Rapaport’s Sarah Jordan lists five common misconceptions about the diamond industry and lets industry experts explain the difference between myth and reality.
Myth: Customers are significantly at risk of buying a conflict diamond
Reality: The Kimberley Process alongside a multitude of legislation and self-regulation are a guarantee that 99.8% of diamonds are conflict-free.
Myth: The diamond industry is a monopoly
Reality: Although one company, De Beers, dominated mining and marketing of diamonds for several decades, since the 1990’s a new wave of discoveries opened up the mining market, with a multitude of new players emerging, including smaller mining companies.
Myth: Diamond mining takes from the environment and gives nothing back
Reality: Unlike other minerals, diamond mining involves no chemicals, and because ore bodies are located vertically in the earth, impact of mining is significantly lower. In most diamond producing countries, mining companies don’t receive a license if they can’t guarantee sustainable operations before, during and after mining an area.
Myth: Diamond mining communities are mistreated and at-risk
Reality: Most diamonds (80+%) are mined through large scale, high-tech mining operations, moving millions of tons of rocks through large plants, predominantly in remote regions. Mining operations provide an economic boost for local communities, and strengthen communities through beneficiation – making sure mining revenues flow back to the countries where diamonds are mined – and investments in for example local educational and medical facilities.
Myth: The whole industry is secretive and closed to outsiders
Reality: The high value and complexity of diamonds as a product explain why diamond professionals are mostly discrete about their business, which is often perceived as suspicious. Following global trends, in recent years the diamond industry is focusing on implementing more transparency through various initiatives, such as financial reporting.