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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Diamonds Are a Girl's Worst Enemy

Please bear with me and read this all the way through. I know it's long, but it's so very, very important.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m not some self-righteous hippie type that only wears hemp jewelry. I blush to admit how addicted I am to jewels of all sorts. But I do not own a single diamond and never will.

My first and only diamond was the engagement ring my ex-husband gave me while I was still in high school (in the 1980s). I was too young then to have much of a social conscience, and no one had any reasons not to buy or accept one then. I later sold it, and I now know so much that I will say that I probably should have thrown it away.

When I started going to college, I had a professor who announced to us that diamonds were actually relatively worthless. He told us that contrary to popular belief, they weren’t rare at all! Instead, when a new diamond mine is discovered, DeBeers moves in and buys it and promptly shuts it down. In fact, diamonds were so common around their original diamond mines in Africa that DeBeers had to pave over a vast area around the mines where the diamonds just lay about on the ground in order to prevent anyone from simply picking them up!

I have since researched it and found that everything the prof said was true. Diamonds are actually so common that if their market was a free market, they would end up even cheaper than cubic zirconias! This is a little ‘secret’ known to people in the trade, and one that the diamond merchants devoutly hope you won’t discover. That was when I decided I would never buy or allow someone to give me another diamond as long as I lived. But another little secret of theirs isn’t as harmless.

Have you ever heard of the term “Blood Diamonds or the “nicer” term: “Conflict Diamonds”? DeBeers and the other diamond merchants have done their best to rephrase the bombastic “Blood Diamonds” because it sounds so…er…violent. But for that very reason, we should never use any term except the most accurate one: Blood Diamonds.

How do you know if your diamond is a Blood Diamond? You don’t. What exactly are they? They are diamonds that have been acquired through a terrible exploitation of fellow human beings all over the world. As one article about them says, “Diamonds are a Warlord’s Best Friend.”

How bad can it be, you ask. Very, very bad.

There are terrorists that wage regular wars to take over diamond mines in Africa and exploit the villagers who live near by. Children are conscripted into the terrorists’ organizations and force-fed drugs to lower their inhibitions so that they can either fight, maim, torture and kill with little conscience or be used as sexual prostitutes. Others are forced to mine until they are worn to death or are killed when they’ve outlived their usefulness. Shallow graves abound where thousands of people have been killed and buried.

Perhaps even worse are the victims who live. They are sometimes maimed, tortured, raped and/or mutilated just to send a message: don’t mess with us! There are people, including children, who have one or both hands cut off and are sent off wandering in the wilderness as a cautionary tale. If they’re…lucky?…they survive the ordeal.

Still other children are victims in India and China where they are working off a family debt by shaping and polishing these diamonds. The child labor alone is inhumane. Many of these children are shackled and work non-stop, with breaks for food and sleep. When they grow old enough they are released if another child from their family is exchanged to replace them. Most families will never work off their ‘debts’.

There is no way to easily track these diamonds. They are bought up by the diamond merchants and, until recently, no one asked where they came from. Yup, those diamonds in your ears or the diamond on your finger may be there because some child lost his limbs or his life to provide it to you. This is no exaggeration.

The good news is that perhaps only 15% of the diamonds on the market are the Blood Diamonds which support and encourage terrorists worldwide. The bad news is that there’s simply no way of knowing which diamond is which. Even the few groups that attempt to provide certification asserting that your diamond is not a Blood Diamond cannot be completely positive that what they say is true. Additionally, certificates can be (and are) forged.

I own an assortment of beautiful solid-gold CZ and moissanite baubles. And each sports a flawless gem which captivates all who see it, at a fraction of the price of a diamond and no cost to my conscience. If a diamond is forever, so are the atrocities that will continue as long as we buy into the falsehood that a diamond represents love and security. Instead, diamonds represent an unnecessary expense for an artificially inflated piece of colorless stone.

Please rethink that diamond you are purchasing this Christmas. If you are determined to spend thousands of dollars on something that is truly only worth hundreds (if that!) then buy a CZ or a moissanite piece and donate the difference to stop the atrocities that are happening anywhere that diamonds are mined. Only then will your money be well spent.

For more information on Blood Diamonds and to read detailed reports of the atrocities, go to:
1. 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Diamond
2. A report by Amnesty International
3. This crime library
4. This expose of DeBeers
5. Blood Diamonds Still Sold by U.S. Retailers
6. Dying for a Diamond? Unfortunately thousands of children are too.
7. This article discusses how diamonds actually lose value and how it's almost impossible to re-sell them at a fraction of their purchase price. It also discusses the DeBeers strategy to psychologically cause women to buy into diamonds are a girl's best friend. This one is a must read.

And there is much more if you simply want to research it all on Google.

31 comments:

michelle said...

Would you believe I just watched a movie about children being used for prostitutes here in the US. I can't believe what you are telling us. (I mean I believe you. It is just so horrible.)

Saur♥Kraut said...

Michelle, it is, isn't it? You know that only about 20% of the US population actually is aware of these facts. So, don't feel badly that you didn't know.

The Lazy Iguana said...

DeBeers is a cartel - plain and simple.

But does the US Government do anything about it? No. Diamond imports are still 100% legal.

Liquidplastic said...

I don't own a single diamond and don't like them. I never knew why .. I just didn't care for them. Thank you for this article, now I can put a reason behind why I don't care for them.

Bravo Saur ... Bravo!

Kathleen said...

Saur, I was aware of these horrific situations. I will not buy diamonds and also own CZ jewelry. Thanks for spreading the word. I hope everyone will not buy diamonds.

Great post.

Edge said...

That's very sad. However, you won't get people to stop buying them.

One of your readers said something about the U.S. should do something about it.

I don't support that theory. It does no good because the rest of the world won't support it either. Look at Cuban cigars, Columbian drugs or other commodities. You would also have to stop a lot of products coming from many countries, China, India, Taiwan and most of South America.

What surprises me is that people are shocked this kind of stuff goes on. The world harbors horrible things.

Good research and presentation on this. Glad I read it.

~Jef

michelle said...

I emailed you.

mal said...

sadly true. We do not have any decorative diamonds, but that was more out of lack of interest and poverty than anything else. The same problem we have with blood diamonds also exists with the Opium and Cocaine. The trafficing in human suffering is unacceptable and by purchasing ANY of these products regardless of legality, we not only condone it, but actively endorse.

Besides, I really HATE cartels

michelle said...

What gem colors can we buy? Green, Blue? Never mind, we are back to you making stuff for all of us Saurkraut. (LOL)

Seriously, Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

United We Lay said...

Excellent, excellent, excellent post! I have one diamond in my engagement ring. My husband didn't buy it. It was passed down from my grandmother so that we didn't have to buy one. When we were thinking of getting married, I told her I didn't want a diamond because of the children in Africa and she agreed that it was more socially conscious not to buy one, but that every woman should have at least one diamond. Since jewelery is often passed down, it need not be bought, and she offered the one from her engagement ring. We got married on her anniversary as a thank you.

AP3 said...

Great post. I agree with you. Diamonds are a farce anyway... not truly precious. I don't think they look that great, either.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Polanco, I agree that that is the only way to acquire a diamond (as a family heirloom). My brother also gave his wife my grandmother's diamond, which was very sweet.

Michelle, I'll do a blog on that too! ;o)

Mallory, cartels are (or should be) exceedingly un-American. The fact that they're still trading here seems to show that the gov't. must be getting some major-league kickbacks.

Jef, actually, I think that with the proper press people would stop buying them. Additionally, since the US and Japan are the two major (and primary) markets for the diamond trade, if Americans boycotted diamonds it would be highly effective. And even if the world harbors horrible things, buying a product of such abuse is sanctioning that abuse. Not all abuse and killings are so profitable! As citizens of a civilized country, it's really up to us to not encourage such behaviors.

Kathleen, can we say Home Shopping Chanel Outlet? ;o)

Liquid Plastic, Bravo!

Lazy Iguana, you are correct. But even if the government is quietly sanctioning such horrible abuses, we can send the message loud and clear by boycotting the diamonds which are sold.

Fred said...

Wow. I had no idea that the diamond trade was vo violent. This was a great post. I'm going to have to bookmark this so I can get to the links, especially the expose on DeBeers.

Saur♥Kraut said...

AP3, I agree with you. When I was younger I really wanted Princess Di's blue sapphire ring instead of my diamond! Of course it WAS surrounded by diamonds, but I'd compromise by using white topazes or moissanite.

Fred, the last link is a fascinating book online about the diamond trade. I really highly recommend it. It's incredible! I'm halfway through it.

Senor Caiman said...

Saur,

I tell you buying a diamond is very confusing. I can’t tell the difference between a Yippy and a River Blue diamond. I really don’t trust those so-called diamond experts.

The diamond industry is sharp in the marketing department though; men now wear more diamonds than women. I guess they foresaw that middle-age women wouldn’t use their alimony to purchase diamonds.

There is a place called Diamond Dolls where they actually model diamonds for your inspection. The models never mention the travesties occurring in the mines.

Thanks for the information.

Lee Ann said...

That is truly informative.
I do love the sparkle, I just cannot help it.
I do have several CZ pieces, that I absolutely adore!

michelle said...

Where are you Saur, you must be keeping busy with the kids.

GodlessMom said...

Thank you for this post Saur! You'll never see a diamond on my finger for the very reasons you have stated. This is definitely something that we all need to be aware of.

Ruby Lynx said...

I'm glad you posted this. I became enlightened to this info some time back, though I can't remember how. It's pathetic what people will do for the allmighty dollar.

But even if none of this were going on, I still wouldn't have wanted a diamond. They don't suit me and they're insanely expensive....why? My ideal man will not even consider buying one for me. How does a diamond and their huge price prove love? Isn't love supposed to prove love?

ts said...

yikes! compared to diamonds, gonad-piercing pearls don't seem so sinful anymore.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Excellent post, Saur.

I have relatives in the diamond business, and knew some of these facts.

As women especially, we are seduced to thinking that diamonds are a girl's best friend, when in reality, they are a companies best profit, especially DeBeers, who has a monolopy on them as you point out.

Kyahgirl said...

what an excellent post.Thanks for the info. That is really disgusting.

uncle joe said...

You have just saved me a fortune. I knew deep down there was something wrong with diamonds now I have to get my wife on the same page. Yeehawwww! (That's Okie talk for Yeehaww!)

actonbell said...

Good post. I've heard some of this before, but certainly not all. I admit that I've been given diamonds as gifts(though I'm actually in love with sapphires). I won't ever buy a diamond myself, and I've communicated the fact that I don't wish for any more.
It's absolutely unconceivable how the DeBeers could have achieved this!

Econo-Girl said...

Hooray for Sauerkraut! Someone else had heard of BLOOD DIAMONDS too.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Econo-girl, Thank you!!!

ActonBell, interestingly enough, the original engineer of the DeBeers cartel made this his ultimate quest in the 1800s. In fact, it was one of his dearest dreams to be able to 'overtake' America again as a colony of Britain.

Uncle Joe, just introduce her to HSN. Their CZs are just scrumptious!

KyahGirl, thank YOU for taking the time to read it. I want the message out, loud and clear.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Barbara, interestingly Jews have always been diamond merchants (not evil ones, I hasten to add) because it was a logical niche for them in ancient times. So it makes sense you have relatives in the biz. It must be fun! I have a good Jewish friend who also has relatives in the biz, and his wife sports an INCREDIBLE pearl necklace because of it. I dream of those things at night...

TS, *LOL*

Ruby Lynx, yeah, I'm with you. I've told everyone who is in the position of buying me jewelry to buy me only CZs or moissanite and spend the diff on something else for me! ;o)

Godless Mom, and thank you for mentioning it on your blog. I think it needs to be well-known.

Lee Ann, oh there's no doubt there's sparkle! I agree. But good quality CZs have as much (or often more). I get more compliments on my CZ rings than other women ever get on their diamonds!

Mr. Gator, re: Diamond Dolls... I don't recall them modelling jewelry though. In fact, I don't recall them modelling much of all (except pasties). ;o)

Some Random Girl said...

these would be some of the same reasons why I wouldn't let my hubs buy me a huge diamond...I went with a cz...it gets all the "oohs and ahhhs" and my conscience is guilt free!

Saur♥Kraut said...

Jules, 'zactly! ;o) You've been MIA for a while! Great to 'see' you again.

The Zombieslayer said...

My ignorance about diamonds has ended. Wonderful job, and thanks for the post.

Don't own a diamond. Have no intention of buying one. Even when we get rich, no diamonds, no gold. Nobody needs a diamond. And now you gave some good explanations on why it's actually bad to buy diamonds.

I went to some of the links and read them. Looks like you did your research.

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