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Blood diamonds and your engagement ring

Blood diamonds aren't a new fashion statement -- they're illegally traded diamonds that finance revolutions and fund terrorism. These aren't the kind of stones you want on your engagement ring.

Blood, or conflict, diamonds also are linked to human rights abuses in African countries such as Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2000, the United Nations initiated an effort to crack down on conflict diamonds that has now resulted in their virtual elimination from the world's jewelry markets.

As a result of these efforts, the likelihood of a blood diamond ending up on a ring at your local jewelry store is extremely remote, says Cecilia L. Gardner, general counsel with the World Diamond Council.

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"Over the past couple of years the diamond industry has created a system to ensure that no diamonds enter the stream of distribution that are from conflict-ridden areas," she says.

Called the Kimberly process, it requires that all rough-diamond dealers certify that their diamonds are conflict-free. In fact, U.S jewelry distributors and their customers won't purchase raw stones from dealers that don't participate in the Kimberly process. Every time a diamond shipment crosses an international border, it must be certified as conflict-free.

See main story: How to save on engagement and wedding rings

-- Posted: July 21, 2004
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See Also
MAIN: Use your head, not heart, when buying a ring
Fabulous fakes for your true love
Basics of buying a diamond
Frugal U. definitions
More Frugal U. stories

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