Conflict diamonds, otherwise known as blood diamonds, are "...diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council," as defined by the United Nations.
Conflict diamonds have been used to fund conflicts and non governmental militant groups in Sierra Leone, Angola, Liberia, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo. It is estimated that in the 1980’s the percentage of diamonds that support conflict in the world diamond supply was as high as 19%. In the late 1990’s, that number dropped to about 4% of the world’s diamond supply.
With all the work that is being done today to prevent the production of conflict diamonds, conflict diamonds only account for 1% of the world diamond supply.
In 2003, with the support of the UN, international governments, diamonds associations and NGOs agreed on the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). The Kimberley Process is meant to prevent the flow of conflict diamonds into the world diamond market. According the the KPCS, diamonds should be delivered straight from mines to government offices.
In the government offices the source of the diamonds is checked and verified. If the source is acceptable, the diamonds are sealed and issued a Kimberley Certificate.
As those diamonds are exported and imported, they are required to remain with their original Kimberley Certificate. Countries participating in the Kimberley Process can only trade diamonds with other participant countries. Today, 74 countries participate in the Kimberley Process.
The System of Warranties was agreed upon by participants of the Kimberley Process in 2007. The System of Warranties requires the following statement and guarantee on all invoices, received and produced, by a participating company:
"The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations Resolutions. The undersigned hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds."