Tag Archives: Diamond Empowerment Fund

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.


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.

The Jewelry Insider

January 15, 2009

SpongeBob SquarePants is turning 10 this year (feeling old now?), and to celebrate he’s getting a blingy makeover from hip-hop and fashion impresario, Russell Simmons.

Isn’t that what every sea-dwelling sponge lives for?

Simmons Jewelry
is collaborating with Nickelodeon/Viacom Consumer Products on a SpongeBob SqaurePants jewelry and watch line that will hit stores in time for fall. In the meantime, a signature SpongeBob pendant is being auctioned off for Simmons’ Diamond Empowerment Fund and is making its glittering debut at the Sundance Film Festival this week, where they are staging the first-ever SpongeBob live cast reading.

One lucky kid will get to wear a whopping 12 carat diamond-encrusted SpongeBob around their little neck if the ‘rents pony up. The design is an abstract interpretation of Mr. SquarePants and includes white diamonds as well as color enhanced yellow, red and blue diamonds set in 18KT yellow and white gold.

“We are always looking for innovative ideas to develop fine jewelry and the Nickelodeon partnership to license SpongeBob is the perfect addition to the Simmons Jewelry Co. family,” said Russell Simmons, who will be on-hand to announce the partnership at Sundance.

The entire retail collection will feature a variety of designs using enamel, gold, silver, and diamonds. Prices will range from $150 to $75,000 clams.

Getting “Happy Squared” never looked this good.