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Table of Contents

Global Markets for Diamonds – Part 13

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Part 3: Diamond Industry Organizations

There are various diamond organizations all over the world which ensures the utmost integrity, competitiveness and security of diamond trading. This includes the following:

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  1. Antwerp World Diamond Center (AWDC) - it serves as the international representative of the national diamond industry of Belgium at present. It articulates the general interests of the Belgian diamond sector to all the international, local and even governmental and non-governmental diamond organizations. It also advances the interests of Antwerp as the leading diamond business facility in the whole world (AWDC Website, 2012).

AWDC is established by the global diamond industry community as a foundation that is founded to support and help the Belgian diamond businesses. The headquarters of AWDC are located at the district of Antwerp. Its main services are the following: Diamond Office Services, Trade Show Services and Marketing Services. AWDC has a Board of Directors which is directly elected by the members of the AWDC. It also has a CEO who runs the AWDC office. As a private foundation, its daily activities are carried out by its professional staff. The Board of Directors consists of twelve members who are chosen to represent each and every aspect or interest of the whole Antwerp diamond community.

  1. World Diamond Council - which was also known as International Diamond Council, was created in 2000. This organization has transformed the diamond and jewelry industries in terms of the market channels of the diamonds and how the industry players should conduct themselves towards their stakeholders and to the general society. (World Diamond Council, 2010) It was created by the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and The International Diamond Manufacturers Association basically as a preventive measure in the illegal trading of conflict diamonds. WFDB's additional activities also include sponsoring the World Diamond Congress every two years, as well as the establishment of the International Diamond Council (IDC) to oversee diamond grading. (The Diamond Industry, 2007) This diamond council traces its history during the time of the conflict and blood diamonds.

In July 2000, it passed a resolution regarding conflict diamonds at the World Diamond Congress in Belgium together with the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association. WDC lobbied to the United Nations and civil society groups for the establishment of a system that will prevent conflict diamonds to enter the legitimate global diamond trading. Hence, on December 1, 2001, the United Nations General Assembly colectively signed its commitment to a diamond certification scheme to reduce conflict diamonds and establish penlaties against those who will bring it for legal trading.

The diamond industry, headed by De Beers, gave the blueprint for this certification scheme. After a while, the United States, through its legislation, passed the Clean Diamonds Trade Act to support this certification system. Other countries all over the world followed. This led to the magnanimous signing of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme that the industry implemented in 2003. Being an NGO, WDC acted as a mere observer in the Kimberley Process meeting without intervening in its discussions and activities.

By this, the credibility and the independence of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was established. It acted as a peer review group for the certification system. In 2004, the certification's crucial function was realized when Kimberly Process expelled the Congo Republic. In 2006, it also exhibited its vital role when it prevented the smuggling of diamonds from Ivory Coast to Ghana. These smuggled diamonds were found to be marketed with Kimberley certificates. At these two important events, WDC was at the helm. It was also at the helm of a 2006 media campaign which was launched as a reaction to the high profile release of the movie, Blood Diamond by Edward Zwick.

The body immediately created a website (DiamondFacts.org) to provide reliable and factual information on the diamond trade history, including the economic and social benefits diamonds give to its host countries (where diamonds are mined) and how the industry is addressing the issue of conflict diamonds. WDC signified its role in 2009 when it addressed the KP's Plenary Meeting in Namibia and stressed the body's critical attention to diamond-related issues. It proposed changes in establishing a better decision-making process and resources as embodied by its 2007 proposal.


WDC also played a crucial part in the resolution of the issues on the diamonds mined from the Marange region and the issues on Zimbabwe. It bridged the breakthrough meeting between Zimbabwe and the Kimberly Process during its 7th Annual Meeting in 2010. The WDC also developed the System of Warranties in order to further assure the public of polished diamond trading. Its featured element is an invoice declaration attached to every transaction of polished diamonds which signifies that the diamonds are "not part of the resources used to fund the African conflict and that complies with the resolutions passed by the United Nations." (The Wolrd Diamond Council, 2007) The System of Warranties gives its assurance down the final segment of the global diamond value chain - jewelry retail.

  1. The Diamond High Council (HDR) - is a non-profit, service organization of the diamond trade and industry of Belgium. It acts as the representative and spokesman of the national diamond sector. Its various departments also extend various services to the diamond community. For instance, it founded a HRD Certificates Department to supply the need for the rising demand for dependable diamond certificates (Gendiat Website, 2003). This was during the time when several diamond laboratories emerged. It has spearheaded the certification system as early as 1970's. This need was later felt by other diamond industry organizations such as the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA). They felt that this kind of system must be implemented in the polished diamond segment.

Through the years, HRD extended its role to enhance the industry. It established a department that offers professional services to the diamond industry. Its Certificates Department later bloomed as one of the leading diamond grading laboratories in the world. It has linked the Scientific Research Centre for Diamonds (WTCOD) to its own organization in 1977. The WTCOD is an industry-wide research and development laboratory. WTC was also prominent in the development of diamond technologies. Through its equipment supplier called Comdiam, HRD was able to commercialize diamond technologies. It was also instrumental with the establishment of the Institute of Gemmology in 1980, which serves as an educational agency in diamond training, grading and gemmology. Its Diamond Grading Reports were also supported by the Gem Defence Initiative in 2000. This ensured the integrity of HRD's grading system for colored stones.

  1. The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) - this organization was founded in 1947. It aimed to integrate and provide diamond trading (rough and polished diamonds and gems) with a fundamental system and trading procedures. Its purpose is "to promote understanding and closer co-operation between peoples all over the world who earn their livelihood in the diamond and precious stones trade" (p. 1). The federation further encourages the creation of bourses with the perspective of eventually affiliating them. It created the World Diamond Council to work together with various entities such as the national governments (about 35 nations), the European Union and the United Nations to eradicate conflict diamonds from the legal bourses. Aside from creating the World Diamond Council in 2000, WFDB also initiated the biennial World Diamond Congress and it also established the International Diamond Council (IDC) to supervise diamond grading (The Diamond Industry, 2007).
  2. The Kimberley Process Certification System - this body intends to promote the diamond trading from legal sources and to assure the public of the legality of their diamond and jewelry purchases. This has been a by-product of the initiatives of the different diamond industry councils, non-governmental organizations, national governments from all over the world, and international bodies like the United Nations. Kimberley Certification is basically a "certificate of origin" process. (World Diamond Council, 2007) The Kimberley Process is named after the Kimberley City, where the multi-national agreement was initially discussed in 2000. (Campbell, 2006) This meeting was finalized and put into effect in November, 2002 with the participation of the diamond producing countries and the global diamond industry. It provides that rough diamonds are attached with a government-released certificate showing that these products can be exported or imported or traded.

This certifies that the rough diamonds are free from conflict. Under this system, only countries that are member of the system can import or export legitimate diamonds. There at least 74 member countries today. This evidence that almost all of the diamonds being traded are not tainted with conflict diamonds. It is illegal to import or export diamonds without the Kimberley certification.

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  1. The World Jewelry Confederation (CIBJO) is an international confederation of various national jewelry trade agencies that has represents 40 countries, so far. There are also 33 associate members from private sectors which are included in this organization. The World Jewelry Confederation was founded in 1926. It aimed to promote harmony and global cooperation in the jewelry industry and discuss major issues pertaining to their industry.
  2. The Council for Responsible Jewelry Practices (CRJP) or "the Council" - this diamond and gold jewelry organization was founded in May, 2005.

At present, it has 81 council members who are committed to promote highly regarded business practices in an open and liable manner, starting from the diamond and gold mining up to retailing. The members are committed to promote the confidence of their consumers in the diamond and gold jewelry products that they sell to them. They also promote trust and confidence to all the prospects and present stakeholders who are interested with the industry.

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