May 25, 2006
Industry Prepares to Fight Negative Press about "Blood Diamonds"
U.S. jewelers are preparing to counteract potentially negative press that could be genereated by an upcoming film called "The Blood Diamond," a movie set in Sierra Leone in 1999 about the illegal diamond trade that funded the bloody civil war there.
The Warner Brothers movie is about a poor African farmer who gets entangled with an American diamond smuggler, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and the diamond mining industry.
The concern among jewelers is that the movie sheds light on a problem that the industry has already worked for several years to counteract. "The danger is that people will think the situation in the film is continuing today," Jewelers of America public affairs director Peggy Jo Donahue told Reuters.
The movie does not cover details such as the Kimberley Process, the certification program monitored by the United Nations to better control the global diamond trade. Kimberley Process chairman Kago Mashashane of Botswana, wrote to the producers of the movie asking them to add an epilogue explaining what measures have been taken since the time period in which the movie was set.
A consortium of industry associations are teaming up to educate consumers and the trade on the issue. The campaign, headed up by the World Diamond Council together with the American Gem Society, the Diamond Dealers Club, the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America, Jewelers of America, Jewelers Vigilance Committee, the Jewelry Information Center and the Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America, will launch at the JCK Show in Las Vegas in June.