JFK Officials Seize $800K Worth of Uncertified Diamonds

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RAPAPORT… Rough diamonds worth $800,000 were reportedly seized by customs officials two weekends ago at JFK Airport, after the jewelers carrying the stones failed to produce the required documentation for the gems. Two U.S. jewelers, who arrived from Sierra Leone by way of London, were caught with 28 rough diamonds that weighed a total of 1,200 carats, according to a report by NBC New York. The diamonds were headed for Brentwood, New York, the report noted.

Customs officials confiscated the stones after the jewelers could not provide their Kimberly Process certification, and thus could not prove that they were not conflict diamonds. By definition, conflict — or “blood” — diamonds are those that are used to fund conflict in a country. 

Sierra Leone became synonymous with the term “blood diamonds” during the decade-long civil war in that country that ended in 2002. Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, is currently standing trial for war crimes for his role in supplying weapons to rebel groups in Sierra Leone in return for diamonds. According to the World Diamond Council, the only known conflict diamonds currently in the market come from Cote d’Ivoire.


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