Joyce is certainly right about the difficulty of determining diamond
origin. As a writer specializing in diamonds for New York Diamonds
magazine, I have been following this issue closely. The store
boycotts and other public demonstrations are dramatic but ill-chosen
gestures. The industry is working toward finding a way to track
diamonds from the sources, and to winnow out those that try to
subvert the ID process. But let’s not kid ourselves. Even within
one country, such as Angola, there are so-called clean diamonds and
Diamonds are mined in many countries in Africa and by the time they
reach the cutting centers of the world, they have been thoroughly
mixed together. Even with the best will in the world, solving this
one is a long-term proposition. Consider just how ineffective
sanctions have been against countries that import weapons – diamonds
are a lot smaller, and much more valuable.
Some steps are obvious and are already underway: Liberia is a major
exporter of diamonds – but not a diamond producer. Sanctions
against Liberia make sense. This is not to say that the diamonds
won’t be smuggled out to some other country, but it does tend to slow
down the trade.
However, putting the onus on retail jewelers is just plain silly.
They have absolutely no way to identify the source of a diamond.
Scarcely any diamond experts among those who handle rough can
identify the source of a diamond and even in the few instances when
they can, they still can’t tell you if it was mined legally or not.