Blood diamond

Article | Published on 25 October 2018 Original issue in  - Article Le Soleil , Février 2007

Jocelyne Rouleau
Jocelyne Rouleau
Gemmologiste Diamantaire

The film ‘Blood Diamond’ talks about jewelers, film critics and the general public. But what is a blood diamond? It is a diamond sold illegally by rebel groups to finance civil wars in some African countries, such as Sierra Leone, Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, etc.

No one can deny that over the past decade, thousands of people have suffered. On the other hand, diamonds have been a major source of income for the economies of several African countries over the last century. Mining companies have helped build schools, roads, hospitals, wells, water filtration systems, and so on.

Supported by the United Nations Assembly and several non – governmental organizations (NGOs) involved, the global diamond and jewelery industry has taken up its responsibilities and committed itself to implementing the Kimberley Process. This system tracks rough diamonds to prevent the infiltration of conflict diamonds into the legitimate diamond trade.

In 2002, some 50 countries, including Canada, passed legislation banning the import or export of diamonds from sources not participating in the Kimberley Process. To date, 68 countries are participating. According to a recent estimate, blood diamonds now account for less than 1% of the world market through this system.

Buy a “clean” diamond

As a consumer, how can you make sure you buy a “clean diamond”? Consult an expert whose ethics are irreproachable. Buy a Canadian diamond and require a certificate confirming the origin. Discuss with your jeweler the precautions taken by the latter when buying diamonds. Buy a diamond produced and cut before the civil wars.

Here is a message of hope written on June 7, 2006 by Festus Mogae, President of Botswana: “For our people, every diamond we buy represents food on our tables, better living conditions, better health care, better health and more. Safe drinking water, roads to reach remote communities, and much more … ”

Good news: on November 7, 2006, in Angola, the Association of African Diamond Producers was born. The objective: to control this resource and allow the enrichment of producers. When will diamonds be fair? Currently, they represent the real challenge for the African countries concerned by this fight ( www.pacweb.org ).

Well before the drafting of the movie The Blood Diamond, the alert was given by NGOs. The Western world has been sensitized on the problems related to diamond production and efforts have been multiplied to stop the atrocities. Hopefully, it will also have helped to motivate Africans to better understand their destiny ( www.diamondfacts.org ).