Christmas Diamond Buyers Should Give Something Back To Africa, Say Small Diamond Retailers

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Small diamond retailers are sending out an unexpected Christmas message to shoppers: the diamond industry continues to cause great human suffering - and it's up to retailers and consumers to make the reforms that the industry giants still steadfastly refuse to do.

Small diamond retailers are sending out an unexpected Christmas message to shoppers: the diamond industry continues to cause great human suffering - and it's up to retailers and consumers to make the reforms that the industry giants still steadfastly refuse to do.

The Kimberly Process, for example, much-touted by the World Diamond Council and De Beers as a way of ensuring that African Diamonds are 'tracked from source to retail', is described by diamond retailer Jay Seiler of Security Diamonds Ltd, a Minnesota Retailer in conflict-free Canadian diamonds, as 'just so much mumbo jumbo'.

"A number of mid-level diamond retailers have contacted us recently expressing exasperation with the upper echelons of the industry", reports Rupert Isaacson, founder and director of the Diamonds for Africa Fund (DFA). "They feel that there is no heartfelt desire to end the very real sufferings still associated with the diamond trade in Africa, such as near slave conditions for diamond diggers in Sierra Leone and Congo and the torture of San Bushmen in Botswana."

In an unprecedented move, American diamond retailers are calling for the formation of an Ethical Diamond Coalition of mid-level retailers - an attempt, says Jay Seiler - 'to give something back' to Africa, and 'try to do what the industry giants seem unwilling to do."

'We are in dialogue with several other retailers also concerned by the continued scale of the suffering," says Eric Grossberg of Brilliant Earth, which - like Security Diamonds, sources its diamonds from Canada, yet still donates a portion of its profits to help end diamond-related suffering in Africa. "We are calling on all diamond retailers to come together and create the Ethical Diamond Coalition - something the industry has need for a long, long time."

"It's sad," adds Beth Gerstein, also of Brilliant Earth, "that the obvious on-the-ground needs such as healthcare, fair wages, schools and reparations for people displaced by the diamond trade are not being provided by the giants of the diamond industry, who can so easily afford it. It's going to be up to the smaller companies and consumers to try and put things right."

Isaacson, of DFA, concurs. If you buy a Christmas diamond then please: "Give something back. Send a portion of the value of your stones help people in Sierra Leone, Congo and Botswana. If you already own diamonds, donate a stone, or the value of a stone, to help people suffering in Africa. If you trade in diamonds, join the Ethical Diamond Coalition and give a percentage of your profits to help people on the ground."

For more information contact Rupert Isaacson at 512 294 1561

Diamonds for Africa Fund (DFA) works with on the ground NGOs in Sierra Leone , Congo and Botswana to assist communities damaged by the diamond trade. DFA is a non-profit under the fiscal sponsorship of the International Humanities Center. DFA is a volunteer-run organization: no salaries, no overhead. http://www.diamondsforafricafund.org

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