What Are Blood Diamonds ?

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Blood Diamonds also known as "conflict diamonds" are diamonds that were mined in a war zone and are used to finance an armed rebellion. They are mostly associated with diamonds mined in certain areas of Africa known to be war zones.

The majority of these diamonds come from Sierra Leone, Angola, The Republic of Congo (not to be confused with the Democratic Republic of Congo), the Ivory Coast and Liberia. Most of these places up until the late 90's have been financing their liberations and rebellions with the selling of conflict diamonds.

The blood diamonds were brought to light in the mid 90's, and at the time were estimated to be 4% of the world diamond trade.

The blood diamonds are obtained under cruel circumstances. There are stark labor exploitations when it comes to mining diamonds from these war zones. The mine shafts aren’t secured, people have to use their bare hands and pick axes to mine these stones, they do not have hard hats or flashlights, and their safety isn’t a priority at all.

The miners have been known to be buried alive if the mine collapses, and they are only paid less than a dollar a day. If they find a stone they might get paid only up to $50. Due to these harsh conditions and their ultimate goal of being used to finance insurgencies, blood diamonds are not recognized as legally obtained stones by the United Nations Security Council and the World Diamond Council. For this reason the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was created (KPCS).

In 2000 the United Nations unanimously voted that the selling of these stones would be prohibited. This was initiated to curb the financing of the war lords in these parts. The Kimberley Process started in Antwerp at the Diamond World congress as a way to stop the buying and selling of diamonds from the aforementioned war zones.

The process was accepted legislation in all countries so that one may only accept sealed packages of diamonds imported and exported from recognized countries by the KPCS. Criminal charges are imposed against individuals who buy and sell blood diamonds.

Blood diamonds are now universally acknowledged as black market items. Thanks to the work of the KPCS, the diamond industry checks and validates that diamonds they have purchased are not of the conflict variety.