The diamond industry is bound to trade rules and regulations just like any other importation sector across the world, and is especially important because of the conflict diamond issues that have been raised across Africa over the past 20 years or so. The industry was unhappy when the Kimberly Process diamond certification scheme was put into place over 10 years ago, and vehemently opposed the new system. Instead, companies decided to put in place a self-regulation system for diamond importers, helping to combat the procurement of conflict diamonds to support this government scheme.
The limitations to the Kimberly Process that diamond importers need to remember, are the certification only involves rough and uncut diamonds, which means that the industry on a whole must police itself and put in place other regulations that adhere to the entire diamond supply chain, which includes polished stones. Although the industry has been shortcoming in implementing other regulations in the decade or more since the Kimberly Process was first established.
There is however a ‘System of Warranties’ in place within the global diamond trade that is a voluntary scheme, encouraging all companies and diamond importers in Australia and other diamond producing countries declaring all invoices on diamonds that are conflict free. In other words, proof that the stones are indeed not conflict diamonds. The statement attached to the invoice must report to the consumers that said diamonds in question are not a result of conflict, which must be verified as the facts. (Recommended read Tips for buying diamond necklace).
The industry has now been asked to follow these steps in the diamond supply chain process to close out the loopholes in the current system, which diamond importers should understand will help to combat the sale and movement of conflict stones in the market place. The new steps are as follows:
• Create and develop a complete system that audits and tracks the movement of diamonds directly from the mine to the point of sale. This process depends on using clear and measurable standards to all diamond importers and companies involved in the supply chain.
• That the system is then made compulsory for all members who belong to the trade bodies, which can then in turn enforce and oversee the regulations properly in order to have complete transparency.
• Due diligence must then be used to vet suppliers of diamonds, who require proof that the diamond importers and companies are purchasing and selling on stones that are conflict free. This means that suppliers must be able to receive an independent audit to ensure that all rules are being adhered to.
• All traders and diamond importers must publish their conflict diamond policy that allows everyone to see what is really going on, which is very important in order to curtail the practice of conflict diamonds.
• Interaction between diamond importers and law enforcement agencies is imperative, because only by working together can we combat the conflict diamonds trade and ensure that no company or individual is breaking the law in any way.
As you can see, although the Kimberly Process diamond certification scheme was put in place over a decade ago to combat the trade of conflict diamonds, the industry has been a little slow to move and evolve in order to make the process work. But with the new voluntary regulations that are now becoming commonplace, diamond importers need to adhere to a set list of rules that track the stones from the mine to the point of sales so law enforcement agencies and consumers are satisfied that the diamonds are conflict free.