The Supply Chain
The diamond trade has been the focus of much criticism from within the jewellery industry and from consumers for decades. As awareness of the conditions under which ‘blood diamonds’ or conflict diamonds are mined and sold increased, so did attempts to regulate the supply chain and stop the trade of conflict diamonds.
Conflict diamonds are mined in areas of war or areas that are characteristically plagued by violence and political upheaval,
and are used by war lords/militia to finance violence.
This led to further questioning about the origins of diamonds (and later metals and gemstones) more broadly.. Both consumer and industry awareness has improved drastically since the beginning of this dialogue, resulting in increased pressure from consumers and ongoing action from the industry.
The first initiative to surface in response to human rights offences in the diamond trade was the Kimberly Process.
The Kimberly Process set out to remove conflict diamonds from the market by controlling their movement across borders. However, the system has been criticised for corruption, smuggling and fake certificates as well as only considering violence related to civil wars, while providing certification to countries that are rife with violence and known to have corrupt diamond trades. As a result, a number of alternative schemes have been created, details of which can be found below.
Image Credit: Alison Macleod
Accreditation Systems for Diamonds
There are accreditation schemes in the diamond industry that certify diamond mining organisations in compliance with their self-defined mining standards, though these schemes are not as well established as metal sourcing schemes.
The CanadaMark certification, established by the Canadian government, guarantees the whole diamond supply chain adheres to the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct. The Code was written by the government and is applicable to those who mine and sell diamonds.
The Diamond Dominion Corporation, owner of the CanadaMark certification, is the largest independent mining company in Canada, and certifies diamonds from the Ekati and Diavik mines in Canada’s Northwest Territories. For more information about these and other active mines in the Northwest Territories: www.miningnorth.com/mines.
For suppliers of CanadaMark diamonds see here.
The MDS certification system was created by the Diamond Development Initiative. It is for artisanal diamond production. For further information, see Maendeleo Diamond Standards – Overview and the Maendeleo Diamond Standards – FAQ’s.
Responsibly Sourced Diamonds
There are three widely used options for diamonds: Responsibly sourced diamonds such as CanadaMark diamonds, Lab Grown diamonds, and Recycled diamonds.