Headline Feb 21, 2016/ ''' DIAMONDS -and- * DUNES * '''

''' DIAMONDS -and- * DUNES * '''

$ 81.4 BILLION   -is the size of the global diamond industry in 2014. It employs approximately 10 million people worldwide.

JUST  -just a few days ago, a unique and a very beautiful diamond was discovered in Angola. 

Its market value in being estimated in millions of dollars.

1.9% is the Growth in the U.S. fine-jewelry market from 2004 to 2013, at a time when sales of other luxury items like electronics and fine wines increased over 10%

IN CONDITIONS of misery, and sufferings, the young Congolese miners day in and day out-  Sift and sift gravel in search of diamonds in Lupemba mine.  There are a million aritisanal  miners  in Congo. 

IRONICALLY   -it is the company that has been the most outspoken about the evils of diamond mining that is doing the most to help Congolese miners right now.

Brilliant Earth   -with the help of the Ottawa-based Diamond Development Initiative  [DDI] and Muepu's  NGO, has funded a school to get children like 12-year-old Kalala Ngalmume out of the mines and back into class.

When his father died of wretched malaria last year, it looked as Nagalamume would be joining his neighbor student Mwanza in the mines.

Instead he was picked as one of the first 20 students in the Brilliant Mobile School pilot program, based on his age, his previous schooling and the fact that he was at risk of going to work in the mines.

*''Without school, I know I would have to do whatever it took to survive, even go looking for diamonds,'' he says. But hundreds of more children in his village are still at risk.

''We need to do something so that all these children have an opportunity to be educated, so they won't be poor, so they can do something with their lives.''

SO HOW CAN a concerned consumer buy a diamond in a way that can actually help students like Mwanza and Nagalamume? 

Asking questions can go a long way.

Responsible jewelers should know every step in the path from mine to market. Kimberly Process certification alone isn't enough   -as of now the system is too limited.

Diamonds that come from Zimbabwe and Angola are particularly problematic.

Watch-dog groups have documented  human-rights abuses in and around mines in those countries, though exports from both nations are allowed under the Kimberley Process   -another loophole in the system.

While buying diamonds from a conflict-free country like Canada can buy you a clean conscience, a better bet may be African countries like Botswana and Namibia.

Government in both countries have a solid record of working with both the industrial mining industry and artisanal miners to enforce strong labor and environmental standards. 

Sierra Leone  -the setting for much of the film  Blood Diamond   -has improved as well, though the country's recent Ebola outbreak set back some of that progress.

Consumers who care can trace the fish on their plate back to the patch of sea it was taken from. They can choose fair-trade apparel that benefits the cotton farmers and seamstresses who produced their clothing.

*But the lineage of one of the most valuable products that many consumers will ever buy in their lifetime remains shrouded in uncertainty, and too often the people who do the arduous work of dogging those precious stones from the earth are the ones who benefit the least*.

The only way the blood will ever be washed away from the conflict diamonds is if there is a  true  fair-trade  certification process that allows conscientious consumers-

To buy Congo's artisanal diamonds with peace of mind  -just as they might a cup of coffee. 

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society and the Ecosystem 2011.

''' Orbit Of Power '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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