Named after the diamond mine located in Kimberley, South Africa. This was the location where the representatives from South African diamond-producing countries met in 2000 to discuss the threat of 'Conflict Diamonds'. The Kimberley Process is still a very important aspect of the jewellery industry and an element that helps all consumers have peace of mind when purchasing diamond set jewellery.
Due to issues with diamonds being used to fund illegal activities, such as conflicts (these diamonds are more commonly known as "blood diamonds"), there is a strict protocol in place for countries and mining companies to follow to sell and move rough diamonds from country to country, this is called the Kimberley Process.
Introduced and monitored by The World Diamond Council in 2003, it is a process of certification for rough diamonds that allows the stones to be traced from their source to the cutting factory.
A participant country must not receive any rough diamonds that are not either from another participant country or uncertified.
All invoices have the "system of warranties" declaration throughout the diamond processing trade. The declaration requires that sellers of both rough and polished diamonds make the following confirmation on their invoices:
"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."
The Kimberley Process aims to form a paper trail which demonstrates that the diamond is conflict free.
There has been criticism of the Kimberley Process and there are concerns within the jewellery industry that it doesn't go far enough. It only applies to rough diamonds, i.e the natural form the diamond is found in at its source, it does not apply to cut diamonds. That means as soon as the diamond has been cut, even just once, it no longer needs to be certificated and tracked under the Kimberley Process. Some mining companies undertake the initial cutting processes at the mine itself, therefore, those diamonds do then not need to be tracked under the Kimberley Process.
Another major concern is the Kimberley Process does not look at the social, political or environmental associations of those who have been involved in the supply chain. So there is very little requirements for ethical conformity with the Kimberley Process. However, since 2003 when it came in to effect, conflict diamond trades have been effectively stemmed.
At the beginning of 2019 the UN General Assembly resolution called for reforms to enhance the capabilities of the Kimberley Process, so it is likely that in the coming years the Process will change and adjust to continue its efforts to thwart the trade of conflict diamonds.