(New York, NY) – September 5, 2006 – As part of its recently announced campaign to educate both consumers and the trade about important diamond-related issues, the diamond industry announced today the launch of a new informational web site, www.diamondfacts.org, along with a major advertising effort that includes full-page print ads in ten major U.S. and international newspapers including The New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, The Times (UK), International Herald Tribune and Financial Times that will begin running tomorrow.
Diamondfacts.org offers a wealth of information about diamonds: from facts about the history of the trade and the social and economic benefits diamonds provide nations around the world, to reporting on how the industry is grappling with various challenges including conflict diamonds.
“The primary goal of Diamondfacts.org is to offer people a wealth of factual, balanced information about diamonds,” said Eli Izhakoff, Chairman of the World Diamond Council, which is leading the education campaign. “We want people to feel good about their diamond purchases, so we attempted to help eliminate some of the myths and misperceptions about the industry. We tapped countless academics, industry organizations, and other experts to ensure that the information we publish on the site is accurate and offers many perspectives and points of view.”
At the new web site, visitors can understand how diamonds are making a difference globally. From the countries where they are mined to the countries where they are sold and polished, diamonds create jobs and opportunities that support millions of people around the world. The web site also highlights the significant role diamonds are playing, particularly in southern Africa in contributing significantly to supporting healthcare, education and other infrastructure needs. Specifically, they are helping tackle the HIV/AIDS pandemic, helping fund necessary counseling, testing, education, treatment programs, clinics and hospices, along with homes and care for orphans. In addition, the website features personal stories from people whose lives have been changed due to diamonds.
Diamondfacts.org also offers information about the progress the industry has made in virtually eliminating the trade in conflict diamonds. Questions were first raised about the impact of diamonds in the late 1990s, when the world became aware that a number of rebel movements in Africa were smuggling and selling illegally obtained stones to fund conflicts against legitimate governments. At the beginning of this decade, the trade in these conflict diamonds represented approximately 4% of the world’s rough diamond output. Since then, the trade in conflict diamonds has been significantly reduced to less than 1% of the world’s rough diamond supply.
In large part, this progress has been the result of a joint effort by the diamond industry, the United Nations, more than 45 individual governments, and several NGOs to develop a method of verification that would stop the sale of conflict diamonds and the atrocities and violence they supported. Known as the Kimberley Process, this system was endorsed by the UN in January 2003 and currently includes nearly 70 countries representing 99.8% of current world diamond production.
Diamondfacts.org contains detailed explanations of how retailers and the jewelry trade can guarantee that the diamonds they sell are conflict-free and how consumers can buy diamonds with confidence. Visitors to the site can walk step-by-step through the Kimberley Process and System of Warranties; read what various experts have to say about conflict diamonds; and also keep abreast of the latest relevant news.
A trade pack of materials were launched earlier this year, as part of the industry’s educational initiative to raise awareness of the positive impact the diamond industry has on Africa, as well as its progress in virtually eliminating the trade in conflict diamonds. Along with the World Diamond Council, this industry-wide campaign includes the American Gem Society, Diamond Dealers Club, Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America, Jewelers of America, Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Jewelry Information Center and the Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America. “
About World Diamond Council
Amid growing concern over human rights violations and atrocities committed against innocent victims in diamond producing countries of war-torn central and western Africa, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association passed a resolution at their Antwerp meeting in July 2000, creating the World Diamond Council.
The resolution called for the newly formed WDC to include representation from the diamond industry itself and also from among countries where diamonds play a major economic role and from the international banking sector. The ultimate mandate for the World Diamond Council is the development, implementation and oversight of a tracking system for the export and import of rough diamonds to prevent the exploitation of diamonds for illicit purposes such as war and inhumane acts.
The World Diamond Council represents over 50 industry organizations – from mining companies and trade associations to manufacturers and retailers – worldwide. Member organizations include: ABN Amro Bank International Division; Alrosa Company; American Gem Society; Antwerpse Diamantbank; Ascorp; Association of Diamond Manufacturers of Russia; Belgian Federation of Diamond Bourses; BHP Diamonds & Industrial Metals; Canadian Diamond Consultants Inc.; Cartier; Centre for Expertise, Valuation and Certification (Democratic Republic of Congo); CIBJO; Codiam; Damas; De Beers; De Beers LV; Debswana Diamond Co.; Diamond Chamber of Russia; Diamond Dealers Club New York; Diamond Federation of Hong Kong; Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association; Diamond Trading Company; Dubai Multi Commodities Centre; EGL USA; Eurostar Diamonds Ltd.; Gem and Jewelry Export and Promotion; Harry Winston, Inc.; International Diamond Manufacturers Association; International Gemological Institute; Israel Diamond Exchange; Israel Diamond Institute; Israel Diamond Manufacturers Association; Jewelers of America; Jewelers Vigilance Committee; Leviev Group of Companies; London Diamond Bourse; Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America; Ministry of Mines (Namibia); Namdeb Diamond Corporation; Rapaport Corporation; Rio Tinto Diamonds; Rosy Blue; Shanghai Diamond Exchange Co. Ltd.; South African Diamond Board; Signet Group PLC; Tacy Diamond Consultants; The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre; Tiffany & Co.; Union Bank of Israel; United Association of South Africa; World Federation of Diamond Bourses; Zale Corporation.