The Story Behind The Kimberly Process

While the rest of the world only associates diamonds with weddings, gifts, and brilliant red carpet jewelry, much of the world involved in the mining and acquisition of diamonds lives a much different reality.

In 2006, the Leonardo DiCaprio film Blood Diamonds shined a magnifying glass on the importance of ethical diamond mining policy and how necessary it is for the communities of people living in regions of the world where diamonds are mined. The Southern African regions in particular, where diamond mining is very prominent, began to enact human rights policies surrounding the ethical production of diamonds for years prior to the movie, but these policies were not always followed or upheld.

The United Nations General Assembly, in the year 2000, came up with an international certification scheme that was to be followed when anyone purchased rough diamonds from mines. This scheme was designed to ensure that manufacturers of diamonds purchasing rough diamonds from mines were only purchasing them from legitimate mines that are dedicated to ethical practices as far as the miners are concerned. Two years later, multiple organizations in the international diamond industry, other civil societies, and even governments came together to draft what is now known as the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), which was a set of documents that outline the procedure to control the trade and production of rough diamonds, and keep miners safe.

What specifically is the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme? As mentioned previously, the Kimberly Process is a rigorous and set procedure that features extensive requirements that each country has to meet in order to trade rough diamonds. It is a strict set of rules and regulations that force organizations to maintain acceptable working standards for miners and other policy aimed at removing the possibility of conflict surrounding the mining of the diamonds.

The key to this agreement is that in order to trade diamonds, not one, but both organizations involved in the deal have to meet the minimal requirements set forth by the Kimberly Process in order to be able to trade with each other. If one or the other company or organization does not meet these requirements neither company can participate in that trade.

Luckily, it is not difficult to join the ranks of other countries that have agreed to the Kimberly Process, the only difficulty is following the specific set of rules outlined in the documents. Of course, these rules mean more on-site regulation and more money spent on mining and procurement which can eat into a mining organization;s bottom line, but that is a small cost to pay for the moral obligation of treating miners with respect.

As of right now, the Kimberly Process includes over 81 countries with the United States and the United Kingdom considered as one applicant each. This accounts for 99.8% of all diamonds worldwide. The Kimberly Process is but one step in a greater fight to end all conflict diamonds and secure reasonable and safe working conditions for the miners responsible in mining that huge stone on your engagement ring. The biggest effort needs to be taken by the consumer to devalue conflict diamonds and make them impossible to sell thus driving the demand to conflict-free or lab-grown cultured diamonds like this jewelry brand sells. It’s better for the environment, it’s better for the people, it’s better for everyone!