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In recent years, there has been much in the news about "conflict diamonds", diamonds used by revolutionary factions in a number of African countries, particularly Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The main thrust of the media attention has been the attempts by the United Nations to curb the use of wealth from control of diamond mining areas by terrorist and anti-government groups. The world has been presented with dramatic images of savage mutilations carried out by rebel forces. Diamonds play several roles in these areas.
Cause or Motive
In most of these areas, the possession of wealth and power by individuals and groups is a prime factor motivating the rebels. Other forms of mineral wealth, including gold mining, are also motivating factors, although capital intensive mining tends to need greater organisation which can best be achieved in politically stable conditions. Low capital, labour intensive mining tends to be able to flourish in less stable conditions, and indeed may help to encourage less stable conditions, particularly in areas with large numbers of poor individuals, where mafia-type control is possible by gangster-style local warlords.
Means or Medium
Because diamonds are a highly concentrated, and extremely portable form of wealth, they can easily be smuggled, and used in money laundering activities, and to finance the purchase of arms. We have no personal experience or knowledge of this, but this aspect is heavily pushed by those arguing for international community action to control conflict diamond activities. By this, we mean that the UN, and other anti-conflict diamond parties use the arms, drugs and crime connections, or allegations of them, as propaganda to influence pubic opinion against the illicit diamond trading from wartorn areas. We do not know how much of this propaganda is factually based and how much is "spin".
In our opinion, political correctness has now become both an industry and a fashion movement. Fashions are caused when mindless followers, usually pleasant liberals, herd together like sheep to bleet about whatever their leaders have implanted into their emotions. Political correctness is b*ll*cks in our opinion, or at least the opinion of our chairperson (or should that be chair?). While we agree with the UN and its efforts to control the conflict diamond business, and stop it from causing or financing insurrection, lawlessness, and savage butchery, we feel that many will condemn conflict diamonds without thinking of the power struggles which went before them. Why did the United Kingdom fight for control of South Africa? Was Cecil Rhodes a businessman, a statesman, or a ruthless dictator? How legitimate are the recognised governments in many of the African states? We don't pretend to know the answers to all these questions. the reason we mention them is to bring to your attention the fact that most causes are not as simple as they may at first appear.
De Beers appears to support the UN aims to discourage the trade in conflict diamonds. This is admirable, but of course De Beers has considerable influence and control over a large proportion of the world's diamond supplies. Conflict diamond trade acts outside De Beers sphere of influence, and acts in competition with it, so it must be an easy decision for De Beers to oppose conflict diamonds. Having said this, it is well know that De Beers operate diamond buying offices or operations in many countries, and many of these markets must be supplied with diamonds smuggled from war zones. How much De Beers know or care about this is a matter for conjecture. We must stress that we have no personal experience in these matters, we are simply combining our knowledge of human behaviour, market forces and logic to imagine the possibilities and probabilities.
More about Conflict Diamonds
It is worth visiting the UN website for information about conflict diamonds, and there are many other website with facts, images, and opinions about conflict diamonds. It is beyond the aims of our website to delve deeply into political and humanitarian issues, so we leave you to explore for yourself.
On a lighter note, one form of conflict which has always surrounded diamonds, is domestic conflict. Most women would love to own a 10 carat flawless diamond instead of their 10 pointer Argos ring, and would like their husbands fiancees or boyfriends to make the purchase, most men would prefer to buy themselves a new Mercedes or set of golf clubs. Their is a conflict of interest in most human relationships. There can also be conflict if the lady's friends get bigger or better rocks. If we can give a word of advice to men in general, most women would love to to spend as much on a diamond for her, than you would on a car for yourself. They tend to see it as an expression of love and esteem.
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Or if you would like to know how quality affects price, please take a look at our price example pages:-
Price v. Quality of a 1 Carat Diamond or
Price v. Quality of a Half Carat Diamond
Diamond Glossary - An A to Z of Diamonds
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