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The Kimberley Process and the Chinese - New Article

coati

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New journal article by Ephraim Ramhari, an anonymous diamond trade member - The Kimberley Process and the Chinese

Commentary on the World Diamond Council's panel discussion at JCK 2011 - Diamond Dialogue: The Challenges of a Robust Kimberly Process

Thank you for your contribution, Mr. Ramhari.
 

Regular Guy

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Excellent article.

Very bad conclusion: " It means that in order to level the playing field in the diamond business, Zimbabwe must be allowed to export its rough diamonds."

But, the conclusion, while routinely the point in any non-fiction piece, might be considered trivial in this case (with apologies to Mr. Ramhari).

A real headline for me was the representation of Garry as a hero of the discussion. In most of the recent and previous, I've seen him taking what I might describe as an apologist position, or...a position suggesting that whatever happens with Zimbabwe is "a fait to complit (sp?)." But, for those who know him, probably the description is not a surprise.

As I separately read the state of the art, I read little analysis recently on the scale of things. Longer ago, I think Rapaport suggests that almost without regard to Kimberly, the US will regard as illegal goods sold that have the negative tint of human rights abuses...and if this is so, even if the US were to roll over as Mr. Ramhari apparently suggests, there may yet not be a clear line to also saying these diamonds can be sold in the US...not sure.

Still, while the many countries that are signatory to Kimberly witness a lack of agreement, despite Kimberly's statement that the Zimbabwe sales are legitimate, it is not obvious to me how the representatives of Kimberly, and even its officers, can be expected to have its members share agreement, when its members can see it is not behaving in a way internally consistent with it's own policies....these policies saying that complete agreement with all members is a requirement for any decision.

Ira Z.
 

kelpie

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I agree this is a huge issue. I have seen it. In Tanzania the mining companies just come to an agreement with the Mining Authority Officials on how much they're going to report they've produced....And honestly they don't even always have the best idea. It is very hard to keep track of a commodity when you can stuff a couple million worth in a briefcase. In my observations of the Chinese firms here their concern is for the bottom line and environmental issues, worker rights, or host country economic development are sidelined.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Regular Guy|1311714956|2977316 said:
Excellent article.

Very bad conclusion: " It means that in order to level the playing field in the diamond business, Zimbabwe must be allowed to export its rough diamonds."

But, the conclusion, while routinely the point in any non-fiction piece, might be considered trivial in this case (with apologies to Mr. Ramhari).

A real headline for me was the representation of Garry as a hero of the discussion. In most of the recent and previous, I've seen him taking what I might describe as an apologist position, or...a position suggesting that whatever happens with Zimbabwe is "a fait to complit (sp?)." But, for those who know him, probably the description is not a surprise.

As I separately read the state of the art, I read little analysis recently on the scale of things. Longer ago, I think Rapaport suggests that almost without regard to Kimberly, the US will regard as illegal goods sold that have the negative tint of human rights abuses...and if this is so, even if the US were to roll over as Mr. Ramhari apparently suggests, there may yet not be a clear line to also saying these diamonds can be sold in the US...not sure.

Still, while the many countries that are signatory to Kimberly witness a lack of agreement, despite Kimberly's statement that the Zimbabwe sales are legitimate, it is not obvious to me how the representatives of Kimberly, and even its officers, can be expected to have its members share agreement, when its members can see it is not behaving in a way internally consistent with it's own policies....these policies saying that complete agreement with all members is a requirement for any decision.

Ira Z.

Hi Ira,
apologist / realist or whatever. I do believe the Kimberly Process is being stretched past its breaking point by trying to make it into a Human Rights sledge hammer when it was constructed to do a different job. And the uSA, Canada, UK and my own country Australia are in my view grandstanding on that front. Clearly there are many countries that prefer to avoid those HR issues and will never support the goodie 2 shoes western approach. So that makes KP toothless.
I believe as a realist that within a couple of years all the Marange diamonds that were mined by soldiers with coercion and bloodshed will be sold one way or another. Iprefer they be sold openly with the least opportunity for closed door deals and corruption. I am not so naive to believe even with full transparency however that there will be no corruption at all - just less of it, and less presure for there to be more of it - especially if the goods are sold to reputable Indian consortiums.
 

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deleted, replaced below...
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Regular Guy|1311738989|2977699 said:
Garry, all,

I find it necessary to raise a point of clarification...as although the words we are using appear to be in conflict (the words themselves that is...not right now the diamonds), I think it may be somewhat helpful to just look at some simple purposes, intentions, definitions, and see how operations are or are not functioning.

To that purpose, and not wishing to at least necessarily derail this discussion, I've started a new thread, here:

https://www.pricescope.com/forum/post2977691.html

Thanks for reviewing my notes, perhaps as a footnote, there.

Best,

Ira Z.
Ira I am sorry but what is the valid reason why this should be in a new thread?
 

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deleted...replaced below...
 

Regular Guy

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Garry, all,

Help me follow the ball, and I did intend to allude to this in my note in my originating post, from which this is an off shoot and footnote:

1) Most people anywhere…but let’s take North America, or even more narrowly, the US, as our example…do use language of “non-conflict” to give themselves some peace of mind,
2) And although guys with sharp pencils here try to make the point that KP was not intended, and is not for the purpose of protecting diamonds against Human Rights abuses, let’s admit that to the extent that any peace of mind is actually sought after by Joe the guy on the street, such peace of mind would include exactly protection against those human rights abuses.
3) Because if word were to get out assertively that KP was a legalistic contrivance, the sought after benefit for having a KP warrantee would at least perhaps loose some of its purpose.

Now, with that said, let’s move on to what I suspect is a yet greater reality, which makes KP irrelevant anyway, regardless of what may be its lack of relevance otherwise.

Following the representation in Rapaport’s speech in India on August 25, 2010, it is pointed out there (http://www.diamonds.net/News/NewsItem.aspx?ArticleID=32337 ), and I quote:

“Regarding the listing of KP-certified Marange diamonds on RapNet: As RapNet is a U.S. entity and the companies selling the Marange diamonds are owned by entities on the U.S. sanctions list, we are unable to list these diamonds for sale on RapNet. It is a strange situation because the KP has certified diamonds that are illegal for a U.S. or E.U. entity to purchase and made the diamonds legal for trade in India, China and most other countries.”


If I understand what’s implied above, the suggestion is that regardless of KP, and what it sanctions, because the Marange diamonds would still and otherwise be illegal for sale in the US, even KP’s legitimization of these diamonds would not allow them to be available for sale here. This suggests that ordinary citizens may be protected from purchases associated with human rights abuses…but not necessarily because of that KP pedigree.


If I’m at all correct in this in some measure, maybe we need to shift the load from the calf to the bull.

We have maybe propped up KP and shown its face as our protection, when it is not even the agency that is available to us to do the necessary heavy lifting. We might apparently have other laws and protections specifically enabling us to be free of the burden of being concerned about goods trafficking in this country with HR violations, but those laws are not the KP ones.

Is this the case?

If so, perhaps we should just let the KP people do their thing. Surely it is good for something, and it should keep protecting us from whatever the dickens it is protecting us from. I understand there was recent good press about the positive effects KP has for miner owners in fact, and who could argue with this good will.

Primarily, the Kimberly Process is preventing rebel forces who kill innocents from being funded from the sale of diamonds, or something near that, isn’t it?

But, if it is just a bad shell game at this point, really…if KP is not the reason we really are protected from goods offered where human rights violations have occured, but it instead is another set of agreements, treaties, or laws that afford us these protections….we might do well to understand this.

Surely, if anything, such an understanding might help us do further investigating. Maybe we thought that KP certification told us something it was not telling us. Indeed, that is increasingly being the case. We HAD been variously advised, by wise experts on Pricescope, to ask where diamonds are really sourced from. I can share with you that, in virtually all cases, when I have recently asked this, all I am told is that you can count on their being KP certified and non-conflict…which as I write here, is not really what I am most interested in knowing.

Learning about where diamonds are mined might indeed tell me other substantive things I would like to know, including possibly how workers were treated, and other such info, if it could be traced back to the mine and source. But…we don’t seem to be close to there in most cases.

So to sum up…

- Though KP has been propped up, and asked to do more than should be expected
- Maybe we SHOULD let it go, and continue as is
- With the understanding that we ARE protected from the HR abuses we wish to be protected from, because of other US laws, but not KP
- In which case, we might wish our state department to work hard to make sure that the laws that ARE protecting us from products from genuinely evil sources continue to do their job
- And, since we do live in a global stage, we can continue to offer support for both KP and other such good ventures, but we perhaps should understand today’s KP isn’t doing the world stage job we would really like, and that is unfortunate for those countries who do not have the additional protections we have in the US
- But, because of our national protections, we can continue to buy goods protected from hr abuses. However, these protections should not be mis-attributred to the Kimberly Process, which today is unevenly applied, and is not serving to protect us in the way we would like.


Ira Z.
 

denverappraiser

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I fear that, at this point, KP seems to offer very little benefits beyond supporting the tax collection efforts for the source countries. The criminals seem to have learned how to game the system and, in the case of Marange, the government is functionally indistinguishable from the criminals. Empowering local tax collections in Sierra Leone, Cote de Ivory et.al. is a GOOD thing, but I’m not so convinced any more that it’s worth the illusion of a broader solution which then prevents other possible solutions from coming forward.

The source of diamonds is deliberately obscured by the mining companies and source country governments. As long as this continues, I don’t see much opportunity for well meaning people downstream to benefit workers and/or the environment surrounding the mining activity. In order for shoppers to demand or eschew a genuine product of Botswana (for example) and thereby reward Botswana for behaving the way they want, they have to be able to reliably identify what is and what is not a product of Botswana. The Canadians have done a significant amount of effort towards promoting their own goods with what appears to be mixed results. Few customers seem to care, or at least they don’t care enough to be willing to put their money where their hearts are. ‘Made in Canada’ is a tiny fraction of the diamond market, even the Canadian-mined diamond market. Genuine Argyle’s from Australia get marketed as such but I’ve not seen a single brand promoting geologic origin in Africa, Russia or anywhere else. This seems like the key to the solution and as long as KP can be used as a mask to call the ‘conflict diamond’ problem solved, I fear it’s not available. I’m not quite ready to bail completely on KP but I think it’s time to go back to the drawing board and try a different approach, if not for a replacement, at least as a supplement.
 

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denverappraiser|1311799731|2978249 said:
The source of diamonds is deliberately obscured by the mining companies and source country governments. As long as this continues, I don’t see much opportunity for well meaning people downstream to benefit workers and/or the environment surrounding the mining activity. In order for shoppers to demand or eschew a genuine product of Botswana (for example) and thereby reward Botswana for behaving the way they want, they have to be able to reliably identify what is and what is not a product of Botswana. .


Staying on point, though I should do a separate thread (thought this may be it), Garry be damned, on proposals for strategic shopping based on the "major chord" of cost, cut, and ethical sourcing...

Following your logic, Neil, if I am understanding it correctly, without respect to actual success...I believe the technologies are there today, and available to shoppers, if desired. For example, with pretty strong web presence, at Brilliant Earth ( http://www.brilliantearth.com/loose-diamonds/search/ ), you can include in their diamond search engine the determination to select source, including in modest measure, Namibia, and more robustly, as you say, Botswana. At the same time, you can seek out what they at least, with some assumptions necessary for criteria, cut preference for SuperIdeal. Pricing is high-ish, but advantaged to many B&M's surely. That's option 1, and really a pretty mainstream one, at that.

Option two, to name it, and for anyone to see it, is Days Jewelers, also with a web presence, and what may be a more notable B&M footprint, in Maine ( http://www.daysjewelers.com/category/engagement_rings_and_wedding_rings/botswana+diamond+rings.do). Here, not only are you presented with options very specifically from Botswana, but you also have a) somewhat attractive pricing, and b) GCAL visible certificates, demonstrating optical performance. Some, though too few, do seem to be well cut, verifiable with angle info online, for which the HCA can be applied.

So, if I've not understood your point I've copied above, sorry. I've had personally, limited success with the above options, and I'm not sure I disagree with your main conclusions.

But, let's give the best chance we can to systems currently in place to give voice to options that are not authorized as "fair trade" perhaps, but only probably because the channels for naming diamonds as "fair trade" have not yet come forward sufficiently. But, they are close, and solutions, available to on-line shoppers, are close as well. I support...supporting them, thus this effort.

Ira Z.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Regular Guy|1311741361|2977737 said:
Garry, all,

Help me follow the ball, and I did intend to allude to this in my note in my originating post, from which this is an off shoot and footnote:

1) Most people anywhere…but let’s take North America, or even more narrowly, the US, as our example…do use language of “non-conflict” to give themselves some peace of mind, especially in washinton DC type places, but elsewhere?
2) And although guys with sharp pencils here try to make the point that KP was not intended, and is not for the purpose of protecting diamonds against Human Rights abuses, let’s admit that to the extent that any peace of mind is actually sought after by Joe the guy on the street, such peace of mind would include exactly protection against those human rights abuses.
3) Because if word were to get out assertively that KP was a legalistic contrivance, the sought after benefit for having a KP warrantee would at least perhaps loose some of its purpose.

Now, with that said, let’s move on to what I suspect is a yet greater reality, which makes KP irrelevant anyway, regardless of what may be its lack of relevance otherwise.

Following the representation in Rapaport’s speech in India on August 25, 2010, it is pointed out there (http://www.diamonds.net/News/NewsItem.aspx?ArticleID=32337 ), and I quote:

“Regarding the listing of KP-certified Marange diamonds on RapNet: As RapNet is a U.S. entity and the companies selling the Marange diamonds are owned by entities on the U.S. sanctions list, we are unable to list these diamonds for sale on RapNet. It is a strange situation because the KP has certified diamonds that are illegal for a U.S. or E.U. entity to purchase and made the diamonds legal for trade in India, China and most other countries.”


If I understand what’s implied above, the suggestion is that regardless of KP, and what it sanctions, because the Marange diamonds would still and otherwise be illegal for sale in the US, even KP’s legitimization of these diamonds would not allow them to be available for sale here. This suggests that ordinary citizens may be protected from purchases associated with human rights abuses…but not necessarily because of that KP pedigree.


If I’m at all correct in this in some measure, maybe we need to shift the load from the calf to the bull.

We have maybe propped up KP and shown its face as our protection, when it is not even the agency that is available to us to do the necessary heavy lifting. We might apparently have other laws and protections specifically enabling us to be free of the burden of being concerned about goods trafficking in this country with HR violations, but those laws are not the KP ones.

Is this the case?

If so, perhaps we should just let the KP people do their thing. Surely it is good for something, and it should keep protecting us from whatever the dickens it is protecting us from. I understand there was recent good press about the positive effects KP has for miner owners in fact, and who could argue with this good will.

Primarily, the Kimberly Process is preventing rebel forces who kill innocents from being funded from the sale of diamonds, or something near that, isn’t it? Yes, that is what KP was set up for, and as per the movie Blood Diamond, that was a huge issue during the 1990's and KP seems to have been an efffective tool in that respect. The Human Rights abuses then were so very obvious, and their association with diamonds, Charles Taylor et al, was so bad that there was enough momentum to establish an inter country industry initiated UN authorised body. My great fear however is that if KP continues to be used as a politicized sanctioning tool then it will no longer be in place for the next national / rebel conflict where abuses are so bad that even china and USA would vote together.

But, if it is just a bad shell game at this point, really…if KP is not the reason we really are protected from goods offered where human rights violations have occured, but it instead is another set of agreements, treaties, or laws that afford us these protections….we might do well to understand this.

Surely, if anything, such an understanding might help us do further investigating. Maybe we thought that KP certification told us something it was not telling us. Indeed, that is increasingly being the case. We HAD been variously advised, by wise experts on Pricescope, to ask where diamonds are really sourced from. I can share with you that, in virtually all cases, when I have recently asked this, all I am told is that you can count on their being KP certified and non-conflict…which as I write here, is not really what I am most interested in knowing.

Learning about where diamonds are mined might indeed tell me other substantive things I would like to know, including possibly how workers were treated, and other such info, if it could be traced back to the mine and source. But…we don’t seem to be close to there in most cases.
Noble sentiments Ira, but more aligned to fair trade which is a commercial advocay device with consumer support. KP is an international UN body and has changed the game where it is, as you say/imply, now better value to have the KP seal even though it means paying the local taxes. that is a major accomplishment when you consider diamonds are the easiest goods in the world to smuggle; not Xray detectable, no sniffer dog smell and most concentrated value.
So to sum up…

- Though KP has been propped up, and asked to do more than should be expected
- Maybe we SHOULD let it go, and continue as is we agree
- With the understanding that we ARE protected from the HR abuses we wish to be protected from, because of other US laws, but not KP by sanctions which probably
- In which case, we might wish our state department to work hard to make sure that the laws that ARE protecting us from products from genuinely evil sources continue to do their job
- And, since we do live in a global stage, we can continue to offer support for both KP and other such good ventures, but we perhaps should understand today’s KP isn’t doing the world stage job we would really like, and that is unfortunate for those countries who do not have the additional protections we have in the US
- But, because of our national protections, we can continue to buy goods protected from hr abuses. However, these protections should not be mis-attributred to the Kimberly Process, which today is unevenly applied, and is not serving to protect us in the way we would like.


Ira Z.
I find the idea that people in the USA are "protected" is a bit wierd Ira. I imagined that it was the people being abused that need protection and I am unaware that this ever happens when sanctions are applied. In my limited experiance it seems to me that the rich and powerful get richer and more abusive in such situations because normal business environments are made useless. So who is in need of protection????? This is why I am sickened by people who by Canadian diamonds because they are pristine and clean.

Edit - Sorry Neil, it was you who mentioned KP aiding export tax collecting.
 

denverappraiser

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Garry,

Fair trade diamonds, as they are being endorsed by Mr. Rapaport is conceptually a good idea but I see some fairly serious problems. The biggest is exactly the issue I brought up above. For consumers to demand ‘fair trade’ products, there MUST be someone certifying them as that, and it MUST be possible for that entity to recognize what is, and what is not, produced by someone who is behaving well. There must be transparency. The best is for the consumer to be able to recognize it and so that THEY are empowered to support or boycott particular vendors. Miners, cutters et.al. can then promote the fact that they are behaving in ways that makes their stuff ‘worth’ more and shoppers can then vote with their wallets. This transparency is exactly what the systems of sites and boxes is designed to obscure. Expect resistance from the people who benefit from the current approach.

I think it’s worth noting that a big piece of the problem here lies with consumers. People MUST be willing to pay a premium if they want to use their shopping for political objectives. That premium is the grease that drives change. It’s the reason that miners will change their procedures to a more expensive and more responsible techniques and how they can stay in business in the face of competition who don’t do the same. It’s about money, and the default is to do whatever possible to drive down prices. If it’s possible to do this invisibly, it’s nearly certain that decisions will be made that conscientious consumers, both Americans and others, wouldn’t approve if they knew.
 

Regular Guy

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It’s possible we’re going in circles, and that my driving point should have been bumped to a different thread as originally proposed…but I’ll go with the flow, and stand by my point.

I find the idea that people in the USA are "protected" is a bit wierd Ira. I imagined that it was the people being abused that need protection and I am unaware that this ever happens when sanctions are applied.

It is the idea that people are being abused and need protection that is the target. You say this doesn’t happen when sanctions are applied. And, that is really what I’m trying to understand.

I understand that KP may not be the excuse for applying sanctions.
Other laws provide the basis for sanctions.
The US, for example, is among the largest markets diamonteers wish to capture with the sale of diamonds, and I do understand that laws are in place to prevent the sale of diamonds here that are known to have been associated with human rights violations, even though those laws may not be KP laws.

But it WOULD be nice to have this confirmed.

Possibly it is desired to apply KP laws to hr abuses, because these KP laws perhaps can more effectively be applied where the action is. I do understand, as I think maybe you both, Neil and Garry, are implying, that the physical good will best be presenting as the “evidence” of wholesome production, when it is marked for its source. This is partly because, after being mined from either Zimbabwe or some other source when hr abuses are known to occur…and let me not pause too briefly to emphasize that the real time concern for this is current….and is trying to address current time real problems, and not some future anticipated problem which it is good to protect from as well…once it is cut and polished, no particular marking on the diamond would typically allow the viewer to understand what that distant source was.

So I will say this in somewhat simple terms a two way street. Yes, a person who buys a diamond would like to know, and experience protections from, likelihood that the diamond was created, born from atrocities. Very much likewise, a system should be in place to protect those workers from the ill intent of those who would like to profit from the worker’s overlords.

I have heard that some committee…perhaps the Jewelers Vigilance Committee…has on a drawing board ways to help follow the diamond to the mine
I do agree that additional costs will have to be borne by buyers to support the additional costs for the protections necessary to make such systems work.
Everything is somewhat relative in these respects.
More significant cost differentials will only be born by a few, and as such increases in costs get streamlined, it is hoped that more will bear the relatively higher differential.

I am concerned for the speed of the processes concerned. Also, it would be helpful to have a sense of the bigger picture, the proportionality of the problems, with respect to the severity of the human rights issues, from its worst presentation, as has been discussed with respect to Zimbabwe, including rape and murder to accomplish the tastk, and as well, to its better representations, where no HR presentations per se is current, but where conventional neglect and the normal “doing of business” would be considered to some even abhorrent.

I am, at the same time, delighted for some agencies that are working to bring positive change forward. Brilliant Earth seems to be growing, and Rapaport, while not currently associated with a new stream of traceable fair trade products, continues to hold conferences (one is coming early September in NY) to continue to discuss these things…and if he previously charged attendees to come, he’s not doing that now for the current conference.

Awareness of the need to effect change will bring forward movement towards it. Although price resistance is a current obstacle for consumers to seek diamonds borne from ethical sourcing, we need to identify a) tools for change, b) questions that will need to be answered so that, when answered, positive change happens, and then c) people will be needed to ask the questions, and, to the extent necessary, pay the price.

As a person from Washington DC, and a recent consumer, for now…I’ve failed to meet the challenge (having bought studs with no pretense of having come from a known source).

But, and despite even Pricescope’s dearth of “tracking” on this question, it too can be one of the beacons to make a difference.

For its place in this process, item (b) may be the one to chart.

What questions can consumers ask that will make a difference?

Is a question…is this a non-conflict diamond.? If KP doesn’t provide protection for ethical abuses, which real buyers might be concerned about now, then…no.

Shoppers could point to the Blue Nile website ( http://www.bluenile.com/ethical-sourcing ), assuring buyers that their diamonds are not sourced from Zimbabwe, and ask their potential buyers if theirs might be? And if not sourced from Zimbabwe, why or why not would they know that?

They could ask if they have any plans to begin providing a source of diamonds that ARE sourced back to the mines, and why or why not would they entertain such a plan.

Maybe other good questions could be asked. And maybe they can be identified here. But I will say that the advice that I have heard on Pricescope…to ask if they know where their diamonds are sourced, typically, and unless left to a specialty jeweler equipped to answer the question…the question, in that current form, is just a non-starter.
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Ira I agree with Neil.
I would like to see the idealogic views gain traction. But when people have to pay more, there are very few consumers who will do it.
The lead will only come from businesses, in my view. The Responsible Jewellery Council is working on a Chain of Custody. But it is likely that this will only work for a few big name brands.

It is not realistic to expect the 69 different nations who are KP members to all agree with a few do-gooder-western nations on what constitutes an abuse of human rights.
Many (most?) of these nations have sweat shops, dreadful mining conditions, slavery and all sorts of other issues and the last thing they want is to empower NGO's to look at their own record of behaviour.
You are all using phones and computers that have mined materials that caused environmental and human disasters. So idealogists please help improve things before you aim for implimentation of your own personal and national values.
 

denverappraiser

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So what’s a peacenik treehugger to do if you can’t rely on KP?

1) Buy Canadian. It’s not that Canadian goods are any better, necessarily more responsible, or even that you’re doing any favors to Africans by boycotting their products, but the Canadians have implemented a reasonably transparent system so that you know where it came from. Few others do this. As crazy as it seems, if Canada succeeds at this program then others will imitate their model. To the extent that there are traceable brands from Namibia, Botswana, Australia, Russia or anywhere else, definitely support them as well.

2) Buy from suppliers who support the good guys. As a retailer it’s hard to be certain about how your suppliers behave but some don’t even try. They’re in a better position than you to be able to tell the difference and they should be your ally in this, not your opponent.

3) Buy antiques and previously loved pieces. They may have been sourced in a way that you wouldn’t approve of (in fact they probably were), but recycling comes with it’s own merits and hippie creds.

4) Buy synthetics. Lab workers seem to be better treated than miners, at least at the moment. The synthetic sellers are moderately upfront about where and how they get their stuf.

5) Buy other things. Most other gemstones are actually worse in terms of human and environmental problems but you can celebrate your love with granola and a recycled gold band. Diamonds and gemstones are not necessary and if you aren’t comfortable with the way they’re produced or with the sorts of documentation the sellers use to ‘prove’ the provenance, don’t buy them.

6) Be prepared to pay a premium. It’s about the money and if you want to force your politics down the throat of the supply chain, it goes a lot better with some honey. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t hunt for a bargain or even that all sellers who are charging a premium are using the proceeds in a way that you would like but all of the things being asked for in terms of higher wages, better and safer working conditions, better environmental systems, traceable distribution, paper trails and the like cost money. YOU are the source of that money and without it, everything collapses.

7) Pick your battles. I’m a proud hippie treehugger from way back and I’ve seen these sorts of fights come and go over the last several decades. They never really end and you can’t be in all of them. There are other industries, like oil and lumber that I think are far more significant in terms of all of these issues and still others, like drugs and prostitution that are far more destructive in their implementation. You can’t solve all of the evil in the world but you CAN pick and choose to make your own impact a net positive. Diamonds may not be your hot button, or they may not be the hot button of your friends and neighbors. That's ok. Don’t be a snoot about it just because someone else chooses a different path from you. Feel free to avoid buying a fur coat if you don’t like the back story, but don’t be one of those jerks who throw paint at people who do.
 

Regular Guy

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well, I'm researching through some older Pricescope threads, after my sales associate today at Day's Jeweler's brought to my attention their ability to access Forevermark diamonds.

Apparently they're just launching in the US.

Researching them here, I see other tracks and discussions going back, and I hope to get over to my local Kay's Jewelers, to see what they can tell me about Tolkowsky diamonds. Why? Because Rhino mentions them, along with ISEE diamonds, here:

https://www.pricescope.com/communit...e-your-diamond-came-from-on-its-papers.74688/

Neil, it is interesting about the sorts of changes that can happen in attitudes and understanding, in the span of time.

My younger son is actually watching all of Lost this summer, and I'm sitting in with him for some of the episodes. Apparently they time travel. You can do that, it seems, here on Pricescope, too.

Cheers,

Ira Z.
 

coati

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Paging Ira - Just letting you know that I received your message, and I wrote you back on dreamer's Mind Clean thread. I included Rap's piece yesterday morning in the Kimberley Process News Roundup. In case you missed it, here it is.

https://www.pricescope.com/blog/kimberley-process-news-roundup-august-2011

eta: PS email was down yesterday, but I got your message today. (You should have a reply in your inbox)

All the best,
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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I was quoted by Ephraim as saying: "Why are there no Chinese representatives on this panel, or Indians?' Holloway asked. "The Chinese are the elephant in the room, but why is no one mentioning them? The Chinese are reportedly flying helicopter loads of diamonds out of ZIM on a regular basis, how does that work with China as a KP signatory?" he continued.

The answer from the US State Department representative was something like “If you have any evidence of Chinese illegally exporting diamonds please give it to us."

Here is an answer to the US State Dept in this rather long and well researched article http://www.economist.com/node/21525847 titled:
The Queensway syndicate and the Africa trade
China’s oil trade with Africa is dominated by an opaque syndicate. Ordinary Africans appear to do badly out of its hugely lucrative deals.

It would be rather hard to believe that the govt of USA does not know these things????

For example:

"In Zimbabwe the situation is even more egregious. The finance minister, an opposition member of the governing coalition, has blocked extra funding for the CIO, presumably because it backs Mr Mugabe. And yet, it is suddenly flush with cash. In recent months it has reportedly doubled the salaries of agents, acquired hundreds of new off-road vehicles and trained thousands of militiamen who are now in a position to intimidate voters during next year’s elections. Several sources who have looked at the deal concluded that the money came from Mr Pa. They say he struck a side deal with the CIO that gives him access to Zimbabwe’s vast diamond wealth—controlled in part by the CIO. The diamonds were for some years banned from reaching international markets because of global industry prohibitions over violence routinely inflicted on Zimbabwean miners. Yet, Mr Pa is said to buy them and apparently makes payments directly to the CIO, bypassing government coffers."

oho so sad
 

monarch64

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denverappraiser|1312206512|2981571 said:
So what’s a peacenik treehugger to do if you can’t rely on KP?

1) Buy Canadian. It’s not that Canadian goods are any better, necessarily more responsible, or even that you’re doing any favors to Africans by boycotting their products, but the Canadians have implemented a reasonably transparent system so that you know where it came from. Few others do this. As crazy as it seems, if Canada succeeds at this program then others will imitate their model. To the extent that there are traceable brands from Namibia, Botswana, Australia, Russia or anywhere else, definitely support them as well.

2) Buy from suppliers who support the good guys. As a retailer it’s hard to be certain about how your suppliers behave but some don’t even try. They’re in a better position than you to be able to tell the difference and they should be your ally in this, not your opponent.

3) Buy antiques and previously loved pieces. They may have been sourced in a way that you wouldn’t approve of (in fact they probably were), but recycling comes with it’s own merits and hippie creds.

4) Buy synthetics. Lab workers seem to be better treated than miners, at least at the moment. The synthetic sellers are moderately upfront about where and how they get their stuf.

5) Buy other things. Most other gemstones are actually worse in terms of human and environmental problems but you can celebrate your love with granola and a recycled gold band. Diamonds and gemstones are not necessary and if you aren’t comfortable with the way they’re produced or with the sorts of documentation the sellers use to ‘prove’ the provenance, don’t buy them.

6) Be prepared to pay a premium. It’s about the money and if you want to force your politics down the throat of the supply chain, it goes a lot better with some honey. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t hunt for a bargain or even that all sellers who are charging a premium are using the proceeds in a way that you would like but all of the things being asked for in terms of higher wages, better and safer working conditions, better environmental systems, traceable distribution, paper trails and the like cost money. YOU are the source of that money and without it, everything collapses.

7) Pick your battles. I’m a proud hippie treehugger from way back and I’ve seen these sorts of fights come and go over the last several decades. They never really end and you can’t be in all of them. There are other industries, like oil and lumber that I think are far more significant in terms of all of these issues and still others, like drugs and prostitution that are far more destructive in their implementation. You can’t solve all of the evil in the world but you CAN pick and choose to make your own impact a net positive. Diamonds may not be your hot button, or they may not be the hot button of your friends and neighbors. That's ok. Don’t be a snoot about it just because someone else chooses a different path from you. Feel free to avoid buying a fur coat if you don’t like the back story, but don’t be one of those jerks who throw paint at people who do.

Wow! Sound advice all around. Thanks DA for your thoughtful and insightful post, I really enjoyed this! :appl:
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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The last of 2 remaining companies doing Canadian diamonds with a Polar Bear logo on laser inscribed on the girdle closed its doors last week.
Sad for unemployed Canadian cutters.
But good for the poor people in 3rd world countries.
 

EphraimRamhari

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For NGOs, the KP Show must go on……

For NGOs, the KP Show must go on……

By Ephraim Ramhari

I just read the latest issue (no. 35) of Other Facets, the newsletter that is published by Partnership Africa Canada. I read it, from beginning to end, and must admit that their take on Zimbabwe makes a lot of sense. But it was the introduction that made me conclude that while the diamond industry has been welcoming the NGOs to the scene, we've also given them free range and with it, a very easy target to take aim at. The demands listed by PAC here
http://www.pacweb.org/Documents/Other-Facets/OF35-eng.pdf demonstrated that the diamond industry and trade is such an easy, convenient and, in many ways, rewarding target for the NGOs, that it is simply too good a show to let go.

Indeed, it seems that NGOs may be concerned that without their demands for new episodes of the KP saga, they may lose this particularly good show, its front-row tickets (read: the travel to exclusive and attractive locations of the KP and WDC meetings and seminars), the excitement (read: the participation in the various discussions and panel discussions at locations such as the recent JCK show in Las Vegas) ) and the drinks afterwards (read: the various gala dinner events where NGO reps are invariably invited to and do not miss out on).

Farfetched, ludicrous, even crazy, you say? For sure, few other industries have afforded NGOs an operating theater as convenient as ours. We're a small industry and not really important to the economies of the western world. Our industry's importance to African countries is, apparently, less compelling. On the other hand, we sell a very well known and visible luxury product that has been the subject of love, legend and lore. Come to think of it, there is not much romance to be found in oil, but then oilmen, contrary to diamond men, can wield big guns…political and, probably, real ones, too. The NGOs not only know that, but take care to keep away from those industries that wield big (economic) axes.

So what is the main reason for the NGOs' wish to keep the show running for yet another season, to keep changing the rules of the game and to continue adding new demands to their already long list of requirements as to what it is the KP, the participating governments and by extension the diamond industry and trade need to do to meet the NGOs' approval? The answer is because they can and, contrary to industries that are much more important to the world economy, because we're allowing them to.

Of course, the NGOs have fulfilled a tremendously important role by bringing, now more than a decade ago, the scorch of conflict diamond to the attention of governments, the diamond industry itself and the consumers. In fact, the diamond industry should be eternally grateful to the NGOs for this as it has set the diamond industry apart from those other industries such as the oil, rare metals and precious metals industries where abuse of human rights and the environment continue to create enough human suffering, pollution of the environment -- predominantly in Africa --and to produce enough scandals to fill the pages of a daily newspaper instead of a bi-monthly newsletter…..

But with their stepping through the door, opened with a broad gesture and with an unreserved welcome by the diamond industry and trade, NGOs have consequently begun to do everything they can to perpetuate, complicate and draw out the very process they were invited to help fulfill and resolve. They do this without any regard for the economic impact their actions have throughout the supply pipeline, disregarding the economic impact their demands have had, have and will have on the livelihoods of millions of people. Industry leaders have made this point time and again, only to be scornfully dismissed by the NGOs

This attitude is displayed in PAC's recent newsletter, where its anonymous editor writes that "when compared to initiatives like the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the KP has lost any claim it may have once had to being an innovative and dynamic conflict-prevention scheme. To restore its credibility as a regulatory body, governments participating in the KP need to commit to meaningful reforms that address the scheme’s manifold shortcomings and loopholes."

The writer of these sentences skillfully presents the PAC's demands, cleverly inserting the EITI into the package, and then lists the other issues they want to add to the KP's current brief these are the new episodes of the show – such as:
• the adoption of an independent third-party monitoring system;
• credible sanctions for non-compliance; the updating of the definition of “conflict diamonds” to ensure that the KP works to prevent violence from contaminating the diamond supply chain;
• reforming the KP's decision-making processes; and the widening of the KP mandate to include the cutting and polishing industry.
• In addition, the KP must also adopt a more proactive, risk-based approach to curbing the illicit diamond trade and the loop-holes that allow diamonds to finance conflict.

The Newsletter's intro concludes with a clear threat.
"NGO’s patience is running thin. The longer the KP dithers on embracing these reforms, and the more it whitewashes egregious examples of non-compliance, the more civil society groups will look to other initiatives to achieve its goals of a sustainable, conflict-free diamond supply chain."

So there you have it. On the face of it, the NGOs have the same goals as the industry, i.e. 'a sustainable, conflict-free diamond supply chain." But in practice, they do not accept neither to bear any responsibility for the consequences of their actions, nor for the "other initiatives to achieve its goals." The NGOS demands, as listed above, very much sound like a the doctor who insists on operating on the patient, without any regard for the outcome, the quality of life of the patient, and most importantly, the probability that the patient will most probably die during the procedure.

I am not saying that we should close the door to the NGOs, on the contrary. The whistle blowing role of NGOs had proven too important to do so. But if the NGOs continue to disregard the full consequences of their demands and continue to trivialize the ensuing havoc their actions cause to the supply pipeline at large, from mines to markets, the participants in the KP may need to think again and weigh the pros and cons of including the NGOs in the KP's future deliberations.
[end]
 

denverappraiser

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Garry H (Cut Nut)|1314250331|2998997 said:
But good for the poor people in 3rd world countries.
I’m sorry to hear this for several reasons but I’m not sure it’s going to be good news for workers elsewhere. My understanding is that they are not shutting down the mining, just changing the distribution model and no doubt moving the cutting operations to somewhere less expensive but the same diamonds are being mined and the same diamonds are being sold at the end of the chain. A few Canadian cutting and processing jobs move to India but, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a drop in the bucket.

Lots of people have been watching the Canadian business model , not just the NGO’s. Branding Polar Bears, pretty white women on icebergs, and similar things to stand for environmental stewardship, worker safety et.al. is pure balderdash of course, but the idea of successfully promoting diamonds by promoting those things would be good news for diamond workers EVERYWHERE, not just Canada. It may be back, or maybe someone somewhere else will pick up the baton. ‘Crafted with Pride in Botswana’ has a certain ring to it…. :bigsmile:
 

Karl_K

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Re: For NGOs, the KP Show must go on……

EphraimRamhari|1314467964|3001730 said:
The writer of these sentences skillfully presents the PAC's demands, cleverly inserting the EITI into the package, and then lists the other issues they want to add to the KP's current brief these are the new episodes of the show – such as:
• the adoption of an independent third-party monitoring system; good idea but impossible to do, anyone doing monitoring becomes a part of the system and eventually part of the problem.
• credible sanctions for non-compliance; the updating of the definition of “conflict diamonds” to ensure that the KP works to prevent violence from contaminating the diamond supply chain; good idea
• reforming the KP's decision-making processes; and the widening of the KP mandate to include the cutting and polishing industry. The decision making process is seriously broken, more data would be needed for the rest and exactly what is being proposed
• In addition, the KP must also adopt a more proactive, risk-based approach to curbing the illicit diamond trade and the loop-holes that allow diamonds to finance conflict. sounds like typical government/big companmy gobbleygook, have the NGO's become what they set out to fight? are they buzzword compliant?
I am no expert on NGO's but it seems like the biggest findings have been made by individuals who have risked their lives to get the word out. Then the various groups scramble to claim credit.
 

Karl_K

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Re: For NGOs, the KP Show must go on……

EphraimRamhari|1314467964|3001730 said:
Indeed, it seems that NGOs may be concerned that without their demands for new episodes of the KP saga, they may lose this particularly good show, its front-row tickets (read: the travel to exclusive and attractive locations of the KP and WDC meetings and seminars), the excitement (read: the participation in the various discussions and panel discussions at locations such as the recent JCK show in Las Vegas) ) and the drinks afterwards (read: the various gala dinner events where NGO reps are invariably invited to and do not miss out on).
Any NGO employee who accepts anything from anyone in the industry should be fired on the spot.
See my comment about about observers becoming part of the system.
 

Karl_K

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Re: For NGOs, the KP Show must go on……

EphraimRamhari|1314467964|3001730 said:
I am not saying that we should close the door to the NGOs, on the contrary. The whistle blowing role of NGOs had proven too important to do so. But if the NGOs continue to disregard the full consequences of their demands and continue to trivialize the ensuing havoc their actions cause to the supply pipeline at large, from mines to markets, the participants in the KP may need to think again and weigh the pros and cons of including the NGOs in the KP's future deliberations.
[end]
The biggest problems I see with KP is that too many decisions are made by people with a self interest in the outcome.
That is why in my opinion some very unfortunate decisions were made recently.
KPs agenda should not be to make the suppliers richer it should be to insure a clean supply line.
In my opinion the pocketbooks of the industry are given to much consideration in KP decisions.
In that respect I agree with NGO's but I also think some of them may be part of the problem rather than the solution.
 

Regular Guy

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Re: For NGOs, the KP Show must go on……

Karl_K|1314495649|3002983 said:
EphraimRamhari|1314467964|3001730 said:
Indeed, it seems that NGOs may be concerned that without their demands for new episodes of the KP saga, they may lose this particularly good show, its front-row tickets (read: the travel to exclusive and attractive locations of the KP and WDC meetings and seminars), the excitement (read: the participation in the various discussions and panel discussions at locations such as the recent JCK show in Las Vegas) ) and the drinks afterwards (read: the various gala dinner events where NGO reps are invariably invited to and do not miss out on).
Any NGO employee who accepts anything from anyone in the industry should be fired on the spot.
See my comment about about observers becoming part of the system.


Ephraim, welcome. And, thanks also for your article, pinned at the top of this board.

Karl, good point.

All, I wonder if you all have looked in any measure into the proposed concept from Rapaport, recently referenced in the article pinned at the top of the RT page.

(edited to add): for your ease of reference, I'll post his recent proposal here:

http://www.diamonds.net/news/NewsItem.aspx?ArticleID=36643&ArticleTitle=After+Kimberley…+Now+What?

Two things (at least) about it

1) Rap's idea is to recognize the now:

a) lack of viability of KP to accomplish what its critics are trying to accomplish, and also
b) remaining need to accomplish reforms, similar to what the NGO's are suggesting, and to this end, he IS proposing a
c) new and separate system, that will probably also bear the cache of his name.

2) I wrote a rep for Rap about his idea nearly 2 weeks ago, bringing the thread linked below to their attention:

https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/different-views-on-journalism.148456/

and asked for, or invited any comment. I have not heard back.

Personally, I see no good way forward towards effecting a good process in these matters, apart from exhibiting transparency.

Rap may or may not choose to respond to any concerns about the substance of your concerns, Karl, (or yours, Yoram/Diagem). Frankly, I hope that your logic will be found to be not sound, where you complain:

"• the adoption of an independent third-party monitoring system; good idea but impossible to do, anyone doing monitoring becomes a part of the system and eventually part of the problem."

What is the saying...the enemey of the good is the perfect?

I would like to think that a person and organization like Rapaport's can make a go at establising a respected system that can help to separate out the good from not so good, and associate warrantees with the former.

I presume a premium will be associated with such a process, and if the process is seen to be correctly "value added," and the premium not usurious...I hope this will be a go.

Not intending to thread jack here...I did want to respond, and in the way that seems to make the most sense to, in terms of following the real underlying logic of the issues addressed here.

All the best,

Ira Z.
 

Karl_K

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Re: For NGOs, the KP Show must go on……

Regular Guy|1314497159|3003071 said:
I would like to think that a person and organization like Rapaport's can make a go at establishing a respected system that can help to separate out the good from not so good, and associate warranties with the former.

Ira Z.
Hi Ira I don't think he can on a large scale, the industry doesn't respond very well to being pulled anywhere.
It takes a sledge hammer to the head to move the industry as a whole.
Which is how KP came to be in the first place, there was a very large sledge hammer that was hitting them in the head.

On a smaller scale look at how long it took the industry as whole to adapt to the internet.
There are large parts of the industry that still hasn't and some still fighting it tooth and nail.
 

Karl_K

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denverappraiser|1314473168|3001865 said:
It may be back, or maybe someone somewhere else will pick up the baton. ‘Crafted with Pride in Botswana’ has a certain ring to it…. :bigsmile:
That isn't as hard to do as it used to be ,,,,,,
Find a way to track the rough from the mine to the cutting factory, rdif? bar codes?
Buy out and hire Paul S. to set up and run a large cutting factory to cut them.
Build a BtoB online sales system.
Have Paul sell them through his dealer network, Market them through Jon, Wink and Todd for internet sales with John P. in charge of US sales.
Have John train a group of instructors.
Spend some $$$ on advertising after hiring some marketing experts.
Expand the network as fast as it is possible to train people.
Hire the best sales team in China they can find and have John teach them the Paul/John system for selling diamonds.
Do the same for India.
That would be a nice start right there :}
 

Regular Guy

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Re: For NGOs, the KP Show must go on……

Karl, Ephraim,

A) Regarding the NGOs with respect to KP...is there a specific purpose in singling them out? Are they weighty nay-sayers?

To the extent we value KP, their complaints is only also consistent with that of other nation states, including the US, Canada, Europea Union, and Australia, no? Are the NGO's particularly active & vocal, prompting calling them out as a problem?

What is a problem?

The KP was desiinged to only work on concensus and agreement from all parties. Separate from just NGOS, the nation states listed above have had problems with Zimbabwe's diamonds, and have not agreed to have them certified, because of human rights abuses. And yet...they have been certified.

In this respect, KP...while big, and inclusive, is already broken...at least in some measure. Is it a significant measure? You tell me?!

I also had a conversation with Blue Nile, who uniquely has posted on their web site that they not only don't deal with conflict diamonds, but also, they represent that they exclude Zimbabwe's controversial diamonds. I told them I appreciated that stance, but also, I asked them how they did this. After a short time, same day, the response came back that, not only were those diamods from Zimbabwe identifiable, and not up to the calibre of what the like to sell, also, they "work" with distributors who vouchsafe for the non-inclusion of the Zimbabwe diamonds. And. they said, these distributors knew that if they didn't keep this promise of separating these diamonds out, their relationships would not continue.

What I did not do is follow up with what was my general understanding....that the general process of diamond processing involving a "mixing together," making such a separation of the diamonds from the source a possible impossibility. Again, maybe you experts here can insert yourselves and contemplate how is it possible Blue Nile has a different system than I imagine. It seems to me, it is more likely that it is simply convenient for them to not ask too many questions.

And then...

B) While KP is doing good, let it continue. Yes, Karl, maybe Rap's new program will be small, and maybe not.

If the objective are seen to be good for both, let them both try for best practices.

Is there a reason for not supporting a good outcome for both?

And, Effraim, if you see as you must KPs fragility, why blame the NGOs, since they are not alone?

I find myself again thinking of the Heisenberg principle. Would we ask an agency holding a light on a situation to stop doing so, so that a result can be different?

If KP is this big thing, and is sort of already broken, yes?...than why not try to move this broken thing to a better place. Would it be more stable if left alone to do what it had already been doing? Is there an end game in sight where KP is more stable, NGO's or not?

Without such a clearer picture in place, it is difficult for me to see that the possible vision of a big solution set should be abondoned by those who think its founding purposes can be realized.

Ira Z.
 
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