Favoured for its cheap labour and fast turnaround, Surat is the go to polishing centre for small diamonds. However, allegations of child labour and poor working conditions have long plagued the city and a recent article published by Foreign Policy gives a very good outline of the key concerns involved with the polishing sector. The article also outlines the limitations of the Kimberley Process.
Currently, the Kimberley Process only covers the import and export of rough diamonds. Smugglers looking to avoid the need for a Kimberley Process certificate can easily arrange for a ‘window’ to be polished onto the stone and the stone would no longer need a Kimberley Process certificate to be exported. Any new certification scheme would have to cover polished stones to close this loophole and ensure that the conditions under which the stones are polished are in line with international standards. The problem of ‘blood diamonds’ does not end at the mine. The polishing sector must also clean up its practices if we are to truly move from ‘conflict diamonds’ to ‘development diamonds.’