Kimberley Process Decision Poses Challenge for U.S. Jewelers

The Kimberley Process’ recent decision to allow exports from the Marange region of Zimbabwe poses a “challenge” for U.S. jewelers and diamond dealers, according to a joint statement released Nov. 16 by Jewelers of America and the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association.

The groups noted that U.S. sanctions forbid buying diamonds from certain entities involved in the production of Marange diamonds, and that group members need to exercise “due diligence” to insure they are not buying those stones.

Members “should continue to ask their suppliers to provide additional written reassurances, beyond the World Diamond Council’s System of Warranties statement, that the diamonds they supply have not been obtained in violation of applicable national laws and/or sanctions and have not originated from Marange, Zimbabwe,” the statement said.

It noted the two groups believe the Kimberley Process “was at risk of collapse if it did not resolve the impasse around the exportation of Marange goods, but the associations remain very concerned about alleged human rights abuses in the region.” 

It added that the groups are now working to “develop a more systematic approach for protecting the U.S. diamond and jewelry industry in order to shore up areas that remain beyond the scope of the KP.”

The statement said the two groups, who had called for reforms in advance of the certification scheme’s recent meeting in Kinshasa, are “encouraged” by the appointment of the U.S. government next year’s KP chair. It called for reforms, including “better internal controls to monitor KP Participants, the expansion of the KP mandate to include the prohibition of any form of human rights violations in connection with diamond mining, the establishment of a permanent Secretariat and an arbitration and conciliation dispute system.”

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