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There are really only two possible solutions to the problem. First, and this is not really much of a solution at all, is to let them chop each other up until the last man is standing.
Second would be to send in the only men who are competent and incorruptible enough to do the job properly, the British SAS and their Parachute Regiment, the French Foreign Legion and their Régiments Etranger Parachutés, and the U.S. Special Forces and our Delta Force. Neo-colonialism? You betcha, and 99 percent of the people of the embattled Africa would kiss your feet for it.
But ban blood or any other diamonds? First of all, such a plan would not succeed. Diamonds are like fine art. They are non-fungible and by definition are not controllable. And even in the unlikely event that such an anti-diamond scheme did have a measure of success, the only people it would hurt would be the already dirtpoor, hard working, artisan/digger poor devils digging away in the third world, certainly not diamond dealers who have stocks like Uncle Scrooge had a swimming pool overflowing with golden spondulics.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. [The prepared statement follows:] Statement of J.F. "Jack” Jolis, President, Rough Diamond Consultancy,
DIAMONDS: AND AFRICAN CONFLICTS I am an American diamond dealer/consultant and have worked for thirty years in every part of the globe where diamonds are mined, bought, sold and cut. Having for the past year or so read and heard so much about how the relatively small diamond business is responsible for "funding” the maniacal carnage we witness pretty much throughout Africa, I feel compelled to reply.
Let's take a look at Africa and its suddenly infamous diamond producing countries:
Sierra Leone: Even if not a single diamond existed there, not a man, woman or child would escape being amputated or beheaded by a rusty machete.
Let us not waste valuable time talking about “peace-keeping” or “mercenary” forces in Sierra. “Peacekeepers”? They consist mostly of Nigerian gangsters, assisted by some Guinean gangsters, who are not only better armed, but even more intent on killing anyone who gets in their way of putting their hands on the diamonds.” And in Sierra, there is a lovely bunch of drugged-up thugs called the KAMAJORS, who, while professing to support the current government find themselves fighting their allies, enemies, even themselves—not for diamonds, but because they're drugged and all they know what to do is fight. You think they would know how to sell an uncut diamond?
Do diamonds pay for this mayhem? I doubt it, not when you are offered, as I was recently in Kinshasa, a fully-loaded AK-47 for $10. To top it all , the Leonian government hires a bunch of quaintly named South African mercenaries called “Executive Outcomes” who are not only paid by the 'government with diamonds, but are even given diamond “fields” to exploit. And this by a government, supported by the UN, that is bleating about their “rebellion” being financed by diamonds.
Angola. Sure, for the time being most of the "diamond fields” lie in UNITA hands, but these areas change hands according to the fortunes of war. In ANY case, the MPLA ALSO have diamond fields of their own and, I happen to know at first hand of many of the MPLA's "generals” who sell THEIR diamonds to UNITA. The MPLA have infinitely more money from oil to buy weapons than UNITA has diamonds. Not to mention the fact that the UNITA diamonds which are mostly on the western bank of the Cuango River are, IN NO WAY distinguishable from the same diamonds found on the Congo side of the river. So?
There is a lot of uninformed talk of some sort of “invisible infra-red internal marking” scheme for polished stones, which, even were it possible, which it isn't, would immediately wipe out the entire category of “D-Flawless” polished stones. And then there is a theory about “branding" rough diamonds. Eh? First of all, "branding” a rough diamond makes about as much sense as branding a cow and then determining where the resulting steak came from. And, as for the notion of "branding" a cut diamond along its border (with, say, something like “DeBeers 2001 X)“, any half-clever diamond cutter could do the same, using the same number he might have come across a similar-sized DeBeers stone.
So there is a lot of uninformed chatter about “identifying the provenance of diamonds," whether cut or un-cut. No can do. Certainly not in any court of law-any "expert” will be countered by an opposing "expert.”
Which brings me back to what is currently known as the D.R. Congo, a country with at least 3 different areas producing distinctly different diamonds. Some “rebel.” Some “government.” Mix them together into a single parcel, and the job of determining which are the “clean” stones becomes even more impossible Angola stones? Take some from UNITA-held zones, mix them with stones from the MPLA, add some stones from Ivory Coast, and some others from Guinea and the Central African Republic, and you've got what? A big load of nothing that is remotely identifiable by anyone reputable.
If diamonds were the proximate cause of African tribal butchery, how can one explain the Congolese civil war of 1960? Pro-Western Moise Tschombe tried to establish independence for his copper-rich (and diamond-rich) province today known as Kolwezi. He was foiled by the UN-sponsored Kasavubu, who in turn was overthrown by the equally UN-sponsored Mobutu, whose people killed the communist Lumumba-but the point of all this ancient history is that at the time nobody even uttered the word "diamond”-it was all COPPER!
And do you remember the civil war in Nigeria, between the breakaway Biafra and the then-"Federal” Government? What did diamonds have to do with that butchery? Right. Exactly nothing.
Or the 5 civil wars in the Tchad? Over diamonds. Sorry. Nary a one.
Or, even the 40+-year civil war in the Sudan. Over diamonds? The only diamond you might find in the Sudan would be lodged between the Mahdi's cadaver's 2 front teeth.
And the unspeakable mangle-shambles that used to be Somalia. Any diamonds involved in that particular charnel house? I don't think so.
And finally, in the worst killing fields since Cambodia is the incredibly barbaric HutuTutsi mutual genocide in any way financed by diamonds? Of the "blood” kind or any other? No.
That Africa is in a dreadful and perhaps even terminal mess is undeniable. But to fob off this horrible internecine catastrophe on the fact that diamonds—along with a heck of a lot of other stuff—abound there is to utterly lose any claim to a perspective on the problem. As I said earlier, you could take away every diamond that exists under the soil there and not a single human being who is currently being killed tortured or maimed would be spared.
(An interesting case in point is the Central African Republic, where the two major tribes, the Bayas and the Bandas, have been at each others' throats since time immemorial. And yet diamonds are found in profusion in BOTH these tribes' areas. They are manifestly not killing each other for diamonds.)
There are really only two possible solutions to the problem:
First, and this is not really much of a solution at all, is to let them chop each other up until The Last Man Is Standing.
Second would be to send in the only men who are competent and incorruptible enough to do the Job properly: The British SAS and their Parachute Regiment; The French Foreign Legion and their Regiments Etranger Parachutes, and the US Special Forces and our Delta Force. Neo-colonialism? You betcha. And 99 percent of the people of embattled Africa would kiss your feet for it.
But ban "blood”—or any other-diamonds? First of all, such a plan would not succeed . Diamonds, like fine art, are non-fungible, and by definition, are not "controllable." And, even in the unlikely event that such an anti-diamond scheme DID have a measure of success, the only people it would hurt would be the already dirt-poor hard-working artisan/digger poor devils, digging away in the Third World-certainly not diamond dealers who have stocks like Unca Scrooge had a swimming pool overflowing with golden spondulics.
Chairman CRANE. Thank you, Mr. Jolis.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM E. BOYAJIAN, PRESIDENT,
GEMOLOGICAL INSTITUTE OF AMERICA, CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA, ON BEHALF OF WORLD DIAMOND COUNCIL
Mr. BOYAJIAN. Mr. Chairman, I am Bill Boyajian, President of the Gemological Institute of America, GIA. GIA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation. As a nonprofit education and research institution, we ensure the public trust in diamonds and gemstones by educating and serving the gem and jewelry industry worldwide. GIA is headquartered on a sprawling 18-acre campus in Carlsbad, California, and has a significant office and laboratory in New York City. We employ some 700 professionals and have campus facilities in eight countries on three continents.
Everyone concerned believes that it is in the long-term best interest of the trade and the public that the exploitation of diamond resources to fuel war and conflict in African countries be halted immediately. Over the past year, the Gemological Institute of America has been asked to research, review, and comment on the feasibility of identification of country of origin of rough and polished gem diamonds. I will speak very briefly today on GIA's view of those possibilities and limitations as they currently exist.
From the outset, let me state that based upon all of our current knowledge and that which we have been able to glean from the literature and other noted experts, there is no known scientific and practical means for determining the country of origin of rough and polished gem diamonds. And while some have suggested that visual means alone will distinguish rough diamond origin, we would view this as highly problematic and overly subjective, at best.
We believe that if steps must be taken now to curtail the flow of so-called conflict diamonds into the trade, and we believe this to be so, such steps must entail the tracking of diamonds in the rough, from mine through manufacturer, in order to assure the retail community and ultimately the consumer that diamonds entering the marketplace are conflict-free. To succeed, such a tracking system will require the increased cooperation of all organizations in the diamond industry and all governments of countries involved in the mining, exportation, importation, manufacturing, and/or distribution of rough gem diamonds.
Of the 100-plus millions of carats of diamonds mined annually, only a few percent actually originate in countries of known civil conflict. In this regard, it should be understood that country of origin means the country where diamonds are mined or extracted and not necessarily the places where they were deposited in the earth's crust. Diamonds originally emplaced in several primary deposits in one or more countries could be weathered out of their original host rock, transported by rivers, and become concentrated in a secondary deposit in another country. I might add that many of the diamond deposits in the countries of conflict in Africa are those of secondary deposits. That is, they have been carried there through the transport of rivers and weathered from their original host.
If identifying characteristics existed for the diamonds from a particular primary deposit, these features may or may not be retained during the weathering and transport of the diamonds. Moreover, from a single secondary deposit in a conflict country, one could potentially find diamonds with characteristics distinctive of several primary deposits in one or more countries. Therefore, these characteristics would provide no information on where the diamonds were mined but only where they were first brought to the surface, possibly in a neighboring non-conflict country that depends on diamond exports to maintain economic and social stability.
Even if a high proportion of rough diamonds from a particular geographic area does not have some distinctive physical characteristics, many such characteristics are lost during the manufacturing process. This means that even fewer characteristics exist for determining the geographic source of polished diamonds.
Analogous to studying the country of origin of diamonds is that of the country of origin of various colored stones-ruby, sapphire, emerald in particular. Because GIA has long felt that the best research data and expertise has not resulted in a standard of consistency and scientific backing acceptable to our institution, we have never entered the arena of providing origin reports on colored gemstones and continue to hold this fundamental view.
Likewise, except and until the advent of so-called conflict diamonds, GIÁ as a world authority on polished diamonds has never seriously been asked or even contemplated the prospects of attempting to determine the country of origin of rough diamonds.
In summary, based upon current knowledge, there is no known scientific way to determine the country of origin of rough or polished gem diamonds, nor do we foresee practical ways being developed in the near future. Likewise, we would be highly suspect of those who might characterize visual observation alone as a means of rough diamond identification. Such claims, in our view, are fraught with danger.
Therefore, a chain of warranties or a system of certification to track diamonds from their country of origin through the manufacturing process and ultimately to the retailer and the consumer would provide a better alternative at this time to the goal of preventing the sale of conflict diamonds. As a nonprofit public benefit institution, GIA is committed to assisting the trade, governments, and non-governmental organizations in whatever way possible to curtail the mining and flow of conflict diamonds.
Chairman Crane, as President of the Gemological Institute of America, I have also been asked to serve on the World Diamond Council and have been asked to chair the technical committee of that council and our goal would be to implement the Antwerp resolution as it was currently passed. Thank you. [The prepared statement follows:] Statement of William E. Boyajian, President, Gemological Institute of America, Carlsbad, California, on behalf of World Diamond Council
INTRODUCTION Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I am William E. Boyajian, President of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Founded in 1931, GIA is the largest educational and research institution in the world, with some 700 employees on campuses in eight countries on three continents. Incorporated as a 501(c) 3 public benefit corporation, GIA's mission is to educate and serve the gem and jewelry industry, creating standards of professionalism to benefit the trade and, therefore, uphold the public trust in diamonds and other gemstones. We educate some 15,000 people each year in gemological training programs and conduct state-of-theart gemological research to ensure the integrity of gems. Our Gem Trade Laboratory grades most of the major polished diamonds that are bought and sold around the world each year, estimated at a value of some $3 billion at the wholesale level. We also design and manufacture fine gemological testing equipment to assist jewelers in identifying and grading diamonds and other gemstones.
Over the past 18 months, interest has been expressed by certain governmental and non-governmental organizations in establishing a mechanism to determine the "country of origin" of gem diamonds. These organizations suggest that if such a determination could be made, the diamonds being mined in particular conflict countries could be identified and banned from international commerce. This action would deprive the combatants involved of an important source of revenue for their activities.
Of the hundred-plus millions of carats of diamonds produced annually, only a few percent originate in conflict countries. Despite this fact, public pressure is being placed on the jewelry trade to quickly develop a mechanism to segregate those diamonds that are illicit. GIA has therefore been asked to research, review and comment on the feasibility of identification of country of origin of rough and polished gem diamonds. This report sets forth the position of GIA as to whether the country of origin for gem diamonds can be determined.
There are two different parts to the problem of determining the country of origin—identifying the geographic source of rough or polished diamonds, and tracking diamonds from their source through the diamond “pipeline.” Can an analytical means be developed to determine the geographic source of rough and polished diamonds whose origins are uncertain? Can a procedure be organized for tracking particular diamonds from the mine through manufacturing and retailing to the consumer, to prevent diamonds originating in certain countries from being sold? This report will address these questions.
Based upon current knowledge, no practical means exist today for determining the country of origin of rough or polished diamonds, although means may be developed to make such
a determination for some percentage of rough diamonds. We believe that steps can be taken to track diamonds from the mine through to the manufacturer and retailer. To succeed, such a tracking system would require increased cooperation among all organizations of the diamond industry.
This report will focus on discussing the technical considerations involved in determining the country of origin for rough and polished diamonds, and will conclude with a few remarks about a diamond tracking system. Before discussing these issues, it is first necessary to make a few preliminary comments as background information. General Comments Relevant to Determining Country of Origin
Diamond Formation. Diamonds crystallize deep in the earth's mantle, and are brought to the surface through magmatic activity. At the surface, the diamonds occur in certain kinds of volcanic rocks (kimberlites and lamproites). From the primary deposits in these rocks, some diamonds are released during rock weathering and can become concentrated in secondary alluvial deposits formed along rivers, or in the marine deposits under the ocean along the western coast of southern Africa.
Like other minerals and rocks, diamond crystals contain within themselves a record of their geologic history in terms of their morphology, detailed chemical composition, growth and etching features, and inclusions. Interpreting this record is a current focus of geological research to better understand the physical conditions and processes that take place where diamonds crystallize in the mantle. For scientists, diamonds are particularly valued for this purpose because they, and their mineral inclusions, undergo so little alteration after the diamonds are emplaced in the crust. Thus, this record provides much information on the conditions of growth of diamonds, and some information on their post-growth conditions, in the mantle. However, the record provides little or no information on the geographic source of diamonds in the earth's crust where they are found and mined. Thus, the features of diamonds may provide no indication of their country of origin.
Meaning of country of origin.” In discussions on the subject of determining geographic source, it should be understood that country of origin means the country where the diamonds are mined or extracted, and not necessarily the places where they were deposited in the earth's crust. Diamonds originally emplaced in several primary deposits (in one or more countries) could be weathered out of their original host rock, be transported by rivers, and become concentrated in a secondary deposit in another country. If identifying characteristics existed for the diamonds from a particular primary deposit, these features may or may not be retained during the weathering and transport of the diamonds to secondary deposits. Moreover, from a single secondary deposit in a conflict country, one could potentially find diamonds with characteristics distinctive of several primary deposits in one or more other countries. Therefore, these characteristics would provide no information on where