Past Event

Café Society: Conflict Diamonds: Are They Forever?

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Diamonds are forever. Diamonds are a multi-million dollar industry.

In the early 1990’s, conflict diamondsor “blood diamonds” first met the world’s attention during a violent conflict in Sierra Leone.According to the United Nations, a diamond graduates to a conflict diamond when it “originates from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments and is used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council.”The illicit sale of these gems has funded conflicts in Angola, Ivory Coast, Liberia, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as al-Qaeda.Who is it that has profited from blood diamonds: African nations, the diamond industry, the consumer?

The De Beers Group, a diamond mining and trading corporation, presently controls an estimated 40% of the world’s diamond trade.The United States accounts for half of the world’s diamond jewelry purchases.Is this industry to blame for the exploitation of countless families in Africa?Is the legacy of imperialism responsible for giving power to unprincipled governments and guerrilla forces?Should the American public be responsible for holding the diamond industry accountable?

The less than sparkling reputation of the diamond industry has becomethe focus of Hollywood.The New York Times called it “Hollywood’s multifaceted cause du jour.”Most recently, the film Blood Diamond has drawn attention to the impact this illegal trade has had on the many people living in regions exploited by Westerners’ lust for these tokens of love.The film has been criticized for misleading the public.According to the diamond industry, blood diamonds only represent a small percentage of those on the market.Has the film given the consumers the wrong impression?Is a more stringent and costly certification process truly merited?

Join us this week at Café Society to discuss how far you are willing to go to make sure your next ring is conflict free.

This Week’s Articles:

Diamond trade polishes image

DeBeers and Beyond: The History of the International Diamond Cartel

Blood Diamond-A Film Review

A Whiter Shade of Guile

For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.