Kimberley Process Goes Live at Last

It’s taken three years and was preceded by yet another round of back-and-forth political maneuvering, but the Kimberley Process finally has gone live.

Fifty-two countries signed on to the system, which seeks to eliminate conflict diamonds by enacting a series of rough-diamond import and export controls.

“Everything’s falling into place,” says World Diamond Council chairman Eli Izhakoff, the diamond industry’s representative to the Kimberley Process. “We may have a hitch here and there, but it’s still a tremendous achievement for the industry and the international community.”

At press time, among diamond producers, only Brazil had not qualified to be part of the process, and Izhakoff expects that country to be approved soon.

He noted that all participants had their systems vetted by a panel that included the nongovernmental organizations involved in the issue. “To be a participant, you have to go through a lot of hurdles,” Izhakoff says. “You need legislation, the legislation has to be passed and signed, Customs has to be taught what to look for. It was not an easy process.”

A booklet detailing retailers’ and wholesalers’ obligations under the Kimberley Process is available at www.worlddiamondcouncil.org, www.jvclegal.org (the Jewelers Vigilance Committee), and www.jewelers.org (Jewelers of America).