Over the last decade the Western world has come to understand the terrible conditions that many African people endure in order to mine rough, loose diamonds from the ground. Often you will hear, the money made from the subsequent sale of the diamond financing the purchase of arms and ammunition, which is then used to impose, and enforce the inhuman treatment of that countries own native people. Diamonds mined, and sold under these conditions have come to be known as ‘Blood Diamonds’ due to the blood spilt in mining and extracting them.

Blood Diamonds, or as they are sometimes known conflict diamonds have been clearly and precisely defined by the United Nations as “Diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and Internationally recognized Governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council”

During the 1990’s blood diamonds made up an estimated 4% of all of the worldwide loose diamonds sold. Many of these diamonds originated from Sierra Leone, with the sale of the diamond financing the purchase of arms and high-tech weaponry, which was then used in the civil conflict between the government forces and those of the opposing rebels. The conflict became so severe that a United Nations Peace-Keeping Force were deployed in the area to try to regain stability, and all this was achieved by Blood Diamond financing.

Due to increased International pressure, and the Kimberley Process, the sales of these conflict diamonds have decreased to an estimated 1% of the world wholesale diamond sales, which is a considerable improvement. Currently, that 1% is comprised of loose diamonds mined in the Republic Of Congo, Liberia and the Ivory Coast, all of which are being encouraged to cease blood diamond mining, and conform to United Nations Resolutions.

One way that the United Nations used to try to stop a conflict diamond financing further arms purchases was to introduce a certification system that required the location and origins of the diamonds to be certified and catalogued for future reference. The introduction of this process was known as the Kimberley Process Certification, and its aim was to stop these illegally mined blood diamonds from entering the sanctioned wholesale diamond supply chain. This system has dramatically reduces the amount of loose diamonds mined in war ravaged countries as it makes selling the diamonds far more difficult. Without the correct certificates, all diamond wholesalers know that the diamond being offered for sale is a conflict diamond financing civil war and the inhuman treatment of many people in less developed parts of the world. Unless you buy diamonds wholesale, these certificates are not necessary, and do not have a bearing when purchasing such items as a diamond engagement ring from a standard retail jeweler.

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