Blood Diamonds

Four years ago, I didn't know anything about diamonds. Then I posted one ill-tempered rant about how annoying and even offensive I found the advertising for the diamond industry. And I'm not easily offended.

I was immediately drawn into a conversation that I didn't know existed, and through emails, comments on this blog, and many other conversations (often with total strangers) I learned a lot more about diamonds. I still don't appreciate their aesthetic, but I am delighted that a lot of people are educated enough that if they do like diamonds, they consider where they were sourced. Friends of mine got engaged recently, and got a Canadian diamond without a second thought -- especially romantic when you have Canadian family members.

And now it seems like we've reached a moment in popular culture where the sourcing of diamonds might actually become a topic of a public debate. Edward Zwick's Blood Diamond opens next week, and the starpower of Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Honsou, and Jennifer Connely can't help but raise awareness of the issue and inspire some people to do some exploration of diamonds.

So, a few links to various resources I found useful:

  • Diamonds are for never: The first post I ever wrote about diamonds, it's still one of the most popular posts I've ever written and regularly gets random new people coming in from Google to join the debate.

I know what you're thinking. "It's not that bad." It's just a joke, and I'm taking it too seriously. But how can you look at a list on the industry's own marketing website and see "Of course there's a return on your investment. We just can't print it here." and not be aware that they're selling, along with war and market dominance, dysfunction.

  • Have you ever tried to sell a diamond? The Atlantic's seminal 1982 story about the diamond industry, which was one of the first resources to inspire people to rethink the marketing and sourcing of diamonds. Not as early, but also influential, was The Diamond Empire, Frontline's 1994 look at the industry.
  • Ask MetaFilter often has threads tagged diamonds or diamond. The general slant of these threads is anti-diamond, but there is good information and debate to be found there.
  • The resurgence of the diamond debate in popular culture first started gaining prominence with last year's release of Kanye West's Diamonds from Sierra Leone. A brilliant single, an even better remix featuring Jay-Z, and a beautiful video -- it was the perfect conversation starter. The Zwick film of course also features an IMDB profile and an educational site.

  • And finally, one last not-safe-for-work link, poking a little fun at DeBeer's print ad campaign, which is where I started in the first place.

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