Blood Diamonds Now in Public Eye

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    By: Lauralee Budd

    Many BYU couples look for beauty when they search for an engagement ring, but there is something more than a diamond’s sparkle that is catching the public’s attention – blood diamonds.

    Blood diamonds came to the international stage during the conflict in Sierra Leone during the 1990s. The diamonds, also called conflict diamonds, were mined and sold by rebel forces to fuel some of the bloodiest civil wars in history.

    “There is no way you can tell if it’s a blood diamond or not,” said Ashley Hundsaker of Brendan Diamond.

    The diamond industry has been taking action at an international level.

    By 2003, the Kimberly process was developed at the international level to insure blood diamonds were not sold into national markets.

    “With us, we have to sign an agreement that we don’t buy diamonds from certain countries … to ensure that we don’t buy blood diamonds,” Hundsaker said.

    With the release of Hollywood’s movie “Blood Diamond,” customers have started asking about it.

    “Obviously the movie- ‘Blood Diamond’ – has caused public awareness,” said a representative of Schubach, a division of Samuels Jewelers. “We’ve always known it’s existed. Probably twice a year I’d get asked about it. Now it’s twice a week.”

    Schubach’s is one of the only jewelry stores to provide a disclosure on every diamond certifying that it is not a conflict diamond.

    Kay Jewelers provides a pamphlet about its diamond sourcing policy.

    Despite the rising awareness, some employees at jewelry retailers and many customers didn’t know about blood diamonds.

    “When I was looking for a ring, I’d never heard of blood diamonds and that whole concept, so it was not a concern,” said Eric Chatterley, who has been married for two years.

    Cherish Wilcock, majoring in music elementary education, said she didn’t do much research to find her ring because it was a surprise. She said her fianc? at the time never mentioned anything about blood diamonds.

    Others learned about it too late.

    Lisa King, who got married last semester, said, “As soon as I heard about [blood diamonds], I hoped my fianc? got my ring at a place that didn’t use those.”

    King said she was a little worried because they got the ring at a wholesale shop in New York.

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