25 Things You Should Know About Blood Diamonds

Although most of the products we buy have a sickening back story laced with exploitation, violence, and greed, there is unfortunately not much that can be done about it. At the very least we don’t need to be ignorant. These are 25 things you should know about blood diamonds.

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Also known as conflict diamonds, hot diamonds, and war diamonds, blood diamonds are mined in war zones and sold to finance insurgencies.

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These areas usually include central and west african countries

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Warlords use extreme violence in order to force the locals into extracting their diamonds

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For example, during the civil war in Sierra Leone a group known as the Revolutionary United Front killed, threatened, and even cut off the arms of people in the diamond villages until they took control of the mines

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In Sierra Leone 20,000 people were mutilated and millions fled the country

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According to National Geographic News blood diamonds are responsible for 4 million deaths.

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The problem wasn't really made known to the public until Leonard DiCaprio starred in the movie Blood Diamond

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The Diamond Industry repsonded to the movie with successful PR campaigns - people kept buying.

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Several years earlier in 2002 the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme was created to regulate diamond trading and prevent illegitimate diamonds from entering the market

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It was envisioned by the diamond industry and instated by the United Nations

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De Beers and the rest of the diamond industry now claim that 99.8% of diamonds are conflict free.

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In 2006, however, the United Nations and the US government released reports showing that nearly $23 million of blood diamonds from the Ivory Coast were smuggled into Kimberly Process countries

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How is this possible? The Kimberly Process relies on the hopelessly corrupt governments of diamond producing countries to check and certify their diamonds are legitimate.

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These certifications are then attached and sealed along with the diamonds as they are exported

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Countries like the United States can then ensure that the diamonds are not from illegitimate sources.

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Many times government officials get paid off to let diamonds through or they get smuggled accross borders into legitimate trading channels.

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One of the founders of the Kimberly Process, Ian Smillie, even resigned from the group not long ago citing its ineffectiveness.

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This is not to say that the Diamond Trade is all bad. Legal diamonds promote development in underdeveloped nations.

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The Kimberly Process did, at least initially, managed to curb a significant amount of violence related to blood diamonds.

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So what can be done? As a consumer, not much. There really isn't any way to know where the diamond came from.

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Well, you could try synthetic diamonds. The natural diamond monopolies hate those and good ones are chemically indistinguishable.

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You could fly to Africa and make sure the diamonds are legit with your own two eyes.

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You could also just try to stay informed about how the things you buy everyday get onto store shelves through channels of violence and exploitation.

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At any rate, the diamond industry continues to grow every year

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For better or for worse this provides underdeveloped economies with jobs and corrupt political systems with money

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