Diamonds - Friend or Bloody Foe?

Bob Walton

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According to the Wikipedia, Diamonds are the hardest known natural material and are the more costly of the two best known forms (allotropes) of carbon, whose hardness and high dispersion of light make it useful for industrial applications and jewellery. (The other equally well known allotrope is graphite. ) Diamonds are specifically renowned as a mineral with superlative physical qualities.

For centuries, stunning, rare & select diamonds, regardless of cut (heart, round, princess, marquise, emerald, oval, pear, radiant & trilliant) remain the symbol of true love and romance. They represent radiant beauty, new beginnings, and a future filled with hopes and dreams. Diamond jewelry worn as an engagement ring, a wedding ring, by the woman of one’s devotion, on the left-hand ring finger, indicates her fidelity and faithfulness to her present or future spouse. For those not ready to plunge into that level of commitment, a pair of diamond earrings, with matching diamond necklace, or diamond pendant, are classic choices to express a man’s affection to the woman of his fancy.

So why do we say, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”? It may be going a long way back for some of us, and for many, you may have never seen or heard of it before, but in 1953 Marilyn Monroe sang the song, “Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" in the colorful movie, Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, directed by Howard Hanks. The song tells about how girls do not need men, just the money they can get out of them. It was one of our country’s early woman’s liberation power songs.

Fast forwarding to 1971, to a more contemporary spy thriller, we were thrust into a setting of greed, power and intrigue in the movie, Diamonds Are Forever starring Sean Connery as 007, based on the book by Ian Fleming. The basic plot follows James Bond and his efforts to solve the mystery of diamonds that have been stolen from South African mines, and eluding two offbeat assassins who are killing everyone in the smuggling ring one-by-one. The use of the diamonds, harnessing their dazzling polished brilliance, they are cleverly arrayed in a satellite to create a “death ray” gun for the purposes of controlling the world.

Lastly, of course, the most recent movie release in 2006, revealing a darker side to the diamond mining industry, Blood Diamond. The action-drama is about the moral conundrums of the international gem trade, and offers us, in its unique fashion, an opportunity to examine the ethics behind your engagement ring. The Sierra Leonean rebels trade precious gems, mined by captives for money and weapons, middlemen sneak the diamonds over the border to Liberia. Thus, as inferred by the movie, we end up subsidizing the death of thousands when we buy our diamond earrings, bracelets and necklaces to celebrate one’s anniversary. Blood Diamond shows us the path of one anonymous African through this process and, how a smuggler's, Leonardo DiCaprio, moral compass changes direction as a consequence.

The truth be known, the popularity of diamonds, by design, has risen since the 19th century because of increased supply, improved cutting and polishing techniques, growth in the world economy, and innovative and successful advertising campaigns. About 130 million carats (26,000 kg) are mined annually, with a total value of nearly USD $9 billion. About 100 tons are synthesized annually. Roughly 49% of diamonds originate from central and southern Africa, although significant sources of the mineral have been discovered in Canada, India, Russia, Brazil, and Australia. They are generally mined from volcanic pipes, which are deep in the Earth where the high pressure and temperature enables the formation of the crystals.

But wait a minute, in this day of space-age technology and wonders, diamonds no longer have to be mined; they can be formed through man-made efforts. That is true, but even though synthetic diamonds are produced each year, at nearly four times the rate of natural diamonds, the vast majority of synthetic diamonds created are small imperfect shaped gemstones suitable only for industrial-grade use. Hence, their use in jewelry is very limited, and mining, at least for the foreseeable future, will not have sufficient political pressure to cease.

Concluding, we hope you found this gem of an article was worth it’s weight in gold, by not presenting another boring teaching on the “four Cs”: carat, clarity, color, and cut of diamond stones. Like DiCaprio’s depiction of the wayward smuggler in Blood Diamond, the true quality of a prized colourful character, person or earthy rock, is, for lack of a better analogy, “a diamond in the rough”.




Bob Walton, founder of Wise Living Precepts, LLC is an affiliate marketer with Commission Junction. Please visit the source site of this article at:


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