(Rapaport…March 30, 2004) Global Witness reported on March 30, 2004, that many U.S. and international retailers selling diamond jewelry have so far failed to make good on their promise to combat the trade in conflict diamonds. The report was released at the World Diamond Council annual meeting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The report also said the Council has not adequately monitored compliance with self-regulation, nor have other trade associations.
“Broken Vows: Exposing the ‘Loupe’ Holes in the Diamond Industry’s Efforts to Prevent the Trade in Conflict Diamonds” says that 25 of 30 companies have failed to respond to Global Witness in writing about their policies on conflict diamonds and the self-regulation they had promised to conduct. Major players in the U.S. diamond jewelry retail sector are not carrying out the basic steps of this self-policing, which aims to stop the trade in conflict diamonds. The self-regulation requires all sectors of the diamond industry to implement a system of warranties and a code of conduct to keep conflict diamonds out of legitimate trade and to support the Kimberley Process.
Global Witness surveyed 30 retailers in Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Washington, D.C., finding a low level of awareness among sales associates generally. Such major players as Bulgari, Cartier, Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels and Wempe, U.S. jewelry chains like Littman Jewelers and Whitehall Jewelers and U.S. department stores such as Federated Department Stores and Saks Fifth Avenue have not yet written to Global Witness about their policies on either conflict diamonds or self-regulation, the nonprofit group said.
Among those in compliance are Fortunoff, Pampillonia, Tiffany & Co., the Signet Group and Zale Corp., according to the report. Tiffany & Co. stood out because it described how it has strengthened its sourcing and auditing policies to help ensure that it is not dealing in conflict diamonds.