History of Blood Diamonds and the Kimberley Process

Diamonds extracted and sold to finance war zones and armed wars against lawful governments are called blood diamonds or conflict diamonds. These diamonds are trafficked illegally to finance violent conflicts and violations of human rights; they are frequently mined employing forced labour.

Sierra Leone was the starting point of the global outrage over blood diamonds, which raised awareness of the unscrupulous and unregulated diamond trade. Rebels started a civil war in the early 1990s due to the nation's lack of leadership and a profitable but unregulated diamond trade. An enquiry into the diamond trade was launched due to this invasion and the violent fallout that followed, which intensified calls for global control.

The then-President of the United States, Bill Clinton, signed Executive Order 13194, which prohibited the importation of diamonds from Sierra Leone starting in 2001 in response to the growing need for control. Subsequently, the United States enacted the Clean Diamond Trade Act in 2003, prohibiting importing and exporting non-Kimberley Process (K.P.) certified raw diamonds.

History of Blood Diamonds


A multinational trade regulation known as the Kimberley Process was implemented in 2003 to stop the flow of conflict (blood) diamonds. The certification is based on the final export country; therefore, even if a diamond was initially smuggled from another nation, it can still be certified as ethical. This limits the efficacy of the certification.

The Kimberley Process's limitations are crucial to our mission at LBJ because, in addition to Beyond Conflict FreeTM Diamonds and strict standards throughout our entire business model, we demand transparency beyond the K.P. to guarantee that the diamonds we source are not only ethically but also sustainably sourced at the mine of origin.

The Kimberley Process (K.P.) is a multi-stakeholder international trade regime established in 2003 to eliminate the trade in conflict diamonds, rough diamonds that rebel organisations or their supporters sell to raise money for hostilities against established governments. The K.P. aims to improve transparency and oversight in the diamond supply chain. By forbidding trade with non-participants and requiring the domestic deployment of a certification process that increases trade security and transparency, the K.P. promotes lawful commerce in rough diamonds among member nations.

The K.P. participants are fifty-nine individuals from 85 nations, including the U.S. and the E.U. (representing E.U. member states). As observers, we see that business and civic society are involved. According to the K.P. certification process, raw diamonds must be exported with a Kimberley Process Certificate. The rough diamonds haven't supported rebel activities and must be sent in tamper-proof containers.

Following the Clean Diamond Trade Act of 2003, the U.S. government implements the Kimberley Process, and the U.S. Kimberley Process Authority, a non-profit organisation that grants Kimberley Process Certificates to U.S. exporters, is under the direction of the State Department's Office of Multilateral Trade Affairs within the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. The office also represents the country in yearly meetings about the Kimberley Process.

History Of Governmental Violence And War

The terrifying tales about blood diamonds came to light ten years ago. Though opinions on sourcing diamonds have evolved, the jewellery business hasn't changed much. The sector now has a great cover narrative thanks to the mechanism designed to end the trade in conflict diamonds, as it continues to function in the same opaque manner.

A 2003 United Nations resolution created the Kimberley Process, a certification programme, in response to many studies that first revealed the connection between the funding of war and the diamond trade.
The procedure has two primary problems.

First, because its certification parameters are limited, they only cover the mining and selling of conflict diamonds. This leaves out further important concerns about worker exploitation, such as the use of child labour, poor working conditions, and equitable compensation. It also doesn't address the people uprooted from their native lands to create room for mining.

Secondly, a Kimberley Process certificate covers a group of raw diamonds cut and distributed globally rather than a single stone. This is the trail's end in the absence of a tracking system. The likelihood is that employees at nearly every jeweller in the U.K. would be unable to identify the nation from which a diamond on display originated, let alone the mine.

The Kimberley Process has failed on its terms: smuggling and corruption are rampant, and in recent years, the system has started to break down even more from the inside out.

Diamonds have been the driving force behind violent wars in several African countries during the past few decades, including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola, the Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic. The problem of conflict diamonds persists even though many of these wars have already come to an end since the diamond business is still frequently associated with horrifying violence.

Even in nations not at war, certain governments and mining corporations have contributed to these crimes and still do. Even though governments receive large sums of money from the diamond industry through taxation and profit-sharing agreements, they sometimes fail to reinvest those revenues in the communities where they are generated. This is often due to political instability, corruption, and incompetence.

We at LBJ are committed to ending all types of violence related to the diamond mining industry because we believe there is another way, and we are leading the way.

Republic of Central Africa

2013 saw the outbreak of a catastrophic civil war in the Central African Republic, driven by conflicts between different religions, poverty, and diamonds. The Séléka, a confederation of rebel factions, launched an assault on Bangui, the nation's capital, toppling the government and seizing possession of lucrative diamond mines.

Christian militias subsequently launched a counterattack in response, giving violence a previously nonexistent religious component. As a result, rival militias continue to engage in deadly combat throughout the nation to seize control of its riches, particularly its diamond reserves. The K.P. prohibits the Central African Republic's diamond exports, yet smugglers nonetheless transfer diamonds across borders, posing as legal suppliers and marketing them to buyers outside as conflict-free.

In Zimbabwe

When the Zimbabwean army took over the Marage diamond find in 2008, more than 200 indigenous miners were killed. The country's then-dictator Robert Mugabe's friends and army chiefs benefited immensely. These mistreatments persist in the Marage fields' environs. Despite persistent human rights violations plaguing Zimbabwe's diamond sector, the government has been accepted into the group of diamond-producing countries. This is so because diamonds extracted from Zimbabwean mines are, by definition, conflict-free (diamonds utilised by groups and forces who oppose legitimate or internationally recognised governments). Here, the government and army were the ones using violence and abuse in the name of diamond wealth.

Remarkably, the K.P., which aims to stop the trade in conflict diamonds, removed its prohibition on diamonds from Zimbabwe in 2011.

Angola

These days, Angola is among the top exporters of diamonds worldwide. Even though Angola's bloody civil war, which was driven by diamonds, ended more than ten years ago, the country's chronic violence has persisted.

As migrant miners from the Democratic Republic of the Congo have entered Angola in recent years, Angolan military and security personnel from mining companies have brutally suppressed them. If the migrants refuse to pay the military's demands for bribes, they will frequently be slain along with the local miners. In addition, thousands of migrants are apprehended annually, which results in rape, torture, and eventual deportation. The government in Angola has prosecuted a journalist for defamation after they published reports of the horrors, but it has failed to address these issues.

Russia has expanded its military presence in Africa since the invasion of that country's territory. The most infamous organisation providing these services is the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organisation that has been referred to as a private military firm. The Wagner Group uses weak governments and political unrest to establish dependency in nations like Angola.

 In exchange, the Wagner Group and, indirectly, Russia obtained mining and mineral concessions (oil, diamonds, and gold). More than eighteen African nations have received weapons from Russia, with Angola being one of the main recipients. Even with these continuous violations, K.P. still acknowledges Angola as a participant.

Angola

Russia

The U.S. government has sanctioned Alrosa, Russia's state-owned diamond mining corporation, as a source of money for the Russian military's continuous assault on Ukraine. Russian-origin diamonds do not quite fit the criteria of conflict diamonds despite the U.S. sanctions on them, which contribute to funding the conflict in Ukraine. This is because diamonds of Russian provenance are not mined in areas of ongoing conflict or utilised to finance rebel organisations. Russia continues to participate in the K.P., notwithstanding these worries.

We decided early in February 2022 to take all certified Russian-origin diamonds off our website since they have been connected to the sponsorship of the invasion of Ukraine.

The Ivory Coast

Once split by a bloody civil war, Côte D'Ivoire mostly relied on diamond sales to finance the fighting. Rebels who used diamond resources to finance their cause took control of the north after the fighting came to a standstill in 2004. In retaliation, the K.P. and U.N. banned the export of the nation's diamonds in 2005.

Rebels continued to smuggle diamonds out of the nation despite the embargo, earning millions of dollars every year to buy weapons and tighten their hold on the north. Following the contentious 2010 presidential election, which sparked a constitutional crisis, rebel forces headed south to support Alassane Ouattara, their favoured candidate, which resulted in hundreds of deaths and other crimes.

When Ouattara became government in 2012, he stopped the bloodshed, and in 2014, the U.N. removed the embargo on diamonds from Côte D'Ivoire. The nation participates legitimately in the K.P. and leverages its diamond resources for peaceful economic growth.

Namibia

Botswana, supported by its diamond profits, is a prime example of the efficient management of natural resources. It has built necessary infrastructure, including road networks and health facilities, and instituted universal primary education, where kids aim to learn both Setswana and English. Botswana was among the poorest countries in Africa until its independence in 1966, and since then, the country's GDP has increased by 7% yearly, putting it on pace with middle-income nations.

Because of their superior social and environmental standards, diamonds from Botswana are Beyond conflict-freeTM. LBJ is pleased to work with mines in Botswana to provide our clients with diamonds from Botswana.

Global Witness

Global Witness was an official observer of the process, among the first groups to report on the connection between the mining business and war. However, after the plan approved exports from two businesses involved in Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields, the group left a few years ago. In 2008, the Zimbabwean army took over the region, allegedly resulting in the deaths of 200 miners.

Meanwhile, Martin Rappaport, a key player in the creation process, resigned from Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) shortly after Ian Smillie left in 2009. In his opinion, the quantity of diamonds available on the market from the Marange diamond fields—the same area that caused Global Witness to withdraw—was the decisive element.

When you combine these withdrawals, you have a system supported by the same individuals who stand to gain financially from the industry's continued existence. The Kimberley Process provides convenient smoke screening.

This year, the European Union unveiled preliminary designs for a new framework intended to regulate the entry of minerals from conflict areas. However, the scheme's purview does not extend to diamonds, perhaps due to the founders' incorrect belief that a trustworthy, legitimate system already exists for the gemstone.

NGOs are crucial in educating consumers about the moral dilemmas raised by diamond mining. The diamond industry will, in reality, only get better if it is forced to alter or risk seeing its revenues decline.

How, then, can we contribute to making progress? Even if the Kimberley Process's reputation may be tarnished, the diamond industry still has hope because of other effective initiatives.

Since its implementation in 2012, the Fairtrade Foundation's gold standard has assisted artisan miners in obtaining equitable compensation, safer working conditions, and increased community investment. Would diamond miners be able to do anything similar?

Some Canadian brands have adopted a "track and trace" methodology, suggesting a workable option. Businesses that mine diamonds in Canada's northwest tundra provide complete gem traceability. Customers may follow the path of each polished and cut diamond by tracking its unique tracking number, which is laser-engraved on each one and can be independently verified.

Could all diamond producers and miners replicate this approach? From the perspective of technology and procedure, it's rather simple. The challenge is setting up a reliable third-party organisation to supervise a system that addresses conflict diamonds and difficulties with child labour, equitable compensation, and hazardous working conditions.

Organisations like the Diamond Development Initiative and the Fairtrade Foundation would undoubtedly have the legitimacy to serve as administrators. Still, building a system comprehensive enough to handle all the problems related to conflict diamonds would require the cooperation of numerous organisations, including governments and private businesses.

A strict track and trace mechanism in conjunction with a Fairtrade diamond standard would undoubtedly overcome the two major shortcomings of the Kimberley Process. It remains to be seen if that materialises, but there is something you can do to start dispelling the myth around conflict diamonds.

Ask the jeweller where the diamond originated the next time you purchase jewellery for a birthday anniversary or when you want to pop the question to your significant other.

How Are LBJ's Beyond Conflict FreeTM Diamonds Changing the Industry?

Less than 1% of natural diamond suppliers globally achieve our requirements for sustainability and responsibility, indicating that our Beyond Conflict FreeTM natural diamonds continue to surpass industry norms. We build a more moral, open, and caring industry with our carefully chosen diamond sourcing, cutting-edge blockchain technology, and Truly LBJTM diamonds.

Choose Your Diamond Sources

We carefully pick our natural diamonds from authorised mines in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, and Canada to guarantee that they adhere to strict social and environmental criteria. These nations are classified as low- or moderate-risk because they have stable social and economic systems.

Blockchain Technology Revolution

We think supply chain traceability will be dominated by blockchain technology in the future. We can offer our clients a digital asset with comprehensive information on the origin and travel of each diamond by employing this state-of-the-art technology. Our blockchain-enabled diamonds provide complete transparency and peace of mind from the mining operator to the end user.

Honestly MagnificentTM Diamonds

We are proud of the environmentally friendly production methods our Truly LBJTM lab-created and natural diamond suppliers employ. These methods, which lessen our influence on the environment and encourage ethical diamond sourcing, include using renewable energy and green building construction.

Honestly MagnificentTM Diamonds


In conclusion, blood diamonds have been associated with terrible violence and human rights violations, and they have been a dismal reality in the jewellery business. The Kimberley Process attempts to stop this, but it is not perfect; conflicts, human rights violations, and environmental damage associated with the diamond trade persist. We at LBJ want to change that, and we are: our strict sustainability and ethics standards help to establish new benchmarks for the sector.

FAQs

What is the background of Kimberley's diamond mining industry?

The mining camp of Kimberley was established in 1869–1871 following the finding of diamonds on nearby farms. The mining camp expanded due to the heavy excavation of the diamond-bearing pipe at the hill, Colesberg Koppie. John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley, the British colonial secretary at the time, is honoured by the camp's name.

What is the blood diamonds' history?

The phrase is used to draw attention to the detrimental effects of the diamond trade in particular regions or to identify a specific diamond as coming from one of these regions. The term refers to diamonds mined during the civil conflicts in Angola, the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau in the 20th and 21st centuries.

In Kimberley, who made the diamond discovery?

Both Black and White owners' claims were worked over these alluvial deposits. After Erasmus Jacobs discovered a transparent rock on his father's property in the Northern Cape on the Colesberg Koppie in 1867, diamonds were discovered near Kimberley.

Blood Diamonds: When Did They Start?

By 1991, armed revolt was both possible and appealing in Sierra Leone, which had an openly unlawful diamond trade, a corrupt government, and both. When the Revolutionary United Front, a group of 100 rebels from Sierra Leone and Liberia, attacked east Sierra Leone on March 23, a civil war broke out.

What is his true name, Blood Diamond?

Blood Diamond Mike Mathetha discusses his path to making his UFC debut with Sam Bruce. He talks about his early struggles with bullying, his friendship with Israel Adesanya, his initial departure from Zimbabwe for New Zealand, and, of course, that moniker.

Is Blood Diamond a true story?

Although Blood Diamond is centred around fictional characters, the events are based on people living through the Sierra Leone civil war. The movie shows how rebel groups assault villages, how Sierra Leoneans are forced into slavery, how young soldiers are used, and how often overlooked black marketplaces exist.