What kind of people buy blood diamonds

Blood diamonds - Long history of diamonds in Africa

Diamonds and Africa have a very long history. Nowhere else in the world are such large quantities of the precious stone extracted. But the Diamond boom also has its downsides. During the civil war in Angola, the proceeds from the blood diamond trade were used to buy weapons, train children to be child soldiers, and support rebels, violence and chaos.

To date, the black continent has produced more than 75% of the diamond's value worldwide. More than 1.9 billion carats were mined, valued at an estimated 158 billion US dollars. Leading diamond manufacturers in Africa include South Africa, Congo, Lesotho, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Botswana and Angola.

From carbon to gemstone

The History of origin the precious stones is long. As part of the ocean floor, the South African diamonds originally formed very close to the surface of the earth. At a deep sea trench, you then dived into the earth's mantle as part of an ocean plate. The entire movement was driven by huge convection currents within the earth's mantle, which finally pushed the precious stones off Africa to the surface in volcanic chimneys, so-called kimberlite tubes.

An estimated eruption age of 1.1 billion years has been made for the Kimberley diamonds the South African premier determined. Pressure ratios of 40 kilobars and temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees were responsible for the development.

A diamond is chemically made of carbon. The crystals are characterized by their extreme hardness, which means that the gemstone is used in a variety of ways, such as the crown of a core drill or in special scalpels. This property also earned the diamond its reputation for being immortal as a gemstone. One to two carats Rough diamonds stuck in ten tons of rock. One carat corresponds to 0.2 grams, but it is only through the cut that rough diamonds become the most coveted gemstones in the world.

Discovered in South Africa in 1905 at the Premier Mine in Cullinan, 38 km east of Pretoria Cullinan With a weight of 3,106 ct, it is still the largest rough diamond ever found in the world. It was found by chance during an inspection just nine meters below the surface. It was crushed into nine larger and 96 smaller gemstones, one of the larger ones is now part of the British Crown Jewels. It was named after the owner of the mine Thomas Cullinan, after whom the small town of Cullinan is also named.

The second largest rough diamond in the world was only found in Botswana in November 2015, weighs 1,111 carats, is colorless about the size of a tennis ball and according to BMO Capital Markets (Investment Banking and Financial Services) of an incalculable value. In an interview on the day of the sensational discovery, industry expert Kieron Hodgson suspected "that it could become an extremely expensive diamond" but "until it has been fully analyzed, it is impossible to determine its value".

Today you can visit the active Cullinan diamond mine and a museum in Pretoria. Both bear witness to the "heyday" of the African diamond boom.

Origin of the diamond trade

Symbolic of the long-term promotion of Stones in africa is the South African Kimberley. The first find dates back to 1866 when a local discovered a 22-carat diamond. In the years that followed, smaller diamonds were repeatedly found, although it was not until 1971 that larger finds in Colesberg Kopje gained the attention of the press.

Because of the diamonds, Africa was then haunted by countless diamond seekers from all over the world, who completely removed the Colesberg Kopje within a very short time. Since these dug themselves into the depths, arose one of the largest man-made holes in the world - the big hole. Official information about this giant hole can be found here.

The "Big Hole"

The “Big Hole” has a diameter of 500 meters and a depth of more than 800 meters. 2.7 tons of diamonds worth around 40 billion euros were once brought to the surface of the earth here. Over the years, the tent city developed into a small town called New Rush, which settled around the Big Hole.

The founder of the mining company Kimberley Central Mining became a multimillionaire at the end of the 19th century through the profitable resale of precious stones from Africa. The merger with a rival brought the company De Beers which was able to assume a real supremacy in the following years.

Isolated in labor camps

As large-scale thefts occurred immediately after mining began, extensive security checks were carried out. The workers were only allowed to use one exit at the end of their working day, where they were thoroughly examined. Due to racial discrimination and the prevailing prejudice against the African population, the African miners had to undergo a degrading full-body inspection, whereas the white workers were often only checked through simple visual inspections.

When the thefts were still not under control, it was decided to house African workers in barracks camps, where they had to live isolated from the outside world for the duration of their contracts. So it was impossible for them to contact illegal diamond dealer to be able to record.

While it was initially still possible for workers to leave the camp, from 1889 onwards all 10,000 black miners in Kimberley were housed in closed barracks that were fenced in with barbed wire and illuminated at night. In 1885 the Compagnie française de diamants du cap de Bonne-Espérance was the first diamond mining company to house its workers in closed labor camps, shortly afterwards the Kimberley Central Diamond Mining Company and in 1886 the De Beers Diamond Mining Companie. (Further information on this and South Africa: Politics - Society - Economy before the end of apartheid, herg. Von Maull Hann; Leske + Budrich, Opladen 1990)

The once founded Diamond syndicate is now being replaced by the Central Selling Organization in London, which oversees and processes approximately 80% of all diamond sales worldwide. The De Beer Syndicate came under pressure with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the post-colonial civil wars in Africa. At that time weapons were still bought with blood diamonds.

The bloody business with diamonds

Most of the wars on the black continent were with diamonds from Africa, the so-called Blood diamonds, financed. According to the Kimberley Accords, a conflict or blood diamond is a diamond whose proceeds are used to fund violent conflict. Conflict raw materials guaranteed numerous arms deliveries to invasion and rebel troops, and prolonged or intensified war and violence. Since human rights violations persist in many countries even after the end of the conflict, some organizations want all diamonds that are mined in violation of human rights to be designated as blood diamonds.

The conflicts reached their peak in the 1990s, when around 500,000 people lost their lives as part of the decade-long civil war in Angola between the rebel movement Unita and the MPLA government. UNITA began its resistance against the government in the 1970s through military attacks, which turned into a fight that lasted for decades.

The one that has been running since 1975 Civil War in Angola between the MPLA government (Movimento Popular de Libertaçȁo de Angola, the popular movement for the liberation of Angola) and above all UNITA (Uniȁo Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola, National Union for the Complete Independence of Angola) financed itself largely from the diamond trade . UNITA's domestic source of finance was the sale of blood diamonds from the diamond fields they controlled to, among others, De Beers in South Africa. The MPLA, one of the three most important liberation movements against the colonial power of Portugal, established a one-party system in the country based on the socialist model. In 1990 it introduced a multi-party system, parliamentary elections followed from 1992. In 1990 it entered the election campaign as a party in order to resume guerrilla warfare after losing the election. Only since 2002, after the violent death of its leader, has it been working as a political party and breaking away from its military wing.

The long road from Civil War to the Kimberley Process

As early as 1998, the UN Security Council tried to end the civil war in Angola by banning UNITA from exporting diamonds. It became a Trade embargo for gemstones issued by the countries of Angola, Congo and Sierra Leone. It was hoped to stop the violence and wars that these conflict diamonds paid for. But it was not until May 2000 that the governments of the countries in southern Africa reacted to adopt a fundamental approach against the bloody and illegal machinations. In the South African Kimberley, several diamond-producing countries met to find a way to stop the trade in conflict diamonds through state certificates of origin.

The official has been since 2003 Kimberley Process in force, i.e. the exporting countries must now provide state certificates of origin to prove that the proceeds from the sale of African diamonds were not used to support criminal movements.

The supermodel and the monster

Nevertheless, two to three percent of these conflict-laden gemstones still find their way onto the market today. In August 2010, the British said Supermodel Naomi Campbell before the special tribunal for Sierra Leone in The Hague against the dictator of the West African state Liberia, Charles Taylor, from the fact that 13 years earlier, in September 1997, she had been given several rough diamonds. It remained open whether they came from him and where they came from. Before that, Campbell had repeatedly denied the donation. She couldn't say whether the dictator actually sent these "rough" and "not noticeable" stones to her room.

The model had known the dictator since 1991, called him an "honorary grandfather", and in fact he is said to have said that he wanted to give her diamonds on the evening in question. They met for a charity event for children in the home of the then South African President Nelson Mandela in Cape Town. In addition to Liberia's President Taylor, other guests were actress Mia Farrow and record producer Quincy Jones.

Charles Taylor is considered to be the originator of civil war and violence in western Africa. He was responsible for 15 years of war in Liberia. He controlled the RUF (Revolutionary United Front) rebels in Sierra Leone in the 1990s. In order to secure the rich diamond fields, he had civilians murdered and maimed. "This man," said Naomi Campbell of the dictator Taylor later, "did bad things and I don't want to put my family in danger." The special tribunal accused Taylor of murder, rape, and child wage training. He is said to have financed this with bloody diamonds.

In court, however, the statements of Naomi Campbell and her then PR agent, Carol White, differed. According to White, the supermodel is wearing the diamonds Mandela's Children's Fund handed over, but supposedly did not know anything about it. According to a report by the BBC during the 2010 trial, the statements were slow, and not all questions have been clarified to this day.
(more on this: Welt.de and Sueddeutsche.de)

Diamond producing countries in Africa

The following ten African countries are among the largest producers of natural diamonds.

  1. Botswana (2014: 24,658,000 carats)
  2. Congo (2014: 14,663,000 carats)
  3. Angola (2014: 8,791,000 carats)
  4. South Africa (2014: 8,060,000 carats)
  5. Zimbabwe (2014: 4,772,000 carats)
  6. Namibia (2014: 1,941,000 carats)
  7. Ivory Coast (2014: 1,074,000 carats)
  8. Sierra Leone (2014: 517,000 carats)
  9. Lesotho (2014: 346,000 carats)
  10. Tanzania (2001: 253,000 carats)

Source: British Geological Survey.Retrieved December 15, 2017

With an annual production volume of 6.7 million carats, the Catoca mine in Angola is one of the fifth largest diamond mines in the world. Sixth place goes to the Venetia mine (3.06 million carats) in the Limpopo province of South Africa. The Jwaneng mine in Botswana follows in eighth place and the Orapa mine in Botswana ranks ninth.

Source: Westphalian precious metal wholesale and exploitation - The largest diamond mines in the world from February 18, 2015

Sierra Leone - home of the blood diamonds

Bloody fights are funded through the illegal sale of diamonds.

In 1970 Sierra Leone took fifth place. English geologists found the first diamonds 40 years ago. From around 1994 the RUF financed their fights with diamonds, which had a major influence on the development of the term blood diamonds.

“The profit margin of diamond dealers is often several hundred percent. On the way from the prospector and a number of middlemen to the exporter, the price of rough diamonds increases many times over. In between there is slavery, blood and death. "

told journalist Michael Obert.

In 2000, the West African country was given an ambargo for diamonds by the United Nations. Thereby the government created a certification system to guarantee the origin. With the Kimberley Process, the import and export of raw dimensions - through state certificates of origin - has been established internationally since 2003. The diamond industry has thus agreed on a self-regulation mechanism.

Hollywood and the blood diamonds

Blood Diamond

In 2006, director Edward Zwick filmed the blood diamond trade against the backdrop of the civil war in Sierra Leone Adventure thriller "Blood Diamond" starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly.

Blood Diamond - Trailer HD German

"The film takes up topics such as the diamond trade, conflict diamonds, international arms trade, corruption, networking between government, mercenary and rebel troops, the use of child soldiers and the traumatization of the population in war zones," says the short description of the film. He received in 2007 five Oscar nominations. The film conveys up close what a sad story lies behind the most beautiful gemstones in the world.

More movies

The plot in the James Bond film "Die Another Day" is largely devoted to smuggling blood diamonds. Schwarze Dimanten (2007) and Lord of War (2005) also refer to the problem.

In the drama by Andrew Niccol, the business of Yuri Orlov (played by Nicolas Cage) is portrayed as an international wagon dealer. The main character opens the film with the following sentences: “There are over 550 million firearms in circulation around the world. That means every twelfth person on this planet has a firearm. That leads to one question, how do you arm the other eleven. "

The film shows how Yuri became an arms dealer.