Boyajian Speaks on Capitol Hill

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(Rapaport,September 13, 2000) Gemological Institute of America President William E. Boyajian is to testify today at a hearing on trade in African diamonds called by the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade.

He was invited to testify by Illinois Congressman Philip M.Crane, chairman of the subcommittee, which is part of the Ways and Means Committee.

A subcommittee announcement said the hearing will focus on evaluating “options available that are administrable and WTO-consistent and will effectively curtail conflict diamond trade without impacting legitimate diamond trade.” It further noted that the subcommittee is interested in testimony on approaches to this issue, including technology that could determine the country of origin of a cut and polished diamond.

Boyajian has just returned from addressing the World Diamond

Council meeting in Tel Aviv, where he reaffirmed GIA’s position that “It is in the long-term best interest of the trade and the public that the exploitation of diamond resources to fuel civil war and civil conflict in African countries be halted immediately.” He also told the council that “based upon all of our current knowledge, and that which we have been able to glean from the literature of other noted experts, we do not believe that scientific and practical means exist today for determining the country of origin of rough and polished diamonds, although means may be developed over time to make such determinations on some percentage of rough stones.”

Explaining Conflict Diamonds to the Consumer Jewelers of America has developed a three-part program for its members to enable them to respond confidently to consumer questions about conflict diamonds.

Market Updates-JA suggests posting periodic market updates that include information on conflict diamonds in non-customer areas of the store, like safe doors or bulletin boards.

Self-Study Guide- this familiarizes sales associates with questions they may need to answer from customers about conflict diamonds. The study guide is designed to be completed in 45 minutes or less. JA also suggests practice question-and-answer sessions among salespersons. Store Meeting Guide-A guide to help store managers hold informational meetings with salespersons about conflict diamonds. The three parts of the program are designed to complement each other, however, they can be used independently as well. The materials will be mailed out to the more than 12,000 JA members.

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