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A conflict free diamond is a diamond that has certification assuring the buyer that it is has not come from areas where criminals control the diamond trade. Diamonds from areas like Sierra Leone, Angola, and the Congo are often called conflict diamonds or blood diamonds. This is because the diamonds obtained from these areas have often been at the cost of people’s lives. People who are legally practicing the diamond trade in these countries are at great risk for being murdered or terrorized by criminals who will steal their diamonds and sell them. By purchasing a conflict free diamond, the consumer can feel confident that they have not inadvertently contributed to violence.
The concern about loss of life surrounding these diamonds has led to interest in many Western countries in obtaining conflict free diamonds. The problem is that it is normally impossible to identify differences between blood diamonds and conflict free diamonds. This has led to the Kimberly Process of Diamond Certification, where sellers and purchasers agree to abide by certain rules when obtaining diamonds, to assure they are conflict free. The Kimberly Process attempts to document all diamonds, and their movements through the international market. This international process is not mandatory in all countries, but certain diamond purchasers have made agreements to only work with diamonds that are presumed conflict free.
The original shippers of the rough conflict free diamonds must provide information about how the diamonds were obtained and sufficient proof that they are in fact conflict free in order to receive certification. This does not always mean one will purchase a conflict free diamond, but retailers that work with only Kimberly Process certified diamonds are more likely to have purchased legally obtained diamonds. The Kimberly Process may not always catch illegally obtained diamonds.
People interesting in purchasing a conflict free diamond can work with retailers who only purchase certified diamonds. At the moment, though, one can’t be guaranteed a conflict free diamond, unless one digs it out of the ground legally and cuts it one’s self.
There are some hallmarks of a conflict free diamond that may help with identification. Australian diamonds, for example, are generally conflict free and may have a slight pinkish cast. Also, certification helps minimize the risk of buying a blood diamond.
Many believe that the way to halt the progress of conflict diamonds is to only purchase diamonds from retailers who voluntarily purchase Kimberly Process certified diamonds. This will certainly help increase chances of purchasing a conflict free diamond, one that has not been obtained at the costs of others’ lives
Our local jewelry store owner is committed to purchasing only Kimberly certified diamonds. They cost a little more, but it does make me feel better to give him my business, knowing he does his best to be an ethical diamond purchaser.
I've also seen websites that claim to purchase only conflict free diamonds, but I'd like to see the paperwork that proves it before I bought from the sites. With our local jeweler, I can ask to see the paperwork.