Why are Zimbabwe diamonds cheaper? Avoid getting cheated by your jeweller when you make your next purchase!

Simply put, Zimbabwe diamonds are, well, diamonds mined in Zimbabwe. So, what’s the big deal? Read on to save yourself from being cheated when buying diamonds!

Zimbabwe Diamonds : Origin

Before 2006, most of the diamonds mined in Zimbabwe were an ‘accidental find’. The Marange diamond fields, supposedly the World’s richest diamond deposits, were ‘discovered’ in 2006, which led to a diamond frenzy. Illegal miners began selling their diamond finds outside the country and by 2008, the government led by Robert Mugabe started a bloody and brutal crackdown on illegal mining.  There were reports of forced labour, torture and mass killings by the military and it was alleged that mining was carried out to benefit the politicians and high-ranking officials of the government.

“Zimbabwean diamonds are no longer ‘clean.’ They bear the blood of Zimbabweans, shot down by their own government. They are produced from mines that benefit political and military gangsters, and they are smuggled out of the country by the bucket-load.”

– Partnership Africa Canada, (PAC) March 2009

Diamond mining
Image source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/the-flawed-diamond-sale-sanctions-lifted-on-gemstones-from-zimbabwe-9006352.html

The US and EU had already banned trade with the Zimbabwean state-owned mining company amidst reports that it was used to fund Mugabe’s political party. With pressure increasing from the international community, Kimberly Process (KP), the international watchdog formed to stem the flow of conflict diamonds, put a ban on Zimbabwe diamonds in 2009. Diamonds from Zimbabwe started appearing on the black market at upto 50% lower prices compared to similar quality diamonds from other sources. When the KP ban was lifted in 2011 and with the US and EU bans still in place, Marange diamonds found their way to India. They were still at least 25% cheaper than other rough diamonds and subsequently the cut and polished diamonds from these Zimbabwe diamonds started selling in the market at 15-20% cheaper prices than other diamonds. Also, a lot of industry players are still hesitant to trade in Zimbabwe diamonds, thereby ensuring that these diamonds are traded at a ‘discount’. EU lifted the sanctions on Zimbabwe diamonds in late 2013.

Zimbabwe Diamonds

Image source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/world/africa/22zimbabwe.html

How Are Zimbabwe Diamonds Different?

Generally, diamonds from South Africa, Canada, Russia and other sources exhibit a yellow tint of color and sometimes a brown tint (brown tint diamonds trade at lower prices than those with a yellow tint but I shall be covering this in a later post). These diamonds are also know in the trade as ‘Syndicate Diamonds’. Peculiarly, most diamonds from Zimbabwe have a green tint. Infact, more than 50% of the green diamonds in the world are from Zimbabwe (The fancy green color diamonds are entirely different altogether) and it would be safe to assume that almost all green tint diamonds in the Indian market originate from Zimbabwe. The shades range from a very light green tinge to a really dark, dirty looking yellowish-green color.

So, what does this mean?

Well, when you buy a diamond and if it has a green-tinge, then you should not be paying the same price that you would pay for a yellow-tinge diamond, since if you get a Zimbabwe diamond it should be priced cheaper. The issue arises when your jeweller does not disclose to you that he is selling you a Zimbabwe diamond and you happily purchase from him because he is giving you a lower price than another jeweller who is actually quoting the price for a non-Zimbabwe diamond. Worse, you might be charged the same price and end up with a Zimbabwe diamond. It may not be a crime to buy Zimbabwe diamonds since the international sanctions have been lifted but it is definitely necessary to know what you are buying to avoid overpaying for your diamond purchase!

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below. 

Additional reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberley_Process_Certification_Scheme

http://rough-polished.com/en/analytics/97831.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/the-flawed-diamond-sale-sanctions-lifted-on-gemstones-from-zimbabwe-9006352.html

3 thoughts on “Why are Zimbabwe diamonds cheaper? Avoid getting cheated by your jeweller when you make your next purchase!

Add yours

  1. I have newly started learning and working with one of the company in surat and looking forward diamond as my career in success. i just went through your blog about zimba diamond and the tragedy that arouse during peak time and how it changed market worlwide for zimba diamonds.I need to understand much deeper the diffrence between zimba diamonds and syndicate diamonds and all of the other types of diamond and there characterstics , please help me suggesting a book or any website regarding all these types and there characterstics and there values in market. It would be of great help from you
    Thankyou.

    Like

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