THREE months before the release of the new Leonardo DiCaprio film "Blood Diamond," the diamond industry is mounting a publicity campaign to highlight steps it has taken to reduce the flow of illegally traded "conflict diamonds" that have helped finance brutal regimes in Africa.
The New York-based World Diamond Council took out full-page advertisements in major publications here and abroad on Wednesday announcing the creation of an Internet website, diamondfacts.org, that is designed to educate consumers about "conflict" or "blood" diamonds, which are illegally traded diamonds that have been used by rebel movements in parts of Africa to finance wars against legitimate governments.
The ads appeared in five U.S. newspapers, including The Times, as well as publications overseas such as South Africa's Business Week, the London Times and Financial Times.
Eli Izhakoff, who chairs the World Diamond Council, said that since the industry and diamond-producing countries in Africa implemented the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme six years ago, the flow of conflict diamonds has dropped from roughly 4% of the world's output in rough diamonds to less than 1%. Izhakoff said the council's goal is to eradicate all conflict diamonds.