Conflict Free Diamonds Explained
At Hatton Jewels, we source diamonds from suppliers all over the world to bring you the best value and quality stones possible. We’re serious about ethically sourcing, and ensuring our diamonds are 100% conflict free. This week, we’re going to take a look at what conflict free diamonds, sometimes called the ‘fifth C’, means to us, and for you.
Conflict diamonds are diamonds illegally traded to fund conflict in war-torn areas, particularly in central and western Africa. The United Nations (UN) defines conflict diamonds as "diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognised governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council." These diamonds are sometimes referred to as "blood diamonds."
The History of Conflict Diamonds
Conflict diamonds captured the world's attention during the extremely brutal conflict in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s. During this time, it is estimated that conflict diamonds represented approximately 4% of the world's diamond production. Illicit rough diamonds have been used by rebels to fund conflicts in Angola, Liberia, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo (also known as Congo Brazzaville).
Today, the flow of conflict diamonds has been reduced to considerably less than 1%, however rigorous precaution is still maintained by Hatton Jewels to ensure every single diamond is conflict free, starting with the Kimberley process.
The Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process is essentially a way of tracking a diamond from mine to market. In 2003 after three years of negotiations between governments, diamond industry players, and civil society organisations, the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme was drafted and enacted with the support of the United Nations as a means of stemming the flow of “conflict diamonds” into legitimate diamond markets. The process imposes rigorous requirements on participants to ensure that the diamonds crossing their borders comply fully with “non-conflict” standards; diamonds that do not have a Kimberley Process Certification will be turned away or impounded by customs agents of participating countries.
The process places the burden of enforcement on the participant countries themselves, meaning that individual countries are responsible for the vetting of diamonds that enter and exit their borders.
Hatton Jewels recognise the Kimberley Process as a universal standard, and only accept diamonds with the correct certification and we know the source of each of our stones.
If you would like to hear more about conflict free diamonds, the Kimberley Process or any more information about our ethical sourcing and beliefs, just let us know in the comments below, or get in touch with one of our GIA qualified gemologists who will happily share our beliefs and processes with you, so you can ensure the perfect ring you choose is, perfect in every way.