At James Allen, we understand that our customers care where their diamonds come from and we share that concern with you. Every diamond we sell is certified conflict-free, assuring you that our inventory was procured through legal sources. In compliance with the Patriot Act, the Kimberly Process, and various United Nations resolutions, the diamonds we sell have been obtained using legitimate means. Further, our internal guidelines exceed government requirements: we have binding contracts with our suppliers which guarantee that the diamonds they offer to us for sale are conflict-free. We do not purchase polished diamonds from sources which are not members of the professional diamond trade.
Conflict-free diamonds are those gems which were not obtained in association with human rights abuses, child labor, violence, or environmental degradation. Although the United Nation’s Kimberley Process only covers diamonds under the control of legitimate and recognized governments, conflict-free goes one step further by rejecting diamonds from governments that trade in diamonds to bankroll their conflicts. Throughout the 1990s, most of the world's diamonds came from Africa, particularly regions undergoing civil unrest. Rebel armies in parts of Africa were exploiting alluvial diamond fields to fund their wars against established governments, putting people and the environment in the middle of their conflicts. Alluvial diamonds are found just inches to a few feet below the surface, making them easier to mine, but having an adverse impact on the environment. The people working these fields were often very young and subject to exploitation, with some losing their lives or becoming permanently maimed as wars raged around them. Hence, the term blood diamonds came into being to describe these types of gems.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was established to certify the origin of rough diamonds from sources known to be conflict-free. A 2000 meeting of southern African diamond producing countries established guidelines for the KPCS, which were later adopted by the United Nations. To ensure compliance, independent auditing systems are tasked with tracking diamonds from their place of origin to delivery. Polished diamonds sold in the U.S. must adhere to the Patriot Act which requires that every U.S. dealer maintain Kimberley compliance or be subject to penalties from Homeland Security, the U.S. Justice Department, and the U.S. Treasury.