What is the Kimberley Process?

“The Kimberley Process (KP) is a joint governments, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds – rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments.” –from the KP website

In the late 1990s, numerous reports detailing the devastating effects of the diamond trade on unstable diamond-producing regions of Africa garnered international attention. The reports revealed that many violent militias, insurgent groups, and warlords in Africa received their primary funding from dealing diamonds to reputable Western buyers, thereby prolonging bloody civil conflicts – and that it had been happening for decades.

In 2003 after three years of negotiations between governments, diamond industry players, and civil society organizations, the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme was drafted and enacted with the support of the United Nations as a means of stemming the flow of “conflict diamonds” into legitimate diamond markets. The process imposes rigorous requirements on participants to ensure that the diamonds crossing their borders comply fully with “non-conflict” standards; diamonds that do not have a Kimberly Process Certification will be turned away or impounded by customs agents of participating countries. Currently more than 40 countries participate in the process (the European Union and its Member States count as a single participant). Participating countries account for 99.8% of global rough diamond production, and diamond trade for participants is restricted to other compliant participants.

The process places the burden of enforcement on the participant countries themselves, meaning that individual countries are responsible for the vetting of diamonds that enter and exit their borders. A corollary to the process is the Voluntary System of Warranties, which requires that during any transaction involving diamonds,  the seller must affirm on the invoice that the diamonds have been obtained through authorized channels. Critics cite this voluntary aspect of the KP as its greatest weakness, claiming that without objective oversight, the system is subject to fraud and manipulation. Debate currently centers around how the process can and should be updated to account for new challenges to the integrity of the KP Certification.

The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme is an integral piece of the framework of the global diamond trade, and for it to be effective, actors at every level of the diamond trade must be fully aware of the voluntary conditions of participation. GSI was proud to partner with the US Kimberly Process Authority (USKPA) and the World Diamond Council (WDC) to produce an educational poster designed to inform diamond manufacturers and retailers about the requirements of the process (click image to view larger .pdf version):

About the author

Co-founder & President at Gemological Science International (GSI) | +12122074140 | Website | + posts

Debbie Azar is an experienced executive with extensive knowledge of the jewelry and gem lab industries. Her entrepreneurial skills and clarity of vision have helped GSI achieve rapid and continuous growth worldwide.

She began her industry career by starting her own successful costume jewelry business. She then expanded her knowledge of the industry with sales, marketing and business development roles at several companies. In 2005, she joined Mark Gershburg to establish GSI. Ms. Azar is an active member of myriad industry organizations and charities; she currently serves as a Board Member of Jewelers for Children. She is also a Forbes Business Council member.

Her strengths include working directly with retail chains and stores to help build their business and brands. She is widely known in the industry for her commitment to meeting customer needs.

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Where is Gemological Science International (GSI) located?

GSI is headquartered in New York, NY. It has 13 laboratories on four continents and in a number of countries: the United States, India, Dubai, Israel, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Botswana. This makes GSI one of the largest independent gemological organizations in the world.

Is there a difference between grading reports issued by different GSI laboratories?

All GSI laboratories grade using the same methods and adhere to the same standards. Every laboratory is staffed with highly trained professionals who have years of grading experience and an extensive gemological background.

What does it mean when a sales associate tells me my diamond is “GSI Certified” or is accompanied by a “GSI Certificate”?

The phrases “GSI Certificate” and “GSI Certified” are industry shorthand for GSI grading or identification reports. What this means to you is that expert gemologists and trained professionals meticulously evaluated the item. When your diamond, jewelry or gemstone is accompanied by a GSI grading report, you can be completely confident in the accuracy and objectivity of the evaluation.

Where can I find “GSI Certified Diamonds”?

GSI diamond grading and identification reports can be found in jewelry stores worldwide and online. Insist on a GSI grading report when shopping for a diamond, jewelry or gemstone.

What do I do if I lose my GSI Diamond Report?

Every GSI grading report is available on our website. Please visit gemscience.net and go to “verify your report”. Enter your GSI report number and you’ll instantly have access to a digital copy of it. You can also email us through the website to request a copy.

What are the 4Cs

A beautiful diamond is one of nature’s most mesmerizing creations. But how do you objectively judge the quality of the gem? The 4Cs – Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight – are the universal standard for doing this.

Is there anything beyond the 4Cs?

The 4Cs are an essential and important description of a diamond’s characteristics. But there is a considerable amount of detailed information behind each “C” along with other qualities of a diamond that affect its beauty, such as fluorescence, light performance and more.

How much do you need to know? That’s up to you, but knowing the 4Cs is almost essential.

What does a GSI diamond grading report look like?

GSI offers a number of grading reports (often referred to as “GSI Certificates”). You can see samples of them by browsing the Grading Reports page on our website.

What does a GSI colored diamond grading report look like?

You can see samples grading reports by browsing the Grading Reports page on our website.

What does a GSI Colored stone report look like?

You can see samples of Colored stones reports by browsing Grading Reports page on our website.

How does a GSI grading report compare to other laboratories that issue grading reports?

It is our policy not to comment on other laboratories. However, know that GSI adheres to the highest ethical standards. We do this in a number of ways:

  • Rotating gemologists to our different labs
  • Continuously upgrading our proprietary grading software to ensure full compliance with international grading standards
  • Having our gemological research department constantly investigate new developments in the industry, which informs the grading process

What’s the difference between a “GSI Certificate” and a “GSI Diamond Grading Report”?

GSI issues a variety of grading and identification reports. Consumers and industry professionals often call these reports “GSI Certificates”.

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