"The people back home wouldn't buy a ring if they knew it cost someone else their hand," remarks Jennifer Connelly's character in Blood Diamond.
The 2006 film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou, notably highlights the dirty, bloody business behind the trade in diamonds and a response to the violence: The Kimberley Process. On Monday, revered international watchdog group Global Witness announced that it was abandoning the Kimberley Process, rendering it, "increasingly outdated."
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Kimberley Process, the international certification scheme was introduced by the UN General Assembly and established in 2003, with the mission to stop the trade in blood diamonds. However, the fatally-flawed scheme has failed to address and tackle key issues, allowing the murky distinction between conflict-free diamonds and those traded through violent means to linger this past decade.
"Nearly nine years after the Kimberley Process was launched, the sad truth is that most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes" said Charmian Gooch, a Founding Director of Global Witness.
There are exceptions to the bloody business of diamonds. The world's predominant manufacturer of the gem, De Beers, took the more ethical route to redemption nearly a decade ago, by opting to only sell stones distributed through its "sealed pipeline."
According to TIME, "That decision, De Beers said, was made out of the realization that a diamond is valued almost entirely on the back of its emotional associations - love, marriage - something a blood diamond, with its associations of war and suffering, could shatter."
Interestingly enough, the 2006 holiday season saw heightened consumer concern over conflict diamonds, especially after the release of Blood Diamond.
Global Witness's rejection of the Kimberley Project highlights the problems surrounding the diamond industry. Gooch says, "[They] must finally take responsibility for its supply chains and prove that the stones it sells are clean." Taking it one step futher, perhaps this holiday season, consumers should reconsider if the words "death" and "diamonds" belong in the same sentence.