Blo od Diamonds in Si erra Leone. By: Michelle Kloda Liliana Rzepecka. Photo Credit: Angelo Flickr. Background Information on Sierra, Leone.
Photo Credit: Angelo
on Sierra, Leone
Sierra Leone is a small country located in West Africa, and bordering the North Atlantic Ocean. It has four distinct geographical regions which include coastal mangrove swamps, the wooded hill country, an upland plateau and the eastern mountains. (Economic Commission for Africa)
Photo Credit: Andriyko_UA
It was a former British colony that won its independence in 1960, but the diamond history of Sierra Leone had begun in 1935. All of the smuggling of diamonds though, had become economic and political problems in 1961, after the county gained its independence. De Beers was a diamond company from London, and took control of the diamond trade in Sierra Leone. As a result of all the fighting over diamonds and civil wars, Sierra Leone suffered terrible costs politically and economically. (Blood Diamonds: The Conflict in Sierra Leone)
Photo Credit: Duke MBA Footprints
Diamonds in Sierra Leone are the most known minerals for making jewelry. Those diamonds are of the best quality today. This is why the problem of blood diamonds is occurring in Sierra Leone. (Blood Diamonds: The Conflict in Sierra Leone)
Photo Credit: Tataza Diamonds
A diamond is an allotrope of carbon, where carbon is arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure.
Hardness: Diamond is a perfect "10", defining the top of the hardness scale, and by absolute measures four times harder than sapphire
Color is variable and tends toward pale yellows, browns, grays, and also white, blue, black, reddish, greenish and colorless.
Luster is adamantine to waxy.
Cleavage is perfect in 4 directions forming octahedrons.
(Amethyst Galleries' Mineral Gallery)
Since 1991, when Revolutionary United Front (RUF) took over the country, people of Sierra Leone are terrorized by the members of RUF. The country is full of corruption because the main goal of RUF is to control the diamond mines. The group takes innocent people and imprisons them, and later makes them work in the mines. It is also a major issue because Diamond Trafficking in Sierra Leone involves child labor. Many of the children working in the mines are between ages 7-16 from all different kinds of backgrounds. It is terrible for these people to work there, because of the horrible conditions, and punishments for smallest mistakes. (IHS Child Slave Labor)
The children in these mines are willing to dig until they find the “magic stone”. Many of these children are working without pay and don’t know their rights as human beings. They have the impression that for all the work in the mines, they might get a pair of sneakers, but really it is all they do not realize that instead of working in the mines for sneakers, they could make their own decisions and get freedom. The child labor activists call these diamonds “blood diamonds” to describe the jewels that the children work to mine everyday. (IHS Child Slave Labor)
Photo Credit: Jean-Claude Coutausse/ CONTACT Press Images
All the activities in Sierra Leone done by RUF were ignored by the for many years. A recent study done by UN shows outside world that about 125 million dollars worth of diamonds were bought by companies from all around the world from Sierra Leone. Because of this money, many innocent people died or were forced to labor in tragic conditions. (Stop Blood Diamonds)
Recently, actions to stop Revolutionary United Front were taken by United Nations. Ever since UN got involved with the situation of diamond trafficking in Sierra Leone, the illegal activities decreased and diamonds are traded according to the law. Still, traders and buyers should look deeper into source from which they get their diamonds. If everyone did, then those people that have to labor would not be hurt and they would not be forced to slave in the mines, because RUF would not get any money from the diamonds. Buyers should always ask questions about the source of their diamonds, because the product they might be buying, might be a blood diamond. (Stop Blood Diamonds)
Photo Credit: Donald G. NcNeil
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