Industry Urged to ‘Self-Police’ on Conflict Diamonds

The U.S. State Department’s lead negotiator on conflict diamonds, Alan Eastham, recently urged the industry to “self-police” by not buying conflict diamonds.

In a speech at the annual Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) luncheon, Eastham said, “If all the rough dealers would [not buy conflict diamonds], it’s unlikely there would be this link between diamonds and war. There is little prospect of stopping conflict in [Sierra Leone and Angola] as long as diamonds provide the resources to keep the conflict going.”

However, he added, “This isn’t about the diamonds. It’s about the money that people get for the diamonds. Attacking the industry is not a solution, although the industry has a tremendous role to play.”

Eastham said the Kimberley Process—the international coalition that’s fashioning a “certification scheme” to stop conflict stones from entering cutting centers—had made enormous progress in recent months. He hailed the industry’s cooperation to date in getting the issue under control.

“I have tremendous admiration and respect for the job that’s been done,” he said. “We do not want to regulate this industry any more than is necessary, and I think the industry understands that there are significant benefits to it in the proposed certification system. Our job is to break the link between diamonds and war. We want you to be able to ensure that what you are selling has not contributed to human suffering on the other side of the world.”