NGO Letter to American Jewelers

150 150 Rapaport News

April 10, 2001

Dear Friends:

American jewelers and their customers are surely appalled by the trade in diamonds from rebel-controlled African countries, and the role that diamond sales have played fueling and funding conflict, mutilation, rape, and killings. The Campaign to Eliminate Conflict Diamonds invites American jewelry retailers

to join us in our effort to do something about it.

E-mail the Campaign Now to Support the Clean Diamonds Act

The Campaign to Eliminate Conflict Diamonds is an organization of 80 American human rights, religious, humanitarian, and medical groups working to end the trade in diamonds from rebel-controlled Sierra Leone and Angola. We strongly support legislation in Congress, the Clean Diamonds Act. If enacted, the Clean Diamonds Act will prohibit the importation into the United States of diamonds from any country that does not have, within one year, the internationally-accepted system of transport and accountability for all diamond and diamond jewelry transactions. We believe that The Clean Diamonds Act should be a top priority of the legitimate diamond industry in the United States, as well. Working together, the human rights, faith communities, and American jewelry retailers can persuade Congress to enact this bill into law.

How can the Clean Diamond Act help local jewelry retailers? At the present time, no jewelry store executive or employee can tell their potential customers that the beautiful diamonds in their stores did not enrich a rebel soldier in Sierra Leone. As news reports and television documentaries continue to publicize the horrors perpetrated by insurgents in Sierra Leone the U.S. public will come to associate such atrocities with diamonds. When that occurs, informed consumers may avoid diamonds and find a different symbol of their love and commitment.

This is an outcome that the Campaign to Eliminate Conflict Diamonds wants to prevent. We do not want to see diamonds become like fur in the minds of the US public. We strongly oppose a consumer boycott of diamonds and are deeply concerned that the gross abuses in Sierra Leone by diamond-looting insurgents will hurt the legitimate diamond producing countries. The diamond industry itself is aware of the vulnerability of diamonds’ image, and one year ago began a process of developing a standardized packaging, export, inspection, and customs regimen to protect a “clean stream” of diamonds throughout the mining, handling, cutting, sorting, selling, and exporting process.

The Clean Diamonds Act, if passed, will protect the interest of all legitimate jewelry dealers, including local jewelry store executives. When the bill becomes a law and its provisions take effect, American jewelers will at last be able to tell their customers what they cannot say now: “The diamonds in my store are clean. The US Customs Service is required to turn away diamonds from conflict areas, and people who are caught trying to circumvent the ban on conflict diamonds will be prosecuted and their contraband diamonds confiscated.”

We invite you to join “Jewelers for Clean Diamond Imports” by clicking on our website, We will list your name on this site and convey your support to your elected Member of Congress and Senators. We also ask you to write personally to your member of Congress to express your desire for a “clean stream” of diamonds to offer your customers, and to ask him/her to support the Clean Diamonds Act. Please send us a copy of your correspondence by mail, e-mail or fax.

Campaign to Eliminate Conflict Diamonds, 1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 1001, Washington, DC 20005

Fax: 202/728-3053

Email: [email protected]

Once we have received an indication of your support for the Clean Diamonds Act, The Campaign to Eliminate Conflict Diamonds will mail you a “Jewelers for Clean Diamond Imports” decal for your store window.

The Campaign to Eliminate Conflict Diamonds cannot endorse any store, retailer, brand name, or line of diamond jewelry because there is currently no way to distinguish clean diamonds from conflict stones. But we would be pleased and proud to work with friends in the US jewelry retail community in support of legislation that will eventually assure American jewelers of a product untainted by association with cruel abuses against unarmed men, women, and children. And we hope that you will want to post the decal identifying your store as a part of the “Jewelers for Clean Diamond Imports” network, and urge other jewelers and jewelry retailers to do the same.

Our website also includes the full text of the Clean Diamonds Act, a list of cosponsors, a summary of the bill, and questions and answers.

We look forward to hearing from you.



Holly Burkhalter

Coordinator, Campaign to Eliminate Conflict Diamonds


Name _________________________________

Address ________________________________

Name of Store ___________________________

Dear Senators and Member of Congress:

I write to express my strong support for The Clean Diamonds Act. As an American jeweler, I want to assure my customers that the diamonds in my store come from a clean stream, untainted by blood diamonds from rebel-controlled Sierra Leone and Angola. American jewelers and our customers do not want to be associated with cruel insurgent forces in Africa who have used diamond profits to buy guns. We strongly support legislation that will protect legitimate producers and defend the image of a diamond as a symbol of beauty and love and urge you to act favorably on it before adjournment this Fall.

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