The Diamond Industry creates educational campaign on conflict diamonds


May 16, 2006

The Diamond Industry creates educational campaign on conflict diamonds

The Kimberley Process: What the trade and consumers need to know

(New York, NY) - In 1999, conflict diamonds-rough diamonds that are used by rebel movements in parts of Africa to finance wars against legitimate governments- represented four percent of the world's rough diamond output. To stop this illegal trade, the diamond industry worked with the United Nations, over 45 countries and several NGOs, to help stamp out the atrocities and violence.

On January 29, 2003, the United Nations adopted Resolution 1459 - the Kimberley Process - endorsing a method of verification intended to stop the sale of conflict diamonds. The effort has been remarkably effective. Today, the number of conflict diamonds has dropped to the very low level of a fifth of one percent (0.2 percent).

However, despite the amazing strides that have been made, there is a continuing need to raise awareness of the Kimberley Process (KP) and how the issue of conflict diamonds has been tackled head on by the industry and governments around the world.

A recent focus on conflict diamonds in popular music and Hollywood is raising questions and concerns among both consumers and the trade. In response, the World Diamond Council, in alliance with the American Gem Society, Diamond Dealers Club, Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America, Jewelers of America, Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Jewelry Information Center and the Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America, is creating a forceful educational campaign to launch at the JCK Las Vegas trade show in June, 2006. The campaign will be two fold. First, the campaign will help the trade understand how Kimberley provisions can assure consumers that the diamonds they wish to buy are conflict-free. Second, the campaign will target consumers with advertisements highlighting the beneficial effects that the diamond industry has on Africa and an explanation of the KP to ensure they are confident in their purchases.

"It is important for the campaign to highlight not only the deep emotional bond symbolized by a piece of diamond jewelry, but also the positive impact this industry has on the thousands of people in Africa who rely on the sale of diamonds for the stability and prosperity of their countries," said Eli Izhakoff, Chairman of the World Diamond Council.

The World Diamond Council and industry leaders will showcase the campaign in June at JCK to better inform all members of the trade about this important issue. Highlights will include free confidence kits and a tactical seminar, giving members of the trade the tools to speak with complete understanding of the KP, as well as trade and consumer advertisements, social responsibility brochures and a new website that will speak directly to consumers, trade and the media.

In addition, with the upcoming release of the film The Blood Diamond, the industry has enlisted the service of a top Hollywood public relations firm to build a relationship between the industry and the filmmakers, so they can work together to promote economic prosperity in Africa.

"In order for this campaign to successfully educate consumers about the swift and effective response to the trade of conflict diamonds, it is vital that the entire industry stand behind the Kimberley Process and the great work that is being done," said Izhakoff. "Men and women around the world must be reassured that their diamond purchase is just as pure, magical and special as their eternal love, symbolized so well in the unique beauty of a diamond."

--PJM



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