Whiteflash Conflict-Free Guarantee
By Ashley Bailey
, Monday, September 25, 2006
By Ashley Bailey
, September 25, 2006
All diamonds at Whiteflash are certified conflict-free, secured through legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations Resolutions, in accordance with the Kimberly Process and the USA Patriot Act.
There is more you should know
We are deeply concerned with exploitation in areas where natural resources are rich and people are poor. This is a first-order problem in the world we all share. At Whiteflash we are proactive; taking initiative not only to bring conflict free diamonds to our clients, but also working to finance relief to those who suffer from exploitation.
We hope you will read the important information below and find out more about “blood diamonds” and the Dreams of Africa program initiated by Whiteflash.
What are blood diamonds?
During the 1990s, and into this decade, rebel armies in parts of Africa exploited alluvial diamond fields to finance wars against legitimate governments. Unlike diamonds deep in the earth, alluvial diamonds are found only a few inches or feet from the surface over wide ranging territory and are mined with ease. Associated with brutal civil war and human rights violations, these illicitly traded rough diamonds became known as conflict diamonds, or blood diamonds. The issue reached its zenith in the late 1990s, when it is estimated that between 4 and 15% of the world’s rough diamond supply was touched by conflict.
The Kimberley Process and USA Patriot Act
In 2003 the Kimberley Process was adopted by the United Nations to address the issue of conflict diamonds. Participating KPCS governments now monitor and certify all rough diamonds in their territory before export and forbid any rough diamonds from entering their territory without an approved KPCS certificate. NGOs and the United Nations monitor compliance. According to Kimberley, and supported by Global Witness, 99.8% of the world’s rough diamond production is now Kimberley compliant. Overseas manufacturers who do not maintain compliance can be excluded from international trade and/or prosecuted. Polished diamonds are covered by the USA Patriot Act: Every US dealer must maintain Kimberley compliance or be subject to stiff penalties. Failure to comply with guarantees is not a simple FTC violation. Enforcement comes from the Treasury department (IRS), Homeland Security and the US Justice department
Where we are now
The Kimberley Process is to be applauded for dramatically reducing the scope of the issue. Some estimates put rough touched by conflict at less than 1 percent today. But the global diamond industry is vast, and rogue elements trade rough of dubious origin where they can. Kimberley Process fraud was uncovered in Brazil and Guyana in 2006. In November of the same year NGOs were calling for expulsion of Venezuela from KPCS participation. Border controls are tighter in North America, especially after September 11, 2001, but the possibility of corruption in the system exists, even in Canada where “conflict-free” is a national marketing slogan for diamonds.
The good news is that Kimberley and Global Witness have estimated that 99.8% of the world’s diamonds are conflict free. Still, unless you walked the diamond yourself from mine to sorting to trading house to cutting factory to parcel buyer to retail outlet, nothing can be 100 percent certain.
The protectionist solution
The industry works hard to ensure “conflict-free” provenance for the end-user and relies on that label to put consumers’ minds at ease. For many consumers that is enough. The flaw is that it overlooks the real issue, which is the people who still suffer in Africa.
A better solution
As consumers and jewelers we can’t change governments or politics, but we can create commerce and benevolence to help those people.
Dreams of Africa, a Whiteflash initiative, is a program funding relief for children in Africa. 100% of the profit from sales of a designer line of conflict-free diamond jewelry and merchandise goes to the World Centers of Compassion for Children International (WCCCI) to give children affected by the illicit trade of rough diamonds the chance for a brighter tomorrow.
Whiteflash was the first online jewelry retailer to be awarded membership to The Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices (CRJP).
Whiteflash introduced Dreams of Africa to such luminaries as the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in September 2006, at the largest-ever gathering of Nobel Peace Prize winners on American soil, where we selected the WCCCI, established by Nobel Laureate Betty Williams, as our charity partner.
We continue to be proactive, raising awareness for the victims of blood diamonds through our website, philanthropic celebrity endorsements, donations to charitable foundations, and communication with the media, but we would like your help:
Blood Diamonds still exist. Buying “conflict-free” protects you as consumers but it doesn’t stop the pain. As one company we can’t change governments or politics, but we can turn diamonds into a gift for life.
Beyond the protectionist work Kimberley Process, the Patriot Act, NGOs and the CRJP are doing, we believe there must be people-centered answers to help actual humans without industry or red tape in the way
How can consumers help?
Spread awareness. Take part in the global discussion involving exploitation in areas where natural resources are rich and people are poor. Share this link and links to information given by other responsible organizations. Support “development diamond” initiatives such as Dreams of Africa. If possible, donate to organizations like UNICEF and the WCCCI.
Avoid conflict diamonds.
Consumers can aid in the effort to ensure that diamonds do not fund conflict. When shopping, here are four questions suggested by NGOs Amnesty International and Global Witness to test the seller's commitment to preventing trade in conflict diamonds:
How can I be sure that none of your jewelry contains conflict diamonds?
Do you know where the diamonds you sell come from?
Can I see a copy of your company’s policy on conflict diamonds?
Can you show me a written guarantee from your diamond suppliers stating that your diamonds are conflict-free?
Whiteflash diamonds are produced exclusively by Kimberly compliant manufacturers.
All Whiteflash ACA and most ‘Expert Selection’ diamonds are produced on the same fine-make floor of our Kimberly compliant Antwerp siteholder. All diamonds brought to Whiteflash, whether from Antwerp or our known USA suppliers are in strict compliance with the Kimberly Process and the USA Patriot Act.
This page represents our policy and position.
Our unique sourcing situation allows great comfort in knowing our diamonds are conflict-free. Additionally, every diamond we bring to Whiteflash is accompanied by this written guarantee:
The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations Resolutions. The seller hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds.
Every dealer should be prepared to provide you with the above written statement or words to that effect.
The political obstacles to creating free, fair and competitive markets in conflicted areas are historically considerable. Beyond the protectionist work Kimberly Process and the Council for Responsible Jewelry Practices are doing we feel the information age presents an opportunity to work toward people-centered solutions.