Blood diamonds, synthetics, and ethical supply: the diamond industry fights its corner – by Jon Yeomans (The Telegraph – November 18, 2016)

Diamonds continue to hold their lustre: after a tough year that saw prices and demand fall, the market is showing signs of life in 2016. But the sector, which straddles both mining and high-end retail, is still under pressure, with consumers growing increasingly interested in provenance, while synthetic diamonds are looking to grow their appeal.

The Kimberley Process this week closed its annual plenary session in Dubai, hailing “progress” in the industry to meet the challenges in the supply chain. The KP is the body charged with ensuring that so-called “blood diamonds” from conflict zones do not fall into the hands of consumers. But the process, which includes governments, NGOs and industry, has faced repeated criticism for not going far enough in upholding ethical supply.

Andrey Polyakov, president of the World Diamond Council (WDC) and a vice president of Russian diamond giant Alrosa, spoke after the event to defend the KP and illustrate its progress – including its efforts to bring Central African Republic, a potentially large source of rough diamonds, back into the international fold.

The main goal of the Kimberley Process remains unchanged – to protect the market from conflict diamonds. One of the main topics for discussion at this plenary was valuation of diamonds. Clear assessment procedures [of valuations] are the basis for our market transparency.

This is especially important for the African countries with small-scale artisanal mining. Lack of market trading experience and qualified specialists does not allow these countries to assess potential revenues from diamond mining.

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