Former Vice President Al Gore hailed the diamond industry for its work in stamping out “conflict diamonds” during an appearance at the 2002 Diamond Conference in Antwerp, Belgium.
“This is a new beginning for your industry,” he said. “I predict this is the end of a two-and-a-half-year period of negative publicity on conflict diamonds and the beginning of a period of the world recognizing that your industry is playing a constructive role and having a positive impact. You have overcome this controversy with a lot of hard work and soul searching. I congratulate this industry for stepping forward and doing the right thing. Keep it up.”
Gore said he was impressed by the ethnic mix in the industry when he visited an Antwerp bourse earlier that day.
“I saw Hindus, Muslims, Jews, different ethnicities, religions all working together in harmony and getting along and cooperating and acting for the greater good,” he said.
He also recalled giving his wife Tipper an engagement ring.
“I did that because you have led the world to believe that we can see in this hardest and rarest of gemstones something permanent, something worthy of standing as a symbol,” he said. “The secret of your success as an industry has been to invest diamonds with something extra, with emotional value.”