Maendeleo Diamond Standards™

The Maendeleo Diamond Standards certification system is a unique effort to support artisanal diamond miners and their communities and to ensure their inclusion in the broader process of promoting responsible supply chains. Maendeleo is a Swahili word meaning “development” and “progress.”

Maendeleo Diamonds are diamonds that are artisanally mined in conflict-free zones and produced safely in consenting and engaged communities through violence-free operations with respect for human and worker rights using practices that promote environmental responsibility.  

DDI is currently implementing the Maendeleo Diamond Standards in 14 communities in Sierra Leone and preparing implementation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

How it works

Steps in the Certification Process

Why this program is important

By ensuring fair treatment for artisanal miners, their communities and the environment, the Maendeleo Diamond Standards (MDS) respond to consumer demand for ethical jewelry and the industry’s need for responsibly-mined diamonds.

Benefits to artisanal miners

Artisanal miners – the most vulnerable group of diamond miners – are the key stakeholders in the Maendeleo Diamond Standards system. Integrated into all aspects of mining operations, the Standards contribute to the improvement of the socio-economic conditions of miners by ensuring fair treatment and environmentally sustainable practices. In addition, the Maendeleo Diamond Standards empower miners to take their place in the responsible-sourcing supply chain, from mine to retail.

Benefits to local governments

The Maendeleo Diamond Standards can contribute significantly to the formalization of artisanal diamond mining in countries that produce alluvial diamonds. They are rooted in, complement, and enhance relevant laws and regulations in producing countries because the application of the standards is subject to audit, assessment and certification. As artisanally-mined diamonds become part of the formal economy, they are traceable and taxable by the local government.

The Maendeleo Diamond Standards support the Kimberley Process (KP) Certification Scheme’s conflict-free and internal controls requirements, while also helping countries go beyond KP standards to focus on environmental and social practices.

Benefits to industry and consumers

The Maendeleo Diamond Standards provide the only dedicated certification system for artisanal diamond production. By connecting the supply chain from source to retail, MDS provides the diamond and jewelry industry with diamonds that carry third-party certification of ethical mining, and consumers with the assurance that their diamond was responsibly-sourced and contributed to a community’s development.

The Maendeleo Diamond Standards were developed with support from a number of donors that have funded the Diamond Development Initiative: the Anglo-American Group Foundation, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, Brilliant Earth, the De Beers Group of Companies, the Government of Angola, the International Diamond Manufacturers Association, Jewelers of America, Rio Tinto Diamonds, The Tiffany and Co. Foundation and the World Federation of Diamonds.

In Sierra Leone, the implementation of the Maendeleo Diamond Standards program has been funded by GIZ on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany, and The Tiffany & Co. Foundation. Previous activities were funded by Cartier International and Brilliant Earth.