Conflict diamonds are diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the United Nations Security Council.

Conflict diamonds came to the attention of the world’s media in the late 1990s during the extremely brutal conflict in Sierra Leone. Conflicts have occurred in some of the poorest parts of Africa for many decades. In recent times these conflicts have often focused on rebels controlling their country’s natural resources, for example oil, wood, minerals and diamonds. Often rebels will trade these assets for arms and influence. Some rebel groups sold diamonds to generate funds for buying their arms – these diamonds are known as conflict diamonds.

In 2000 the industry recognized the need for a process to be put in place that ensured diamonds were not used to fund rebel activity and alongside governments and NGOs helped create the Kimberley Process. By 2002, 52 governments had ratified and adopted the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. Today 81 governments, plus NGOs and the diamond industry are all committed and legally bound to the UN mandated process.

The Kimberley Process is a certification system that prevents conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate diamond supply chain. The Kimberley Process ensures that only rough diamonds accompanied by a government-issued certificate can be imported and exported, providing an assurance that the diamonds are from sources free from conflict. Under this, United Nations backed, system, only the member countries that are part of the Kimberley Process can import or export rough diamonds. Anyone who trades in rough diamonds without a Kimberley Process certificate in these countries is breaking the law.

Today, significantly more than 99% of global diamond production is covered by the Kimberley Process. This means that more than 99% of rough diamonds have been certified to be from conflict free sources. To learn more visit Conflict Diamonds: Eliminating Conflict Diamonds.

It is a minimum requirement of participation in the Kimberley Process that countries enact legislation enforcing the Kimberley Process. Today 81 governments (as of 2017) have passed such national laws which prohibit the trade in conflict diamonds. Penalties differ from country to country, but anyone in these countries trading in rough diamonds that are not covered by a Kimberley Process certificate is committing a criminal act.


To find out if your country is part of the Kimberley Process and for a full up to date list of Kimberley Process participant countries, please click here (link to KP participant interactive map).

There are currently two countries that have sanctions or restrictions related to the KPCS.  These are the Central African Republic (CAR) and Venezuela.  Each country is under a specific monitoring or review process.
There have been several instances where countries have returned to KPCS compliance and KP membership.  These include the Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Brazil (self-suspension), Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sierra Leone.

Diamonds on their own cannot bring peace and democracy. But diamonds can provide a vital source of income that enables a country emerging from conflict to fund reconstruction and to build the institutions and infrastructure that can help maintain the peace.

If you are concerned about where your diamond has come from you can:

* Use this website to learn more about conflict diamonds and the measures in place that protect the legitimate trade in diamonds (www.diamondfacts.org)

* Buy from a reputable jeweler

* Ask your retailer for a reassurance that the diamond you are purchasing is from conflict free sources. To learn more visit Buy With Confidence