"Blood Diamond" Raises Questions About Diamond Industry

By: Meredith Stancik
By: Meredith Stancik

The newly released movie "Blood Diamond," has been raising questions about the origin of the precious stones.
The film portrays the world of selling diamonds to fuel the civil war in the African nation of Sierra Leone.
The war ended years ago, but a recent United Nations report says these so-called "conflict diamonds" are still being smuggled out.

Mining for diamonds is illegal work banned by the United Nations five years ago, because the precious stones were believed to be indirectly fueling some of Africa's dirtiest wars.

It's raising the question, are diamonds purchased in the United States supporting illegal activity miles away?

"We've been trying to remain aware of the events over the last five years," David Gardner with David Gardner's Jewelers said.

Gardner, a local diamond expert, says he has fielded a few questions regarding the movie.

"We try to answer whatever level they want the answer to come, whether they want the entire process, or what happened, or the history of the events, to where they feel comfortable with what is going on now and how we handle the situation," Gardner said.

The diamond industry says diamonds no longer fuel such conflicts, because of a certification system put in place after the war.
It's called the Kimberly Process and it's supposed to guarantee diamonds are not from war zones.

"It's a system of warrants," Gardner said. "As diamonds go through any channels there's documentation that they are conflict free, that is the term used."

The United Nations will review the diamond sanctions before the end of the year.
In the meantime, the diamond industry encourages potential buyers to ask where the diamonds come from.

As miners continue to work illegally.

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