Diamonds in the rough...
November 29, 2006 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know anything about the conditions for the workers in diamond mines, especially in Africa?

I'll be honest and say that I saw a movie (I can't remember which one now) that made mention of the horribly atrocious conditions that workers, especially children, in Africa must endure in order to supply rich folk around the world with diamonds. The movie is not a good source of info, but it got me thinking -is it possible that someone lost an appendage getting me the diamond in my ring?
posted by melangell to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Whoa! Not to be blunt, but just google it. Yeah, they're not the greatest for making other people feel loved.
posted by Science! at 1:01 PM on November 29, 2006


Not to be blunt, but your diamond has blood on it.
posted by box at 1:50 PM on November 29, 2006


If you wanted people to tell you how terrible the diamond industry is, you've certainly come to the right place. Cynicism aside, I rather imagine that the previous posters' response that you could probably easily google for info would be accurate.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:08 PM on November 29, 2006


The term you want to search for is "conflict diamonds" or "blood diamonds."

box's links are good, and there are a whole bunch more in this previous thread.
posted by miagaille at 3:28 PM on November 29, 2006


It depends on where precisely the diamond came from. There are plenty of reputable companies with miners who have perfectly decent jobs.

Sadly, this forum is not a good place to find information on safe diamonds. It is, however, a fantastic place to find pompous assholes who claim that all diamonds are conflict diamonds.

Fortunately for you, they are wrong.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 3:55 PM on November 29, 2006


"It's difficult to forecast the degree of impact [of 'Blood Diamond'] on the Christmas season," said Leymarie of De Beers. He also noted that strict regulations currently in place have reduced the trade in conflict diamonds to less than 1 percent of all diamonds traded.

Your diamond does not have blood on it.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 3:59 PM on November 29, 2006


TAPG, do you have a quote on regarding the trade of conflict diamonds that is not made by the largest diamond monopoly in the world and one of the reasons the diamond mines exist in the first place?
posted by schroedinger at 4:08 PM on November 29, 2006



TAPG, do you have a quote on regarding the trade of conflict diamonds that is not made by the largest diamond monopoly in the world and one of the reasons the diamond mines exist in the first place?


I sure do. This report from 2001 (predating most of the anti-conflict diamond crackdown) says that it was only 4% at the time.

So yeah.. that diamond doesn't have blood on it. Anybody who implies otherwise is just a hater.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 4:12 PM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


Oh, and the Clean Diamond Trade Act passed in 2003.

Seriously. Your diamond has no blood on it. People who claim otherwise have issues.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 4:16 PM on November 29, 2006


Call me kooky, but it seems like asking about working conditions in mines isn't *exactly* the same thing as asking about conflict diamonds. There is a continuum between bloody wars and oompa-loompa-happy-land that can include things like low wages, poor safety regulations, long hours, no health benefits etc.

If a more general perspective on labour conditions is indeed your interest, a little googling turned these up as potential starting places:

All Africa, mining

news items for "mining safety africa"

some google books on mining and labour conditions in Africa

African Labour Research Network
posted by carmen at 5:04 PM on November 29, 2006


Buy estate jewelry, this way, if it does have blood on it, at least it's dried up old blood and will easily flake off.
posted by Kensational at 8:14 PM on November 29, 2006


In the Nov. 27th issue of Time, Tom Zoellner has a brief roundup of the situation. He is the author of The Heartless Stone. I don't have time to quote him, but he explains why there are likely many more blood diamonds on the market than the 1%-type numbers you often hear quoted would indicate. There are severe loopholes in the Kimberley process and many illicit rough diamonds enter the legitimate market.

There is also some more information in this recent Fortune article.

At the end of the day, I would not for a second trust any assurances given by De Beers. If De Beers issued a press release saying the world is round, I'd strongly suspect it is flat as a pancake.
posted by edlundart at 8:56 PM on November 30, 2006


Also: The children that cut our diamonds. This is an old article about working conditions in India. Perhaps things have improved...
posted by edlundart at 9:01 PM on November 30, 2006


Response by poster: Thank you for the great links - I learned a lot!
posted by melangell at 8:27 AM on December 1, 2006


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