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In Kimberley, the town where the diamond rush of the late 1800s took place and led to the founding of DeBeers (which also gave its name to the Kimberly Process), a group of young girls often find themselves having to sing their school song, under the close scrutiny of their stern music teacher. The first verse of the school song, sang by rows of lessthan-eager young girls wearing horrid blazers with dark green and black stripes, goes as follows:

Social and Historic Aspects of the Diamond Trade


1. Shifting Trajectories of Diamond Processing: From India to Europe and Back, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twentieth

Diamonds have a long global history in which India plays a pivotal though little-known role. Indeed, it was in India that diamonds were first mined, finished, and worn. Diamonds and their finishing techniques reached Europe in the fifteenth century. Subsequently, part of the industry moved from India to Europe, where manufacturing shifted from one city to another, before returning to India in the twentieth century. These shifts, I argue, are determined by changes in one or more segments of the global commodity chain and they reveal the global interconnections between mining, trading, polishing, and consuming. Furthermore, these shifting centres are themselves a sign of the globalized character of diamond production, exchange, and consumption.

2. How Community Institutions Create Economic Advantage: Jewish Diamond Merchants in New York

This article argues that Jewish merchants have historically dominated the diamond industry because of their ability to reliably implement diamond credit sales. Success in the industry requires enforcing executory agreements that are beyond the reach of public courts, and Jewish diamond merchants enforce such contracts with a reputation mechanism supported by a dis tinctive set of industry, family, and community institutions. An industry arbitration system publicizes promises that are not kept. Intergenerational legacies induce merchants to deal honestly through their very last trans action, so that their children may inherit valuable livelihoods. And ultra-Orthodox Jews, for whom participation in their communities is paramount, provide important value-added services to the industry without posing the threat of theft and flight.

3. Transnational Entrepreneurs, Global Pipelines and Shifting Production Patterns: The Example of the Palanpuris in the Diamond Sector

Building on the buzz-and-pipelines model of regional clusters, the paper shows that transnational entrepreneurs play an important role in the construction of external cluster relations and hence influence both the dynamics of regional clusters and global production settings. Unlike most studies on the economic implications of transnational migrants, the paper deals with a labor intensive manufacturing sector. In detail, diamond dealers from the Indian city of Palanpur will be conceptualized as transnational entrepreneurs who, in the past, were able to cover certain locations of the diamond value added chain with family members. The global relations set up by these families at the same time formed business networks allowing for an intense global exchange of knowledge and artifacts (diamonds). In the long run, these patterns implied a change of the overall production structures: in Antwerp, a traditional diamond trading and cutting center, the Indian dealers developed to strong competitors in the smaller stones segment and as such contributed to the fading away of the historically grown industrial base. In addition, the institutional support structures were partly dismantled. On the other hand, in India, a new cluster in diamond cutting emerged. The findings suggest that transnational entrepreneurs can contribute to a weakening of traditional cluster structures and therefore call for a more differentiated view as evoked by the one-sided focus of studies on returnee migrants in the high-tech sector.

Diamonds and Development


4. The Kimberley Process at Ten: Reflections on a Decade of Efforts to End the Trade in Conflict Diamonds

Rough diamonds are not the only natural resource linked to violent conflict, but they have gained much notoriety through their association with civil wars in Sierra Leone and Angola, among other countries. Although diamonds did not cause these wars, they were a major funding source, allowing the fighting to continue. In the late 1990s, an intense international outcry against these “blood diamonds” led to the creation of an international governance framework to sever the link between the gems and the violence they facilitated.

5. Diamonds, Development, and Democracy

Gaborone, Botswana, is the capital of a country which 40 years ago was ranked as the poorest in the world. Today, as one of the most successful economies in Africa, it could represent the continent’s future. Nowhere is that potential for the next quar ter century more graphically demonstrated than in a new glass and concrete structure in the heart of Gaborone. At this $83million state-of the-art facility, 39 machines com bining the latest software and precision op tical systems are the most technically ad vanced in the world for the sorting and valuing of Botswana’s most important re source and the source of its prosperity— gem diamonds. With Batswana technicians at the controls, they measure the color, quality, and shape of rough diamonds at speeds of up to 15 diamonds a second, or 30 million carats a year, with an accuracy and consis tency unequalled anywhere in the world. This facility is transforming Gaborone into one of the leading centers of the world dia mond industry and the largest diamond sorter in the world.

6. Contested Diamond Certification: Reconfiguring Global and National Interests in Zimbabwe’s Marange Fields

This study examines the political uses of “conflict diamond” discourse in global debates about commodity certification and socially responsible mining in Zimbabwe. Engaging critical literature on “conflict-free” corporate branding initiatives, the study focuses on representations of conflict in Marange, in Zimbabwe’s eastern highlands. In 2006, a diamond rush in Marange drew in tens of thousands of artisanal miners from across Zimbabwe as well as foreigners, and the government initiated military crackdowns in 2008. In a highly contested vote in 2009, the international government delegates who comprised the voting members in the Kimberley Process Certification System (KPCS) ruled that conflict in Marange did not meet the KPCS definitions of “conflict diamond.” The study examines discourses of key stakeholders in the multinational diamond industry, human rights organizations, policymakers as well as artisanal miners in Zimbabwe between 2006 and 2014. The article argues that advocacies against diamond certification as well as advocacies favouring certification both tended to overlook the interests of artisanal miners, focusing narrowly on certain forms of conflict while associating artisanal mining with illicitness. The Marange case illustrates how conventional discourses on “conflict diamonds” not only obscure the complex nature of conflicts in contemporary capitalist accumulation processes; they also risk contributing to new forms of structural violence. This analysis highlights the need to pay careful attention to how global commodity certification discourses inter-relate with political agendas at multiple scales. The study draws attention to dilemmas for geographers when portraying the interests of marginalized groups in — and affected by — the diamond mining sector.

7. A History of Diamond Treatments

Although various forms of paints and coatings intended to alter the color of diamond have likely been in use for almost as long as diamonds have been valued as gems, the modern era of diamond treatment—featuring more permanent alterations to color through irradiation and high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) annealing, and improvements in apparent clarity with lead-based glass fillings—did not begin until the 20th century. Modern gemologists and diamantaires are faced with a broad spectrum of color and clarity treatments ranging from the simple to the highly sophisticated, and from the easily detected to the highly elusive. The history, characteristics, and identi fication of known diamond treatments are reviewed.

8. Turning Rough Dreams into a Polished Reality? The Development of Diamond-Processing Capabilities in Botswana’s Diamond Cutting and Polishing Industry

Botswana is the world’s largest producer of diamonds by value and since independence diamond revenues have contributed significantly to the country’s development. In light of imminent resource depletion, in 2005 the Government signed an agreement with the country’s largest diamond producer, DeBeers, to add value to diamonds by beneficiating them locally. By June 2014, 20 cutting and polishing firms, known as Sightholders, had been licensed and were operating in Botswana. These firms receive regular rough diamond allocations on a number of conditions, including training locals with cutting and polishing skills. Traditionally the cutting and polishing skills was a craft that was learnt through long apprenticeships. However, the technological revolution that started in the industry in the 1980s has changed the nature and mix of skills used in cutting and polishing process. Technologies like laser, computer numerically controlled machines and computer-aided design have increased accuracy and improved the quality of the polished diamonds. These technologies have also simplified the skills needed by production workers and simultaneously enhanced the skills required in machine maintenance.

9. Synthetic Gem Quality Diamonds and their Potential Impact on the Botswana Economy

This paper considers the development of synthetic gem quality diamonds and their potential impact on Botswana, the world’s largest producer of mined diamonds by value. The paper considers the rapid growth of Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) diamonds in the past 20 years and argues there is reason to believe that given the market conditions prevailing in the mined gem quality diamond industry synthetics do constitute a serious threat to the industry, and Botswana in particular. There is consideration of the price decay function in light of the experience of synthetic industrial diamonds as well as the impact on mining tax revenue. There is an analysis of the various actors in the diamond industry and their response to synthetics. Policy responses to the threat of synthetics are considered in the final sections. While the diamond and jewelry industry has responded to the threat of synthetics, there has been no attempt to address the most serious risk, which is the possibility of a sudden and catastrophic loss of confidence by consumers in the long term market value of diamonds. The paper argues for mandatory global documentation and disclosure of mined and synthetic diamonds.


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