| || Argyle is an open-cast mine that taps the world’s biggest diamond deposit, which on its own produces 20 percent of the world’s production. However, most of these gems are of poor quality, destined for drill bits, the teeth of metal saws, or industrial sanders. Only a tiny proportion—5 percent—is cut into precious stones, and these are carefully selected. Pink diamonds, which are the rarest, can be worth tens of thousands of dollars once set into a piece of jewelry. For beautiful, colorless “stones,” diamond merchants turn to Africa; since January 2003, however, merchants have been required to make sure that the stones they buy are not “conﬂict diamonds,” whose revenue ﬁnances the vicious wars tearing apart countries such as Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone. Although they account for only a small proportion of the market, an international certiﬁcation system called the Kimberley process has been put in place to ban them.
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