Thoughts From the President of GIA

Thoughts from the President

London Meeting of World Diamond Council Unveils Legislative Proposals

William E. Boyajian, President, Gemological Institute of America

In my last [GIA] Insider message, I briefed you on events surrounding a recent White House Conference which explored current scientific technologies that might be used to identify the country of origin of diamonds. This Conference confirmed what GIA’s technical experts have stated for some time: that no scientific means exists today to identify a diamond’s origin. Thus, we believe that a multilateral certification protocol to control the export and import of rough diamonds would be the most practical and effective method to prevent the potential flow of conflict diamond rough through the industry pipeline.

Last week, the World Diamond Council (WDC) met in London to further the process of forging an international coalition in the fight against conflict diamonds. Most importantly, the WDC unveiled proposed legislation to (1) ban the importation of conflict diamonds into the United States, and (2) create an international system to eliminate trade in conflict diamonds worldwide. Specific provisions of the proposed legislation are based on principles already approved by the United Nations and by interested parties in key countries where diamonds are mined, processed, or imported. An important goal is to avoid harming the economies of African countries that depend on diamond exports and that are already properly regulated. The proposed measure also envisions the negotiation of an international agreement under which all countries with significant involvement in the diamond trade would make specific commitments to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the supply chain.

At each stage of the process over these many months, I have been extremely impressed with the cooperation and coordination of industry leaders, human rights groups, and government officials. At the London meetings WDC members were unwavering in their determination to stem the flow of conflict diamonds that threaten the international integrity of our industry. The stakes have never been higher. And the commitment of all parties – including GIA – has never been greater.

Reprinted with permission from the Gemological Institute of America. Copyright 2000 GIA. This article was originally published in the GIA Insider, January 26, 2001, Vol 3, Issue 2. The GIA Insider can be found at