The USA purchases more than 40 percent of the diamond jewelry in any given year(1).
Many Americans aren't aware, of the history of the rocks they are purchasing.
The world discovered in 1998 that diamonds were used to fund wars and strife in Angola, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo. These diamonds are called "Blood Diamonds" or "Conflict Diamonds". Global Witness (GW) reported that a rebel group in Angola called "Uniao Nacional para la Independencia Total de Angola" (UNITA) financed its war against the legitimate government of Angola with diamonds (2 ).
GW reported in December 1998 that UNITA controlled between 60 -70 percent of Angola's diamond production, producing $ 3.7 billion to finance its war effort. Half a million Angolans died, and many more were displaced, their lives ruined(3 ).
Conflict domains are their peak made up as much as fifteen percent of the global diamond trade (4 ).
Three million people died in the 1990's because wars that were funded all or in part by diamonds (5 ).
One company, De Beers, which sold approximately 70 percent of the worlds uncut diamonds (6 ).
In October of 1999 Global Witness along other Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) formed an alliance to raise public awareness of Conflict diamonds and call for a consumer boycott. Two days later De Beers announced an embargo of diamonds bought from Angola, and said it was reviewing its buying operations in Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea. The alliance against conflict diamonds soon included over 180 organizations worldwide (7 ).
On May of 2000 at Kimberley, South Africa members of the diamond industry, NGO's and the United Nations met to find a solution to the problem of conflict diamonds. This meeting yielded the Kimberley Protocol that was unanimously supported by the UN General Assembly. The implementation of this protocol was helped along by the discovery that Al Qaeda was involved with conflict diamonds (8 ).
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the International Diamond Manufacturing Association founded World Diamond Council (WDC) in July of 2000. The mission of the WDC was the development, implementation, and oversight of a tracking system to prevent the export and import of conflict diamonds(9 ).