Saturday, September 02, 2006

Hollywood and Blood Diamonds

Warner Bros. is gearing up to release The Blood Diamond, a movie staring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly. “The story that is going to be told is a true story, and we applaud that it is going to be told”, said World Diamond Council chairman Eli Izhakoff. The movie is said to focus on the illicit diamond trade that funded the civil war in Sierra Leone.

During the late 1990’s, it was estimated that a small fraction, perhaps as much as 4% of the worlds rough diamond production, was stolen by rebels to fund violence against legitimate African governments.

The DiCaprio film is of concern because while it’s reportedly an accurate portrayal of the situation of the former 1999 civil war in Sierra Leone, it does not explain how the jewelry industry has addressed and continues to address the issue.

The movie leaves the impression that the trade in conflict diamonds continues unabated and won’t focus on the Kimberley Process (a joint effort of the international diamond industry, dozens of countries, and several non-government organizations to help manage and regulate the diamond trade), and everything that the jewelry industry has done since 1998, when the issue was brought to light. The Sierra Leone conflict has been over since 2002. Consumers don’t have to worry about getting “blood” stones.

Fantasy may be fine for Hollywood, but the real story must be told.

The movie won’t focus on the importance of diamonds to the economy of many African countries. In Botswana, for example published governments reports say that diamonds account for about three-quarters of that country’s total export earnings, which led to better health care facilities, more schools, and improved roadways. Diamonds are important to the economy of many countries around the globe.

We know every diamond we sell helps diamond mining-countries build stable societies. Diamonds provide hope and livelihood for millions of people worldwide and are especially crucial to the survival of many countries in Africa.

Curt Parker Jewelers is committed to making sure that no ‘conflict’ or ‘blood’ diamond is acceptable for our store. All of our diamonds and have been purchased from legitimate sources. We only buy from suppliers who comply with the Kimberley process.

Curt Parker Jewelers assures you that the diamond you wish to buy and wear for the rest of your life didn’t fund war, child labor, terrorism, or any other evil.