Tag Archives: blood diamonds

Naomi Campbell’s Diamond Disaster

Saucy supermodel, Naomi Campbell, unwisely added an ‘icy’ altercation over a diamond to her long list of offenses this week. If you thought that sentence was bizarre wait ’til you hear the details. Apparently actress/activist Mia Farrow (of all people) told ABC news that Campbell bragged about receiving a blood diamond from one Charles Taylor, a former Liberian strongman on trial for war crimes. When an ABC television reporter broached the subject with the always even-tempered Naomi, well, you can guess what happened: a. something was hurled b. someone was hit c. something was smashed d. all of the above The answer this time is only “c” – a camera was the collateral damage of one very angry supermodel who responded before hitting a TV camera and leaving in a huff: “I didn’t receive a diamond and I’m not going to speak about that.” Will Woody Allen’s former mate convince Woody Allen’s former muse? Stay tuned…

In Defense of Diamonds

Jewelry hounds, I don’t have to convince you that wearing shiny things is a great way to feel fabulous. And while our gawking at 10-carat rocks on celebrity ring fingers isn’t getting us any closer to a solution to global warming, it’s good harmless fun for the most part, right?

Sometimes, though, jewelry can bring with it its share of controversy.

Many potential diamond jewelry buyers, for example, might be turned off by the prospect that the stone they purchase could unknowingly support a terrorist regime in Africa (aka: ‘blood’ or ‘conflict’ diamonds).

We all saw the Leo movie, ‘Blood Diamond’. Many of us saw the 60 Minutes expose a few years’ back. And recently, we’ve all seen the ‘eco-friendly’ adverts pumping up the ‘conflict-free’ status of their jewels and gems. And good for them.

However.

While one blood diamond sold to a consumer is one diamond too many – there’s too much misinformation about the ‘prevelance’ of these stones on the market than is warranted by all the media coverage.

Conflict diamonds captured the world’s attention during the extremely brutal conflict in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s. During this time, it is estimated that conflict diamonds represented approximately 4% of the world’s diamond production. Not 40% or even 14%. 4%.

Through UN measures like The Kimberley Process and other national regulations, the truth is there are very few conflict diamonds slipping through the system these days – less than 1%, according to DiamondFacts.org. In other words, I’d have a better chance of understanding an episode of ‘Lost’ than unwittingly purchasing a conflict stone.

Again, I’m not advocating that we shouldn’t get that less than 1% stat down to zero – but consumers should know that the diamonds they buy from major retailers like Zales, Sears, JCPenney, Macy’s, Kay Jewelers and most independent jewelers all abide by the regulations that have been in place for over seven years now. So you don’t need to go to a ‘green’ jewelry outlet or sift through vintage styles when you want a politically correct, shiny new diamond piece to add to your wardrobe – 99% of the diamonds on the market today fit that bill.

And for you do-gooder divas who still aren’t convinced, consider this: The vast majority of diamonds come from countries at peace in Africa. These countries have been able to invest the revenue from diamonds into the development of infrastructure, schools and hospitals for the good of the communities in which diamonds are found. Check out Russell Simmons’ worthy charity, The Diamond Empowerment Fund for more on that.

So, ok. End of soap box. Diamonds don’t need a defense attorney – they need to be worn, loved and enjoyed – especially this time of year (Valentine’s Day hints should start now, ladies). I just read one too many ‘eco’ diamond ads, and had to vent.

What do you all think of the topic? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Hollywood, Diamonds, War and Wealth

The release this week of ‘The Blood Diamond’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio has been plagued by controversy and debate.

blooddiamond-movie-poster-sml

The movie, set in Sierra Leone in 1999, follows the trail of a South African diamond hunter through the war-racked country as he searches for an elusive pink diamond hidden in a diamond field controlled by Sierra Leone?s guerilla force – the RUF.

Before the movie had even hit theaters, there had been international coverage surrounding the role diamonds have (or more to the point had) played in the civil war in Sierra Leone. Jewelry.com decided to wait and actually see the movie before talking about the facts, the fiction and the current reality of Sierra Leone and its diamond industry.

The movie itself is a great movie. It?s full of action, incredible performances by both Leonardo Di Caprio and Djimon Hounsou and stunning cinematography contrasting horrific images detailing the brutal civil war that continues in pockets of the country today with the country’s heavenly natural landscape.

The factual response by the diamond industry to the illegal transactions of conflict diamonds is where truth becomes overruled by fiction for the sake of a good story. After all, what excitement is there in noting that over six years ago, the international diamond industry met and outlawed all conflict diamonds? What story telling would it be, if the writers noted that no rough diamonds can be sold or bought without a certificate of origin? What suspense could be created in depicting how the diamond industry immediately reacted, together with Amnesty and Global Witness (two human rights organizations), in ensuring conflict diamonds would not be traded in the legitimate diamond industry and not one conflict diamond would enter the shores of the U.S.

The atrocities inflicted by the RUF are legendary for their callousness and total disregard for human life. The rebel force is not so much intent on overthrowing the government, rather on raping its country of its natural wealth for the benefit of despots whose aim is to enrich themselves from the blood of their own. In a weird twist of fate, diamonds were to become a plague for the country, rather than a benefit.

Other African nations have used the income they?ve earned from diamond sales to build peace and economic stability for all. South Africa, Botswana, Namibia are just some African countries, which, as succinctly stated by the government of Botswana ‘are using diamonds to transform the lives of our people.’

The movie brings to the fore an important issue, that of the plunder and rape of a country?s resource to enrich gun-welding monsters. It?s an emotional telling of a story that unfortunately is happening throughout the world over a variety of different resources. From liberty to oil, religious freedom to water. It’s a story that needs to be told over and over as long as the violence continues.

It’s an important message, but so is the message that 10 million people earn a living from diamonds. Not just the dealers in Europe or the retailers on 5th Avenue, but millions in Africa and India who would, quite literally, starve if not for the diamonds they work with. It’s the children in Botswana who are guaranteed an education until they are 13, thanks to the country’s diamond sales. It’s the health care all their citizens receive, paid for by diamond sales. It’s the hope for a continuing stable future for so many Southern African
countries due to their diamond riches, which they cherish and work, as nature intended.

It is a great movie and quite deservedly should be up there in many of the Oscar categories, Di Caprio surely is a shoe-in for a nomination, but first take a look at www.diamondfacts.org, so you see the whole picture. After all, there’s nothing worse than a blocked view.

Hollywood, Diamonds, War and Wealth

The release this week of ‘The Blood Diamond’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio has been plagued by controversy and debate.

blooddiamond-movie-poster-sml

The movie, set in Sierra Leone in 1999, follows the trail of a South African diamond hunter through the war-racked country as he searches for an elusive pink diamond hidden in a diamond field controlled by Sierra Leone?s guerilla force – the RUF.

Before the movie had even hit theaters, there had been international coverage surrounding the role diamonds have (or more to the point had) played in the civil war in Sierra Leone. Jewelry.com decided to wait and actually see the movie before talking about the facts, the fiction and the current reality of Sierra Leone and its diamond industry.

The movie itself is a great movie. It?s full of action, incredible performances by both Leonardo Di Caprio and Djimon Hounsou and stunning cinematography contrasting horrific images detailing the brutal civil war that continues in pockets of the country today with the country’s heavenly natural landscape.

The factual response by the diamond industry to the illegal transactions of conflict diamonds is where truth becomes overruled by fiction for the sake of a good story. After all, what excitement is there in noting that over six years ago, the international diamond industry met and outlawed all conflict diamonds? What story telling would it be, if the writers noted that no rough diamonds can be sold or bought without a certificate of origin? What suspense could be created in depicting how the diamond industry immediately reacted, together with Amnesty and Global Witness (two human rights organizations), in ensuring conflict diamonds would not be traded in the legitimate diamond industry and not one conflict diamond would enter the shores of the U.S.

The atrocities inflicted by the RUF are legendary for their callousness and total disregard for human life. The rebel force is not so much intent on overthrowing the government, rather on raping its country of its natural wealth for the benefit of despots whose aim is to enrich themselves from the blood of their own. In a weird twist of fate, diamonds were to become a plague for the country, rather than a benefit.

Other African nations have used the income they?ve earned from diamond sales to build peace and economic stability for all. South Africa, Botswana, Namibia are just some African countries, which, as succinctly stated by the government of Botswana ‘are using diamonds to transform the lives of our people.’

The movie brings to the fore an important issue, that of the plunder and rape of a country?s resource to enrich gun-welding monsters. It?s an emotional telling of a story that unfortunately is happening throughout the world over a variety of different resources. From liberty to oil, religious freedom to water. It’s a story that needs to be told over and over as long as the violence continues.

It’s an important message, but so is the message that 10 million people earn a living from diamonds. Not just the dealers in Europe or the retailers on 5th Avenue, but millions in Africa and India who would, quite literally, starve if not for the diamonds they work with. It’s the children in Botswana who are guaranteed an education until they are 13, thanks to the country’s diamond sales. It’s the health care all their citizens receive, paid for by diamond sales. It’s the hope for a continuing stable future for so many Southern African
countries due to their diamond riches, which they cherish and work, as nature intended.

It is a great movie and quite deservedly should be up there in many of the Oscar categories, Di Caprio surely is a shoe-in for a nomination, but first take a look at www.diamondfacts.org, so you see the whole picture. After all, there’s nothing worse than a blocked view.