I’d like to address the ‘conflict diamond’ issue, because it doesn’t only affect those of us in the diamond industry, but all who value living free from oppression as well. In the late 1990’s, many of us in the diamond business became aware that the sale and exportation of some diamonds was being used to fund brutal rebel activities in parts of Africa. It was a small percentage of African diamonds, but it was a situation no civilized individual, company, or nation could possibly tolerate.
So in 2000, a joint initiative was begun by governments, the international diamond industry, and several non- governmental operations to ensure that diamonds would never be used for such purposes again. the result was a program called the Kimberly Process, and it was immediately supported by the United Nations. today, 68 nations are committed and legally bound to this UN mandated process. Under the Kimberly Process, diamonds are shipped in tamper-resistant containers and must be accompanied by a government-validated certificate, assuring that the diamonds are conflict-free. From that point on, and through every step of the manufacturing and distribution process, diamonds are transported accompanied by a System of Warranties that guarantees the origin of the diamonds.
At Kesslers®, we have been involved in this process from its earliest days. It has always been our policy that every single diamond we receive comes from a reputable source, people we know and trust. And since the implementation of the Kimberly Process in 2003, we also insist that every invoice states: “All our diamonds are from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations resolutions and we hereby guarantee that the diamonds are conflict-free based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees.”
Diamonds should be a symbol of love, not violence, and I am proud of the speed with which the diamond industry, the UN, the NGO’s, and all the producing and exporting nations of the world acted in order to take ‘conflict diamonds’ out of the pipeline. Today, thanks to the Kimberly Process, the System of Warranties, and the U.S. Clean Diamond trade Act, I can tell you with total confidence that every diamond in every one of our stores is conflict-free. In addition to what they represent, diamonds are a gift that has helped build schools, hospitals, and roads in some of the poorest nations of the world; lifting people up. that’s what diamonds are doing once again, and why you can feel good about buying a diamond today.