So you want a conflict-free diamond, that means you need a Kimberley Certificate, right?
You'd be surprised. Here are the top ten things you should know about Kimberley Certificates:
1. A Kimberley Certificate does not prove that a diamond is ethically mined.
A Kimberley Certificate simply states that the rough diamond was exported from a certain country "in accordance with the provision of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for rough diamonds". The certification scheme does not mention ethical mining, it is focused on whether or not the country that the raw diamond is exported from is free from conflict involving rebel groups.
2. A Kimberley Certificate only shows where the diamond was shipped from, not the diamond's origin.
A Kimberley Certificate is issued by a country before exporting a loose rough diamond parcel. The country where the raw diamonds are located may or may not be the country where the diamonds were originally mined, it is simply the country where the diamonds are being shipped from.
3. A Kimberley Certificate does not assure you that your diamond is a conflict-free diamond, according to what you probably think a conflict-free diamond is.
The words "conflict diamond" or "blood diamond" elicit a deep gut reaction from most ethically-minded buyers. Consumers tend to think that these terms mean that the diamonds are being mined via slave labor in terrible conditions under constant danger of warfare. In fact, the Kimberley Process defined a "conflict" or "blood" diamond to be simply a diamond that financed violence of REBEL MOVEMENTS seeking to undermine legitimate governments. This says nothing of how the diamonds are mined, working conditions, or even if the diamonds happen to be financing violence or crimes against humanity by the government itself (which has, in fact, happened, and the Kimberley Process allowed those diamonds to remain on the market and be considered conflict-free).
4. A Kimberley Certificate only accompanies loose rough diamonds that cross international borders.
A Kimberley Certificate does not accompany cut or polished diamonds when they cross borders. A Kimberley Certificate does not accompany rough diamonds that are set or mounted in jewelry in any way. A Kimberley Certificate does not accompany any rough or cut gemstones that cross international borders. A Kimberley Certificate does not accompany rough diamonds that are shipped domestically.
5. A Kimberley-certified diamond does not necessarily have its own accompanying Kimberley Certificate.
A Kimberley Certificate can accompany one rough diamond, but typically it accompanies an entire parcel of rough diamonds that are being exported together. Most importers and exporters of rough diamonds purchase their diamonds in bulk, and therefore, the Kimberley Certificate covers many stones together. This means that each of those stones is "Kimberley Process Certified" but it does not have its own dedicated Kimberley Certificate. This is true for The Raw Stone as we import our rough diamonds in large parcels then sell the raw diamonds one by one on our site.
6. Under the Kimberley Process, every diamond that is mined worldwide today is defined as conflict-free.
Because of the narrow definition of "conflict" that the Kimberley Process decided upon, every single diamond producing nation in the world is now considered part of the Kimberley Process. That means that every diamond that is mined comes from a conflict-free source. The Kimberley Process defines conflict-free as a diamond that does not finance a violent rebel movement that is seeking to undermine a legitimate government.
7. A Kimberley Certificate costs at least $350 in the United States.
In order to export a rough diamond with a Kimberley Certificate in the United States, The Raw Stone must work with one of three logistics companies that are licensed to give out Kimberley Certificates. Those logistics companies include Brinks, Malca Amit and Ferrari Express. The only service these logistics companies use to export a loose rough diamond is armored delivery and the cost for armored delivery starts at $300 and that does not include the cost that the companies charge for the Kimberley Certificate as well which is at least $50.
8. Finished jewelry that contains rough diamonds does not require a Kimberley Certificate to be shipped internationally.
If a rough diamond is mounted or set in a finished piece of jewelry, then it is no longer considered a loose rough diamond and is shipped internationally as a piece of jewelry, not a rough diamond. Jewelry does not require a Kimberley Certificate.
9. A Kimberley Certificate is a logistical document rather than a statement of ethicality or origin.
A Kimberley Certificate does not provide any guarantees or statements of origin, sustainability or ethicality. It simply states that the rough diamonds mentioned on the form were exported from a certain country under the provisions of the Kimberley Process. This therefore allows the rough diamond to pass through customs. Currently there are no diamond-producing or large diamond trading countries that are not part of the Kimberley Process.
10. If you are concerned about the origin, sustainability or ethicality of your diamond, then buy from a trusted supplier and do not depend on a Kimberley Certificate.
Because the Kimberley Process does not assure ethicality, sustainablity or even the origin of a rough diamond, then it is up to the consumer to purchase from conscientious sources. There is currently no international system set up that proves any of these aspects of a rough diamond, so an ethical supplier is the only person that the consumer can depend on. At The Raw Stone, we are dedicated to sourcing as directly from the mines as possible, making sure that the mines are operated in an ethical and sustainable manner according to local and international laws and regulations, and even going beyond that to finding mines that are benefiting local communities by providing local jobs, funding and employment opportunities for women. Read more about our ethical sourcing philosophies and the mines we work with on our blog!
Any questions you may have, please contact us directly, we are happy to discuss ethical sourcing with you!