Diamonds in the Rust by Sondra Stewart

I wish my wife would read this list. I saw a documentary on PBS about De Beers that totally turned me off to supporting this industry in any way. Liz Stanton has summarized much of the ugly side of this beautiful gem.

Also see Apollo: Real diamonds "grown" in a machine.

Ten Reasons Why You Should Never Accept a Diamond Ring from Anyone, Under Any Circumstances, Even If They Really Want to Give You One - Dead Link


Since link died, read cached copy below.

The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit, and Desire

(2/14/02)

By Liz Stanton, CPE Staff Economist

1. You've Been Psychologically Conditioned To Want a Diamond
The diamond engagement ring is a 63-year-old invention of N.W.Ayer advertising agency. The De Beers diamond cartel contracted N.W.Ayer to create a demand for what are, essentially, useless hunks of rock.

2. Diamonds are Priced Well Above Their Value
The De Beers cartel has systematically held diamond prices at levels far greater than their abundance would generate under anything even remotely resembling perfect competition. All diamonds not already under its control are bought by the cartel, and then the De Beers cartel carefully managed world diamond supply in order to keep prices steadily high.

3. Diamonds Have No Resale or Investment Value
Any diamond that you buy or receive will indeed be yours forever: De Beers’ advertising deliberately brain-washed women not to sell; the steady price is a tool to prevent speculation in diamonds; and no dealer will buy a diamond from you. You can only sell it at a diamond purchasing center or a pawn shop where you will receive a tiny fraction of its original "value."

4. Diamond Miners are Disproportionately Exposed to HIV/AIDS
Many diamond mining camps enforce all-male, no-family rules. Men contract HIV/AIDS from camp sex-workers, while women married to miners have no access to employment, no income outside of their husbands and no bargaining power for negotiating safe sex, and thus are at extremely high risk of contracting HIV.

5. Open-Pit Diamond Mines Pose Environmental Threats
Diamond mines are open pits where salts, heavy minerals, organisms, oil, and chemicals from mining equipment freely leach into ground-water, endangering people in nearby mining camps and villages, as well as downstream plants and animals.

6. Diamond Mine-Owners Violate Indigenous People's Rights
Diamond mines in Australia, Canada, India and many countries in Africa are situated on lands traditionally associated with indigenous peoples. Many of these communities have been displaced, while others remain, often at great cost to their health, livelihoods and traditional cultures.

7. Slave Laborers Cut and Polish Diamonds
More than one-half of the world's diamonds are processed in India where many of the cutters and polishers are bonded child laborers. Bonded children work to pay off the debts of their relatives, often unsuccessfully. When they reach adulthood their debt is passed on to their younger siblings or to their own children.

8. Conflict Diamonds Fund Civil Wars in Africa
There is no reliable way to insure that your diamond was not mined or stolen by government or rebel military forces in order to finance civil conflict. Conflict diamonds are traded either for guns or for cash to pay and feed soldiers.

9. Diamond Wars are Fought Using Child Warriors
Many diamond producing governments and rebel forces use children as soldiers, laborers in military camps, and sex slaves. Child soldiers are given drugs to overcome their fear and reluctance to participate in atrocities.

10. Small Arms Trade is Intimately Related to Diamond Smuggling
Illicit diamonds inflame the clandestine trade of small arms. There are 500 million small arms in the world today which are used to kill 500,000 people annually, the vast majority of whom are non-combatants.

References:

Collier, Paul, "Economic Causes of Civil Conflict and Their Implications for Policy," World Bank, June 15, 2000.

Epstein, Edward Jay, "Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?", The Atlantic Monthly, February 1982. http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/82feb/8202diamond1.htm

Global Witness, "Conflict Diamonds: Possibilities for the Identification, Certification and Control of Diamonds," A Briefing Document, June 2000, http://www.globalwitness.org/text/campaigns/diamonds/reports.html

Human Rights Watch/Asia, "The Small Hands of Slavery: Bonded Child Labor In India," Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Project, http://www.hrw.org/reports/1996/India3.htm .

Human Rights Watch, "Children’s Rights: Stop the Use of Child Soldiers;" http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/crp/index.htm .

Kerlin, Katherine "Diamonds Aren’t Forever: Environmental Degradation and Civil War in the Gem Trade," The Environment Magazine, http://www.emagazine.com/september-october_2001/0901gl_consumer.html .

Le Billon, Philippe, "Angola’s Political Economy of War: The Role of Oil and Diamonds, 1975-2000," African Affairs, (2001), 100, p.55-80.

Mines and Communities, "The Mining Curse: The roles of mining in ‘underdeveloped’ economies," Minewatch Asia Pacific/Nostromo Briefing Paper, February 1999, http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Country/curse.htm .

Other Facets, Number 1, April 2001; Number 2, June 2001; Number 3, October 2001, http://www.pacweb.org/ .

© 2002 Center for Popular Economics

The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit, and Desire

Related Posts

ummm..me? — 04 June 2007, 08:26

na i like Austrian-Cristal better any ways n opal more sparkly n groovy ;) "n yes from what i know most of its true about diamonds .."

Brent — 04 June 2007, 09:30

yeah, I can't say I know any of these ascertains are true, but I've seen reports saying similar things, so I'm at least suspicious at least some are true, and that's enough to turn me off on the African mining diamond industry.

bob dobolina — 04 June 2007, 10:55

I guess "Not a Lemming" somehow missed the nine sourced references following the article.

Sam — 04 June 2007, 18:33http://soca-warrior.stumbleupon.com

an 11th reason:

Did any of you watch Blood Diamond

Brandon S — 04 June 2007, 18:56

About conflict diamonds... I think DeBeers has reduced the number of conflict diamonds sold a year to well under 0.5%. About diamonds being just rocks that DeBeers has marketed to represent love... that's clearly true. And DeBeers strangle hold on the diamond Industy, controlling prices... That's very true.

lexi — 04 June 2007, 22:48

unfortunately, i agree with this article. but there arent many other options availible. my fiance and i are considering other stones but many are too soft to wear consistently and apollo doesnt sell loose diamonds or even diamonds over 3/4 of a carat. so far true, minded diamonds are the most resilient and easily available stones we have found. (but we also like moissanite.)

lexi — 04 June 2007, 22:50

roflrolforlf... i meant "available" and "mined"

stfu, im tired.

inayet — 05 June 2007, 00:44

My future wife will not be getting a diamond. Thanks for the posting.

Larissa — 05 June 2007, 07:47http://www.larissadahroug.com

I am a jewelry artist. I make one of a kind hand fabricated work which means a lot of bridal/wedding jewelry. I refuse to use diamonds of any kind in my work because of the vulgarity of the diamond trade. Diamonds aren't that rare...in short aren't that special. Plus so many people are exploited in the process, including, in my opinion, the consumer.
It is the responsibility of all consumers to be informed about the purchases they make. It is also the responsibility of artists, craftspeople and retailers to bring products of integrity to market. Stop using diamonds in your work and people will stop buying them. Anyone who has doubts about the gratuitous and vulgar nature of the diamond industry should make a trip to Africa and see for themselves. If you are fighting in favor of diamonds you should be asking yourself why. Why are you so attached to a small chunk of stone when children are starving not just across the world, but in your own neighborhood?

this and that — 05 June 2007, 14:47

i think the appeal of diamonds for engagement rings is their resilience to damage and the symbolic value of having something that "lasts forever." also, it seems like diamond trading has been going on for thousands of years, not just the past 63. on that note, i've seen enough documentaries and read enough articles on the diamond trade to to never wish to own one, nor purchase one for a loved one.

Brent — 05 June 2007, 15:37

Do the African mines supply other gems as well?

mc — 06 June 2007, 19:26

chill out- I like em! each to their own- everyone has something they don't like- perhaps the sweat shops where YOUR clothing is made- Think about it!

Charlie — 06 June 2007, 20:23

and what is your point MC?

mc — 06 June 2007, 21:01

Point being that there are so many products that we all use day to day and that a good many of them have unpleasantries associated with their production. I personally would not wear Ivory- due to the slaughter of such a magnificent species and the crime associated with the trade, and injury or death of ivory smugglers who don't get to their destination. Thats MY personal choice. Do you see what I mean? There are countless products that unfortunately add to the toll of human and other casualties along the line of their production. Diamonds are not the only one. I watched Blood Diamond and was very moved by it- a very chilling tale.

treehugger — 07 June 2007, 18:32www.greenkarat.com

Check out www.greenkarat.com. They recycle material.

tits — 08 June 2007, 14:37

Diamonds are have many uses: my dentist had a diamond toothed saw... industries use diamonds for machining thanks to the fact that it is the hardest material we know of. Not just a useless hunk of rock.

yeesh — 08 June 2007, 15:26

yeeesh...I was born in april. I hope this isn't detrimental to my moral refinement or character or something.

MrsPea — 09 June 2007, 18:40

I love my diamond ring. I intend to keep it forever. And that's that. I don't care about whether or not I'm going to get enough for it... because I am never going to sell it. Second, although diamonds may not be rare, they are all unique. Last, what proof is there that any of this information is true? I think this is a bunch of garbage that someone (for example, a jeweler that specialized in pearls) came up with to get their major competition out of the game. I'll tell you what, it's not going to work.

triminute — 09 June 2007, 22:20

It's funny how people can get the historical and social lessons from the great god "hollywood" or believe all the sensationalist tripe that someone generates to sell a book.......in order to make a reasonable decision on a large monetary investment or one more importantly to symbolize the bond of love.....one should do their own research.....The idea of a diamond being a useless hunk of rock is ignorant.....It is the hardest natural material known to man...each diamond is between 100 million and 2.5 billion years old....almost as old as the earth itself....it's atoms are bonded covelently....it is truly unique and powerful stone......if it is the conflict you are concerned about buy a diamond from a responsible mine in Canada.....but don't bash a brilliant stone from a self righteous position of ignorance......If you don't want a diamond there are a few other stones such as ruby or sapphire that are hard enough to endure daily wear......or buy a synthetic.....

Rak — 11 June 2007, 14:19

I personally don't like diamonds, I hate their yellowish white tinge UGHHHH!!!
With just lovely multi tinged plastic stones available, diamonds are a girl's useless friends.
However, it is tru they have many other applications.

sean — 29 June 2007, 14:19

I love the guy who says his future wife isn't getting one! How does he know the women he falls in love with won't want one? Maybe he'll ask first the fall in love second. That would be an odd way to start but who knows in this day and age. He might just meet her on this blog!

Trinity — 11 October 2007, 09:28

I think a better way to <a href="http://www.loosediamondsreviews.com/">buy diamonds</a> is by doing a proper reseach online.Some major onine retailers are offering high quality diamonds at discount price.

Knights and Walker — 24 October 2007, 07:45

Diamonds often plays an integral role whenever a man proposes a girl. This is because diamonds are often referred to as "Girls best friend". There must be some technical reason as well for this. Diamonds being the hardest of carbon form discovered is meant to last long...Unbreakable. So that implies, a relationship started with diamond as a mediating element, can last longer than much perishable gold. Let the relationships last long. So does our love for diamonds

Kevin — 01 November 2007, 02:07

I live in africa and i can tell you the diamond industry does more good then bad. The economy of Botswana virtually depends on it. Diamonds are special, natural and beautiful

mark — 30 November 2007, 18:32

So how bout a nice man made diamond. 1/100th the price without the blood or the laser inscription?

proudly diamondless — 08 December 2007, 03:24

My wife and I have been married for 14 years, and neither of us owns a diamond. She didn't even want one when I proposed, so I didn't buy one. What symbolizes "Forever"? A circle. It's never ending. That's what the ring is for. A ring is a circle as a symbol of a love that lasts forever. She didn't need a diamond to know that when I said Forever, I meant it. Ladies, if you can't find a guy like that, a diamond isn't going to help you. By the way, her engagement ring held a Sapphire, symbolizing the month we were to be, and did, get married. Her Sapphire seems to be holding up extremely well for daily wear...

Marie — 16 March 2008, 12:34

Wow there are a lot of greedy hags in the world, and a few that popped up here.

"What proof is there that any of this information is true?" Maybe look at the children who have been mutilated for not cooperating with the armies they are forced to join.

I'll never own a diamond, they're a waste of money and just a status symbol. Pretty, yes, but the thousands and thousands of lives taken every year tarnishes their beauty. I told my boyfriend to never, ever even think about buying me a diamond.

Anonymous — 15 July 2008, 00:21

Has anybody noticed the DeBeers diamond advertisement on the side?...

Brent — 15 July 2008, 06:19

Yeah, they have. Someone even went to the trouble of creating a WTF page. I've been told I should take the ad down (I think I can via filtering of Google ads). But I concluded that De Beers isn't helped by the ad--they certainly wouldn't intentionally place an ad alongside such an article. So I left it alone.