Some of the criticisms lobbed at the protocol--the difficulty of segregating production, the extra costs, its potential impact on artisanal miners and the three-year lawsuit clause--are not invalid points. I am inclined, though, to see how the protocol plays out over time, including how many jewelers actually adopt it, before passing judgment on these issues.

The protocol, at the end of the day, is voluntary. If you are the type of jeweler that does not want to deal in goods from a specific entity or country, let’s just say for example Zimbabwe (strictly a completely random example, of course), then you can use the protocol to receive legal assurance that your diamonds did not originate there and you will work to find suppliers who are willing to play along.

If you don’t care, feel that your business can’t bear the extra costs or don’t have time for the added hassle, then don’t use the protocol or don’t deal with retailers that want to use it. It’s as simple as that.

Outside of the critiques of the protocol listed above, there was another that popped up in post-event coverage that I think can be answered more easily right now. And that is: why weren’t industry parties outside of JA, the DMIA and the JVC consulted in the development of the protocol?

The answer, I believe, is pretty obvious: the industry collectively struggles to come together and make decisions in a timely manner.

Let’s look at one example from the recent congress.

For months leading up to the event, it was obvious that the industry felt that it had to do something about the dearth of generic marketing for diamonds. I observed as much in a past blog, and a number of players at the congress actually labeled the lack of promotion, and resulting drop in consumer demand, as the industry’s single biggest problem right now.

To this end, at the congress the World Federation of Diamond Bourses announced a new “partnership initiative” called the World Diamond Mark.

According to a release on the mark (though I could wallpaper my apartment with the volume of congress press releases I received, I somehow missed this one), it will be based in Hong Kong and is “the new marketing arm of the entire diamond and diamond jewelry industry.” More details on the mark apparently are forthcoming, as is its website, which officially is slated to launch in January.

The creation of the mark comes a few years after the failure of a marketing body called the International Diamond Board (IDB), the industry’s 2009 attempt at creating a worldwide generic marketing campaign for diamonds.

The IDB died a slow death over many months, and here we are three years later, starting at square one again with this new World Diamond Mark.

Given the industry’s track record on coming to agreements, it’s no wonder why JA, the DMIA and the JVC didn’t want to bring the protocol to the broader global table. It would have been bogged down in endless political wrangling for years, and even may have eventually just died on the vine. And perhaps these organizations feel that they didn’t have that kind of time to waste, especially considering the possibility that diamonds could be added to the portion of the U.S.’s Dodd-Frank Act that regulates sourcing of "conflict" minerals.

As the saying goes, sometimes it’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask permission.

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