Knot-so-good Advice Ties Consumers in Knots

Knot-so-good Advice Ties Consumers in Knots

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Diamonds

Kimberley process conflict diamond controversy via The KnotBoy oh boy, I imagine that Paul of Crafted by Infinity is going to choke on his coffee if he reads this article in The Knot. No doubt his partner Lieve Peeters, who was actually speaking at a Kimberley Process Forum some weeks ago will be shaking her head at “the fools in the USA.” Why? Because the ethical sourcing of diamond rough is a top priority and subject of expertise with Crafted by Infinity. They have always followed stricter custody and anti-money-laundering laws in Antwerp, Belgium, than anything we see here in the USA.

But if readers were to believe some of the comments from Miles Stiverson of The Knot, they might be misled. I wonder how many diamond buyers will hit a frustrating dead-end by following the advice: “When you buy a diamond, the jeweler should be able to provide a Kimberley Process certificate.” No. That is 100% incorrect.

Rather than get bogged down in a blow-by-blow, I’ll clarify some basic facts. Let’s begin with the FACT that the Kimberley Process and the resulting certificates issued only apply to rough diamonds. That is raw diamond crystal which has yet to be cut or polished. Kimberley certificates cease to be valid the moment a diamond cutter transforms the diamond rough into a polished diamond. Kimberley Certificates are not issued for cut or polished diamonds, thus this “advice” above does not even apply.

What was created by the UN Kimberley Process is a system of warranties which begins with a Kimberley Certificate for rough, and ends with a separate statement printed on invoices and receipts for polished diamonds. Yes, at High Performance Diamonds we use supply that is 100% compliant with the requirements of the Kimberley Diamond Act as well as the World Diamond Council system of warranties for rough. We have always provided the compliance statement. We even provide additional layers not mentioned in The Knot.

For example, we also warrant that none of our diamonds originate from rough sourced in Zimbabwe. Why? Because this is a country which is actually compliant with the terms of the Kimberley Process but (according to our personal views) is run by a malicious dictator who abuses his people and uses the proceeds to further his (again, our view) harmful and abusive regime.

Therefore, dear readers of The Knot, please do not take the advice provided in that article. Do not ask your jeweler to give you a Kimberley Process Certificate for diamonds in his inventory, because this is not something that he will be able to produce. Well, unless he purchased the rough diamonds from the mines himself, imported them via U.S. Department of Justice oversight, personally handled every step of the production process from sawing and bruting to polishing, and sent them to the lab for reports… Of course the diamond industry is multi-tiered and this is simply not how things are done. You’d be asking for the impossible.

Rather, ask your jeweler whether all of his suppliers guarantee compliance with the Kimberley Process on their wholesale invoices, and whether he supports that guarantee by providing his own supporting statement on the retail invoice he issues to you… You might be surprised to know how few jewelers realize they are obligated to do this per United Nations resolutions. Want to really blow your jeweler’s mind? Ask him about Zimbabwe sourced rough, and whether he uses any wholesale supply-lines that originate in India or China where Zimbabwe rough – along with their Kimberley Certificates – often goes to be cut (as I said, we won’t touch it).

There actually was a time many years ago, when Crafted by Infinity was cutting diamonds from diamond rough that originated in Canada. Paul Slegers of Crafted by Infinity was pretty disappointed that nobody from Canadamark ever bothered to audit his production to verify the declared polish weight of the diamonds and compare them to the diamond rough he had purchased under the Canadamark program. Frankly, the program would be insanely easy to spoof. CBI paid a premium for this Canadian rough for more than a year, but stopped doing so after being disillusioned by the process.

Stiverson’s advice that consumers should ask their jeweler to provide documentation that tracks the diamond from mine to the jeweler is well-intended premise. It’s just not currently possible for many reasons. Jewelers are not buying diamond rough direct from the diamond mines, nor are they polishing diamonds in-house. Most jewelers are buying diamonds from massive virtual inventory lists, with no idea where they came from, and lacking any sort of real in-depth relationship with their suppliers.

At High Performance Diamonds, we are exceptionally proud of the outstanding relationship that we have built over the years with Crafted by Infinity. We know everybody within the Crafted by Infinity team on a close and personal level. We know that we share the same concerns and the same values. Even so, not even we can produce mine-to-jeweler documentation for each diamond.

However we can say that because we know the entire Crafted by Infinity Team, and we know how committed they are to ensuring the ethical and legal sourcing of diamond rough for their production. We are absolutely confident that every CBI diamond is conflict free. After all, it is no accident that Lieve Peeters of Infinity is regularly asked to speak on this topic, most recently as a valuation expert by the Kimberley Process committee. Throughout the years, she has assisted authorities with putting people who deal in conflict diamonds behind Belgian bars (and I don’t mean chocolate bars – which are yummy).

With all of this in mind, I hope that the advice given in that article published in The Knot does not create impossible expectations for anyone. The diamond buying experience is already rather confusing. The bottom line: Legitimate members of the diamond industry, who practice ethical methods of sourcing diamonds for their inventory, and who navigate the legal channels of diamond distribution, like High Performance Diamonds, already provide written statements to that effect on their invoices.

Read the Full Story in The Knot.

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