The Continuing Controversy Over Conflict Diamonds

The Continuing Controversy Over Conflict Diamonds

 
It used to be that buyers only cared about the original four Cs: color, cut, clarity, and carat. But another word that also begins with a C has since emerged and become an important consideration for people who wish to purchase round shape diamond jewelry these days. That word is conflict – as in conflict diamonds.
 
The Murky History of Diamonds
 
These gems earned their nickname from the fact that they are mined in some of the world's most politically troubled regions and, what's worse, they are sold in the diamond market to fund armed movements and wars. The stones are also known as blood diamonds and, though several measures have been undertaken by various countries to put an end to the trade in these gems, some still manage to slip through and find their way to stores. Due to the gaps in these preventive efforts, four percent of the international diamond industry's business today is estimated to be in conflict diamonds.
 
The Lack of Comprehensive Policing
 
The lack of a detailed diamond guide that would effectively identify these tainted stones is a problem that faces both consumers and merchants. Though a diamond seller may take extra pains to ensure the reliability of his or her supply chain, the chance will always exist that he or she could be taken in eventually. This possibility is worsened by the reality that the United Nations-mandated Kimberley Process is not comprehensive enough to address this issue. The biggest hole in the entire system is that its scope only encompasses diamonds rough and doesn't extend to polished diamond cuts. Therefore the dealers in blood diamonds could still circumvent the process and sell off their products to unsuspecting customers.
 
How Consumers Can Help
 
So how can a shopper do his or her part to stamp out this unfortunate business? One way to do it is to ask for a certificate attesting that the diamond being bought is conflict-free. Finally, of course, one must be wary of stones that are being sold at incredibly low prices.
 
What thoughts do you have about this issue? What would you advise consumers who wish to avoid accidentally buying conflict diamonds?