Rapaport Announces Establishment of Fair Trade Diamond and Jewelry Association

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The Rapaport Group donates $100,000 to establish a fund for education in Sierra Leone and establishes The Fair Trade Diamond and Jewelry Association. The company urges the jewelry industry to see the Blood Diamond movie.

The Rapaport Group is establishing a non-profit fund for the education of the children of artisanal diamond diggers in Sierra Leone. Rapaport will be donating $100,000 to kick off this program. We have asked, and hope, that others will work with us so that we may do something powerfully good for the people of Sierra Leone.

We are also establishing a non-profit organization -- The Fair Trade Diamond and Jewelry Association -- that will work to ensure fair compensation and beneficiation to the poorest members of our industry.

Martin Rapaport, Chairman of the Rapaport Group, Statement Regarding the Blood Diamond Movie

"Every member of the diamond and jewelry industry must see the Blood Diamond movie. It is as strong and violent as Africa. It has the potential to activate us to do good.

The Blood Diamond movie is a clear signal to the diamond industry that we must raise our ethical awareness and moral consciousness. The real issue is not the quality of the movie, its impact on the mindset and subconscious of diamond consumers, or to our diamond sales. It is time for us to wake up and question what kind of people we are. Do we give damn about the diggers in Africa or are we only concerned about ourselves, our sales, and our profits?

The real issue is not us. It is the diggers of Africa and the people of Sierra Leone. The war is over, but the extreme poverty and suffering continues. We must ask ourselves - is there anything we can do to help these people?

We must help. Not because we are guilty of anything. And not because opportunist NGO's generate publicity. The reason we must relate to the people of Sierra Leone is because we in the diamond and jewelry industry are decent human beings. Because the diggers in Sierra Leone are as much a part of our industry as we are. Because the diamond dream that we all sell does not only belong to our customers and us.

The diamond dream also belongs to the people of Africa.

We must wake up to the fact that the poorest people of Africa, the artisanal diggers, are a part of our diamond family -- and that we must share our wealth with them. We must learn to care about others because it is the right thing to do." For additional iInformation about Sierra Leone see the video at Diamonds.Net

Rapaport International Diamond Conference 2007

Save this date: February 5, 2007, the one-day annual Rapaport International Diamond Conference will be held at the New York Hilton in New York City. Conference topics include: "Social Responsibility -- How good are we?" and "Diamond Distribution -- Where are we heading?" Topics will hit upon Africa's role in the diamond pipeline; defining the ethical consumer; the role of NGOs; marketing and branding; and the commoditization of diamonds and more.

Attendance is limited to 500, and the conference will sell out. Conference fee is $495 and all proceeds are donated to charity.


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Sherri Hendricks
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