The Jewelers Vigilance Committee has decided to remain with the World Diamond Council, president and CEO Cecilia Gardner told her members in a letter distributed Feb. 5.
“At this moment, the WDC is the best vehicle for the industry to engage with governments and NGOs on the Kimberley Process,” wrote Gardner, who also serves as the WDC’s general counsel. “If and when it becomes clear that there are better alternatives, JVC will also consider those options.”
In a December editorial in his magazine, Martin Rapaport urged the JVC to leave the group, noting that the Kimberley Process has okayed diamond exports from the Marange region of Zimbabwe. However, those gems are banned in the United States, as mines in the area have been linked to individuals on the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions list.
“Gardner should be working to protect the U.S. jewelry industry, not the cutters in India,” Rapaport wrote.
But Gardner said that by staying engaged with the WDC, her group was able to give voice to the concerns of the U.S. downstream market. She did, however, add that due to the OFAC issue, Kimberley Process compliance is not enough.
“Companies must also look to their sources of supply, and ensure that those sources are not dealing with listed companies,” she said. “Many have claimed that it is impossible to know whether the diamonds supplied were sold by an OFAC listed entity—but this is not supported by the facts. Your supplier of diamonds must make every effort to ensure that his suppliers have not acquired diamonds from illicit sources—and so on up the chain. Claims today that ‘it can’t be done’ are falling on deaf ears. It can (and should) be done.”
Gardner said this issue was the reason for the development of the Diamond Source Warranty Protocol, which has been endorsed by the JVC and two other U.S. groups.
While Gardner has decided not to leave the World Diamond Council, another early supporter, Tiffany & Co., has decided to leave the umbrella organization.
“Tiffany is no longer affiliated with the World Diamond Council,” says spokesman Carson Glover. “This step was taken by Tiffany and its officers because of policy differences with the Council.”