Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Sell a Diamond, Feed a Starving Child

Remember 2006 when Warner Brothers sent shockwaves through the jewellery industry by releasing Blood Diamond?

The issue is still alive.  The Kimberly Process (K.P.) for those of you who don’t know is a committee of representatives from 80 countries and non-governmental organizations who seek to define and uphold sanctions against conflict diamonds.  Conflict diamonds had been roughly described as those whose profits had been earned by the African equivalent of Mexican drug lords.

Now, as we approach 2013, the Kimberly Process struggles with redefining the term “conflict diamond.”  The Responsible Jewellers Council has arisen from within the industry to address environmental and human rights issues in all raw material sourcing.  There are still unscrupulous dealers who will disregard any of these efforts for the sake of a quick buck.

In June, 2006 I wrote in my Road Reflections Newsletter:

Should the public ask you questions about “blood diamonds”, I would suggest four things.  First, I would refer to them (as Mr. Rapaport did) as “poverty diamonds,” as it puts the emphasis on the victims rather than the villains…

With the KP trying to include “fair trade” issues rather than just political ones in its’ definition of “conflict diamond” and with the work of RJC, the tide is finally starting to turn in favor of real people in third world countries who earn their only living from diamond mining.  As the industry works to protect and improve the prospects of these innocent players, you can take more and more pride in our product.

Jewellery is a luxury good, and you may have moments where you believe that your clients are better-off using their money for more beneficent purposes, but don’t forget that our world is global village.  Some of the poorest nations would be absolutely sunk without employment from the diamond industry.

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