This article touches on the pretty controversial topic of blood diamonds. What are blood diamonds you ask? Blood diamonds are diamonds that are used as currency by territories that are classified as being “rebel” territories. This “currency” is used to purchase weapons and supplies that aid in the murder of thousands and thousands of people. This is the controversy that these conflict diamonds create. Because of the very strictly controlled and low quantity diamond trade, many of these conflict diamonds find themselves in the diamond markets that provide consumer diamonds. This has led to the creation of a special classification of diamonds that has to be carved into the diamond using a high intensity laser. This marking allows consumers to know that they are buying diamonds that were not a result of a process that could have been influential in the death of many slaves and other people. These diamonds are known as “conflict-free diamonds.” This famous process became known as the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) and was named after Kimberly, South Africa, where major diamond distributors met in order to ensure the crackdown on the sale of conflict diamonds. Along with engraving, certificates can also verify this fact. These certificates state that the diamonds were produced, sold and exported through sources that the producers declare to be conflict-free.
These precious gems are mined using a method similar to the process used to acquire gold. The diamonds are panned, rather than mined, meaning there is far more need for human work. This created a slave trade in many conflict regions in Africa. Many times, slaves who do not perform well enough or who take diamonds for themselves are shot, killed, amputated, or all three. Any age group can be chosen for slavery in these rebel states. Children under ten, or even adults over sixty, are forced into hard labor and forced to work for nothing. Often times, one you can see children and adults alike walking round missing hands, feet, and even whole arms and legs for having “fallen short” in their collection of these dangerous gems. As the article says, the introduction of conflict-free diamonds has been beneficial in more ways than just preventing the death of innocent people. The Kimberly Process provides 10 million jobs for the people who would traditionally be forced to work. The only way to fully eliminate the problem of conflict diamonds being circulated in the market is to find all of the conflict diamonds and get rid of them and then prevent new ones from entering but it is said that we are still a couple years from this dream come true. In the mean time, the leaps and bounds made in the manufacturing of processed, or laboratory grown, diamonds and the mining of “safe diamonds” have saved and will save countless lives in the areas of Africa where the problem is most prevalent.