflict diamonds" ?
In 1998, Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) Global Witness brought to the world's attention that UNITA, a rebel group in Angola, was funding its war against the legitimate government by the control and sale of rough diamonds. These have since become known as conflict diamonds. We also now know that rebel groups in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo were also funding conflicts in this way.
Although peace has since been restored in Angola and Sierra Leone, and a cease fire in the DRC, the diamond industry is determined to work with governments through the United Nations to ensure that future conflicts cannot be funded in this way. At its peak, the trade in conflict diamonds was estimated to be less than 4% of annual rough diamond production but the industry has declared that one diamond traded in this way is one too many.
Since the introduction of "The Kimberley Process" well over 99% of the world's diamonds supply is certified to be from sources that are free from conflict.
So how does the Kimberley Process work ?
68 governments are participating in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme which provides that each shipment of rough diamonds being exported and crossing an international border must be sealed in a tamper proof container accompanied by a government validated Kimberley Process Certificate.
This certificate is resistant to forgery, uniquely numbered and includes a description of the contents of the container. The shipment can be sent only to a country who is a Kimberly Process participant and rough diamonds which are re-exported must also have a Kimberley Process certificate and can only be sent to a participating country.

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