Industry called to ‘self-police’ on conflict diamonds

The U.S. State Dept.’s lead negotiator on conflict diamonds, Alan Eastham, urged the industry to “self-police,” by not buying conflict diamonds, in a speech at the annual Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) luncheon.

“If all the rough dealers would [not buy conflict diamonds], it’s unlikely there would be this link between diamonds and war,” he says. “There seems to be little prospect of solving these wars until we do something about the revenues that come from diamond mining.”

But 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.”

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. “Our job is to break the link between diamonds and war. We want to you to be able to ensure that that you are selling has not contributed to human suffering on the other side of the world.”

Also at the luncheon, the JVC elected Hank Siegel of Princeton’s Hamilton Jewelers, as JVC President. Siegel will replace Marvin Markman.

In addition, the organization’s first “Stanley Schechter Award,” for help in policing industry ethics, was given to Leslie Neustadt, assistant attorney general for the New York State Office of the Attorney General, for her office’s work in detecting and fining gold underkaraters last year. JVC’s investigation was underwritten in part by the JCK Industry Fund.