Conflict Diamonds and The Kimberly Process
The Kimberly Process for Rough Diamonds
To ensure rough diamonds that are being traded are conflict free and accountable for sale an accredited Kimberley certificate must be transported with each individual diamond. As the blood diamond problem only extends to the transportation and sale of rough diamonds the Kimberly certificates do not often extend through to the loose polished diamond market. However there are a few companies that provide a certificate of origin for each diamond that come out of their mine. The main suppliers of these diamonds are the Rio Tinto Murowa Canadian Mark diamonds, BHP Ekati Canadian Mark diamonds and the Rio Tinto Australian Argyle branded diamonds. There are a few others but most of the responsibility is laid on the diamond cutting manufacturers who purchase the loose diamonds and almost every manufacturer of polished diamonds advertises that they abide by the Kimberley process and are committed to selling only conflict free diamonds. This process has been in place since the practice was identified and will remain in place with all abiding nations to ensure that this problem will never exist again.
How to Avoid Buying a Conflict Diamond
Any new market diamond is backed by the cutting manufacturer to be purchased from legitimate sources and is 100% conflict free. However if you have a very strong ethical concern about buying a diamond and wish to know that the diamond has a 100% guarantee that it has not come from a country where there has been political unrest or where labour standards are not to 1st world standards there are a few options. To completely avoid buying a conflict diamond that has its own individual trackable history back to the origin of the mine where it came from there are a few companies that will provide this extra security. Both the Australian Argyle diamond mine and the BHP Canadian diamond mines produce a small number of diamonds that they keep to market as country of origin certified diamonds. Purchasing the Canadian Mark and Australian Argyle origin certified diamonds are how you can avoid buying a conflict diamond. These are the most common certificates that are very reliable and are available to purchase in selected qualities.
Video: The 4 C's And The GIA Grading System
The 4 C's
The Gemological Institute of America created the first globally accepted grading system for describing diamonds. This is called the 4c's grading system. They are; Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat weight.
Colour: When it comes to grading colourless diamonds it is based on the lack of colour a diamond has. It ranges from D to Z. Diamond graders use a master stone set under controlled lighting and precise conditions to compare the lack of colour and come to an agreement of colour value.
Clarity: Is the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Inclusions are internal characteristics and blemishes are external. There are many different factors when it comes to grading clarity. The amount, the size, relief and nature. It is important to keep in mind that no diamond is perfectly pure. And some say the inclusions and blemishes are like its own type of fingerprint. It is also one of the main factors when it comes to telling them apart from lab grown diamonds. Grades range from FL - Flawless to I3 - Included.
Cut: This isn't just the shape of the diamond but how the facets interact with light. If a diamond is cut too shallow or too deep then the light will not return to the top of the diamond to create the scintillation, fire and brilliance that you would expect to see. There are 3 different factors of cut grade. These are Cut, Polish and Symmetry.
Carat Weight: This refers to the size of the diamond. 1 carat weighs 200 milligrams. And each carat is divided into 100 points. This allows precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. For example: a diamond that weighs 0.50ct is also a 50 pointer. And a 2.05 carat stone would be said as a 'two point oh five carat' diamond.
The Argyle Diamond Grading system is split into different colour hues with the most intense hue mentioned last. These are Purplish Red, Red, Purplish Pink, Pink, Pink Rose', Pink Champagne and Blue Violet. When it comes to grading them, there are 3 very important factors. The hue, which is the most dominant colour of the diamond; Tone, which is the the amount of lightness or darkness in the diamond; and Saturation, is the strength of the hue.
When it comes the 4c's of fancy coloured diamonds, the colour outweighs the cut, clarity and carat weight. This means that the more intense the colour, the more prized.
Argyle Pink diamonds are becoming more rare over time with the amount of diamonds being mined becoming less and less. You use to only get an Argyle certificate for diamonds over 0.15ct. Now it has dropped to 0.08ct and above.
The Argyle mine has now closed. Although diamonds are still present, extraction costs have risen as the mine has become deeper. This has made the site become unviable. To date Argyle diamonds have not dropped in value and it is anticipated that the value of these diamonds will skyrocket as supply falls and now more than ever because it has now stopped production.
If you would like to get your hands on one of these beautiful rare Australian diamonds please don't hesitate to call or email me and ill be happy to help.