Loose diamonds are both the most magical and versatile of Nature’s creations, and have fascinated mankind for over four thousand years. Today, an estimated 10 million people globally are directly or indirectly supported by the diamond industry, many in developing economies such as Botswana, Zimbabwe and India. An estimated 5 million people globally have access to appropriate healthcare thanks to revenues from diamonds.
In some countries, the diamond mining industry is the largest employer after the government. In spite of the contribution diamonds continue to make to the wellbeing of millions, their high value also makes them vulnerable to theft and abuse. This was highlighted in the 1990s when rebel organizations in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone expropriated diamonds and used the revenues to perpetrate civil war and carry out atrocities against innocent civilians. Having been made aware of the urgency to act by two non-governmental organizations, (Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada), the diamond industry acted swiftly to co-operate with NGOs, governments and the United Nations. It established the World Diamond Council, representing the entire industry from mining to retail. The World Diamond Council contributed significantly to the development of the UN mandated Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which ensures that today more than 99 percent of diamonds are from conflict-free sources. There are now 74 governments that are members of the Kimberley Process.
Diamond companies are talking about more than just carats and colors these days. As consumers demand more added value than ever, the industry is drawing attention to its commitment to improving the lives of the people who create diamonds. The growing awareness of their broader corporate social responsibility means this is increasingly becoming a factor when people are choosing their stones.
One American jeweler determined to address Africa’s continued suffering has introduced a conflict-free diamond pendant. Debi Wexler, CEO of one of the largest online diamond retailers, Whiteflash.com, is dedicating all proceeds from her $4,400 conflict-free Diamonds of Africa diamond pendant to supporting children who have suffered under blood diamond conflicts and to creating awareness to combat illicit diamond trade.
“Africa is earth’s most vivid mosaic of cultural and natural beauty. But for all her richness and life, this beautiful portrait is stained where unrest brings hunger and suffering to her children,” says Wexler, who holds these issues close to her heart.
“Whiteflash.com has some of the finest ethically produced designer bridal jewelry available,” said Debi Wexler, president of Whiteflash.com and conflict free diamond activist. “The site offers the conscious consumer a means to connect directly to diamond beneficiation projects, such as Whiteflash’s Dreams of Africa collection in which 100% of proceeds go to help those children who have suffered under blood diamond conflicts.”
“While other companies offer commercially produced ‘green rings’ and conflict free jewellery, what makes us different is that 100% of our profits go to those who really need out help,” said Debi.
Though dramatically reduced in recent years, hot spots of conflict and suffering remain in Africa. Whiteflash initiated the Dreams of Africa program as a way for shoppers to be proactive. You can visit the website at www.dreamsofafrica.org.