"Dateline" Looks at Conflict Diamonds


July 2, 2001

"Dateline" Looks at Conflict Diamonds

NBC's "Dateline" aired an investigative report about conflict diamonds on Sunday. "Dateline" reporters used hidden cameras to record how some of New York City's finest diamond jewelry retailers answer questions about conflict diamonds. The reporters also went undercover as diamond sellers to try to sell two Sierra Leone diamonds to New York diamond dealers.

"Dateline" visited Tiffany & Co., Harry Winston, Cartier and Cora Diamonds, finding most sales associates said their stores do not buy conflict diamonds and they only buy diamonds from reputable diamond dealers. Dateline also contacted a number of other diamond jewelry retailers and found most had similar replies. Jewelers of America, the Federal Trade Commission and human rights groups say jewelers can't be certain the diamonds they buy are not from conflict countries until a diamond certification program is in place worldwide.

In its investigation of diamond dealers, "Dateline" found most New York City diamond dealers visited were willing to buy Sierra Leone diamonds without a government certificate of origin. Some dealers even asked if they could buy more Sierra Leone diamonds from the undercover reporters. Only one dealer said he did not buy conflict diamonds, but he did not know if Sierra Leone was a conflict country.

The dateline report can be found online at http://www.msnbc.com/news/593785.asp.

- by Julia M. Duncan