The diamond industry embarrasses itself…again. Zimbabwe has been given permission to begin exporting diamonds from Marange with full approval from the Kimberley Process, despite documentation of widespread human rights abuses in the diamond fields and strong opposition from NGOs. While the World Diamond Council calls this a “historic success” and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses lauds the “stability” this will bring to the diamond supply chain, having worked on these issues for almost two decades we at Leber Jeweler Inc call this a tragedy.
Simply put, the KP has proven itself useless in being an effective mechanism to end the trade in diamonds that fund human rights abusers. It has put maintaining “consumer confidence” through propaganda and disinformation ahead of all else.
Now, with a reported $2.6 billion USD “missing” from Zimbabwe’s government coffers, this only goes to shore up accusations that the diamond trade in that country is ZANU-PF’s private cash cow.
Now it is in the hands of consumers since, in all likelihood, diamonds from Marange will be entering the United States (via India) just in time for the holiday season. If you don’t know the country of origin of the diamonds you buy, you may be the end purchaser of these stones. “Kimberley Process” certified is no longer a guarantee that the diamonds you buy are truly conflict-free diamonds. It’s up to you to say “No” to Zimbabwe diamonds.