The diamond is the most valued commodity in the world. Its origins have been clouded by poor collection and sales practices, known as ‘blood diamonds’. To prevent its proliferation, the UN developed the Kimberley Process whereby consumers are guaranteed that the diamond they purchase does not come from areas of warfare.
The Kimberley Process, in addition to guaranteeing the quality and legality of diamonds, promotes financial transparency, brings artisanal miners closer to investors and buyers, promotes the safety and health of workers, and reduces impacts on the environment.
Antwerp, the diamond city
In the Diamond Square Mile district, one kilometer square, there are 1,700 companies dedicated exclusively to diamonds.
This business, so protected and loved in the region, moves more than 40,000 million euros and 200 million carats a year. Diamonds, from rough to polished, account for 8% of Belgium’s exports.
Due to the amount of money moving on the streets of the Diamond Square Mile, security is not an overlooked thing. Shoppers or curious people can only access it on foot and once there, the police, military, barriers, infrared systems and security cameras guard every corner of the most brilliant neighborhood in the world. And it is not for less, since 85% of the rough diamonds and half of the polished ones, rest in the 1,700 businesses in the district.
Antwerp was one of the first cities to implement the Kimberley Process. In the neighborhood of diamonds is the Diamond Office, the customs that regulate your entry and exit from the borders of Diamond Square Mile. Due to its operation and good practices, it is considered an example for the rest of the countries, which consider Antwerp the purest diamond center in the world.
The quality of a diamond is represented in its four ces, by its nomenclature in English: carat (weight or carats), color (color), clarity (purity) and cut (cut). The Antwerp City Council includes a new ‘c’: that of trust.
Natural diamonds have come out a competitor: synthetic diamond. It is not something current, but since 1954 the mineral began to be created artificially, as indicated by the IGE. De Beers, the world’s largest diamond sales company, already includes synthetic diamonds in its catalog.
Their quality has reached such high levels that even experts find it difficult to differentiate them from those that grow deep in the earth. In addition, China has boarded this train and its production is estimated to be between 160,000 and 200,000 carats of gem quality diamonds per month.
Morgan Stanley has stipulated that by 2020 the sale of synthetic diamonds will account for 7.5 to 15% of global sales, so they could change the market.
The European Union and the legality of minerals
Beyond diamonds, there are other minerals that also undergo illegal collection. For this reason, the European Union has developed the Conflict Minerals Regulation that will enter into force on January 1, 2021. However, this law only regulates the trade of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold.
The EU only covers these four minerals, as they are the most frequently associated with warfare and human rights abuses. This regulation only applies to companies based in the European Union, which must report the place of extraction, as well as the companies with which they work. In this way, the EU ensures that businesses that are not part of it also comply with the laws to obtain minerals legally and that these organizations do not finance areas of warfare. Also EU creating pricing guide for gemstones to make diamond market stable.