'Blood Diamond' compels Diamond council to educate

LOS ANGELES: The World Diamond Council (WDC) is deeply involved in an extensive education campaign to counter the belief that "blood diamonds" are still circulating within the jewelry industry, coinciding with the resurgence of "blood" or conflict diamonds as pop-culture story lines.

LOS ANGELES: The World Diamond Council (WDC) is deeply involved in an extensive education campaign to counter the belief that "blood diamonds" are still circulating within the jewelry industry, coinciding with the resurgence of "blood" or conflict diamonds as pop-culture story lines.

WDC's most recent move, launching Web site diamondfacts.org last week to further education, serves as the "epicenter" of the campaign which began in the summer, according to Carson Glover, media representative for the New York-based global trade organization.

The most recent conflict diamond storyline involves the marketing of the Leonardo DiCaprio movie Blood Diamond, which will hit theatres on December 15 release. A 2006 Tom Zoellner book and 2005 Kayne West music video and also tackled the subject.

"The misconception is, people think [this] is still going on," Glover said of the conflict diamond practice - where, essentially, profits from the sale of rebel-seized diamonds were used to finance civil wars in various African countries. "These things bring the issue back to consumers' minds. But it's a great hook to talk about what the industry has done."

Last Wednesday, the WDC placed ads in 10 US, British, and South African newspapers directing readers to the site, which contains "a wealth of information" and discussion points regarding the Kimberly Process, an UN-sanctioned certification method implemented in 2003 to eradicate the conflict-diamond trade, according to Glover.

Outreach components include outreach to key diamond trade, press, and retail groups, as well as print advertisements. Additionally, the WDC partnered with Los Angeles-based Sitrick and Company to develop a strategic communications plan with entertainment organizations and movie studios, including Blood Diamond producer Warner Bros.

"When you talk specifically about [Blood Diamond], it's a story that needs to be told so history doesn't repeat itself," Glover said. "But it needs to be put in correct historical context."

According to a Warner Bros. studio spokesperson, who wished to remain anonymous, the film is entirely fictional and shouldn't pose a problem for the diamond industry.

"We support all efforts that educate the trade and public on conflict diamonds," she said. While Blood Diamond does depict conflict-diamond atrocities, she noted, it takes place in Sierra Leone "in the late '90s, prior to the Kimberly Process."

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