UK: New shopping guide on conflict diamonds - just in time for Valentine's day

Amnesty International UK and Global Witness have today (10 February) launched a new, glossy, simple guide which tells shoppers what they need to know when they shop for diamond jewellery if they want to try and ensure the diamonds are conflict free - that they have not been traded to fund armed conflict and civil war.

The guide is targeting romantic shoppers who might be looking for that special gift that will last forever just before Valentine’s Day.

Entitled ‘Are you looking for the perfect diamond?’, the guide is a short and easy to use guide to the issues. It recommends that as well as the usual ‘4Cs’ of Colour, Cut, Clarity and Carat, shoppers should also ask about Conflict before making their purchase.

Conflict diamonds are those sold in order to fund armed conflict and civil war. Warlords and rebel groups in countries including Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia and Sierra Leone have used billions of dollars of profits from the sale of diamonds from the mines they control to buy arms and fund devastating wars.

Diamonds mined in rebel-held areas in Cote d’Ivoire, a West African country in the midst of a volatile conflict, are currently reaching the international diamond market.

The guide explains that consumers in the UK can make a difference by insisting that the diamond industry keep the promises it has made to end the trade in conflict diamonds.

It recommends that shoppers ask retailers the following questions about conflict diamonds. They should be happy to help but if not, shoppers should try somewhere else, and tell them why. :

  • do you know where the diamonds you sell come from?
  • can I see a copy of your company’s policy on conflict diamonds?
  • can you show me a written guarantee from your diamond suppliers that shows that your diamonds are conflict free?
  • how can I be sure that none of your jewellery contains conflict diamonds?

TV and radio presenter Lauren Laverne said:

“When you’re unaware of the facts you can ignore the problem of conflict diamonds.

“But this shopping guide tells us what we need to know when we’re after a super-bling rock. And I for one won’t go near any jeweller without it. And I hope any dashing young men who are out looking for a shiny bauble take it with them too!

“It’s excellent that we can make a real difference in this very small way. The shops and the dealers will change when we tell them we want clean diamonds only.�

Amnesty International UK Economic Relations Manager Tom Fyans said:

“Diamonds are a once in a lifetime purchase that people often choose as a token of love. I don’t believe people in Britain want this special gift to be related to the pain and suffering of others.

“Despite some progress, we are still concerned that the UK diamond industry is falling short in combating the trade in conflict diamonds. They must keep their promises to end this devastating trade.�

Read the guide online and find out more about conflict diamonds

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