A guest post by Courtney E. Miller
“A diamond is a girl’s best friend.” Or is it? The exceptionally hard, brilliant stone has been portrayed in movies and advertisements as the object of many a girl’s fantasy. Women in the US and increasingly around the world are told by the media to expect nothing less than a diamond ring as a token of engagement, and the message seems to work. In 2007, global diamond jewelry sales reached more than US $70 billion. But this symbol of eternal love has been tainted by the existence of bloody conflicts in African countries fueled by the global diamond trade. In 2002, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was established to reduce such conflicts, and to ensure that globally traded diamonds come strictly from “conflict-free” areas. Recently, significant criticisms of the KPCS have brought its effectiveness into question.