Diamond business launches ‘ethical’ gem stamp

24th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 23 (AFP) - Key players in the diamond business Wednesday launched a new "clean" or "ethical" label for diamonds aimed at reassuring buyers that stones have a clean and conflict-free origin.

PARIS, June 23 (AFP) - Key players in the diamond business Wednesday launched a new "clean" or "ethical" label for diamonds aimed at reassuring buyers that stones have a clean and conflict-free origin.

The so-called "5th C" stamp for ethical diamonds will come into force at year's end, under an agreement signed in Paris by Antwerp's federation of diamonds, Global Witness, a non-governmental organisation, and the ICM association of miners and diamond-cutters.

Diamonds already are quality certified by four C's - carat, colour, clarity and cut.

The fifth C, delivered by Antwerp's Bureau of Minerals and Gemmology (BMG), will guarantee the stone is not a "blood" diamond funding war, and that it has been mined in safe conditions and without using child labour.

Diamonds over one carat in weight will be sold with an electronic chip carrying a picture of the mine.

The spokesman for Global Witness, Alex Yearsley, said at a news conference that the new label was "an important turning point but there is still a lot of work to be done" in stamping out illegal trafficking in diamonds".

Wednesday's agreement, he said, would bolster the Kimberley Process, which came into effect last year to curb trade in so-called "blood diamonds."

These are defined as rough diamonds obtained by using or threatening to use coercion or military force and exploited by many rebel movements to finance their activities, mainly in mineral-rich Africa.

Around two percent of world diamond production was believed to originate from conflict zones, Eddy Vleeschdrager, who heads the Antwerp body, told AFP.

"In the last years, diamonds were under a geopolitical cloud," he said. "We must preserve and guarantee the dream that diamonds evoke."

Sales of the stones have dropped 15 percent to 20 percent in Europe since 1994, leaving professionals concerned both about its image and about competition from synthetic diamonds.

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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