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Monday, December 18, 2006

The Diamond Merchants Lie

I just saw the movie Blood Diamond yesterday. I wish it was mandatory viewing. If *I* were Queen of the World, everyone would be forced to sit down and watch it. Additional to it's truthful social message is an interesting, action-packed movie that is actually enjoyable to watch!

I had thought the movie would play fast-and-loose with the facts, but it was very accurate. It cited the fact that (at that time) 15% of all diamonds on the market were Blood Diamonds. From my research, I know this is true.

In 2003, something called The Kimberly Process was initiated to reduce the amount of Blood Diamonds (a.k.a "Conflict Diamonds"). Incidentally, this new "standard" was created when the diamond merchants discovered that the movie was being made.

According to diamondfacts.org (a multimillion dollar site owned by The World Diamond Council and created to rebuff the movie) the amount of Blood Diamonds on the market were initially only 4% of the market, and are now only a miraculous 1%, thanks to The Kimberly Process.

Great! I would like to answer them:

"So... cite your facts, then. How do you come up with these figures? Strangely, there is no reference to any impartial or independant sources. Although the first number (4%) was way off, 1% is simply unbelievable."

Sadly, I hear this unsubstantiated figure often quoted as a solid statistic by news programs as if they trust the source! To those journalists, I would say:

"Good job, intrepid reporters! I guess we didn't take the same journalism courses. You actually trust this source even though there's no evidence that what they claim is true?"

Everyone, I hold this up as an example of what Pop Journalism has become! Never, never, never trust a source that cites figures which gratify it's own self-interest.

Only 1% of all diamonds on the market are Blood Diamonds? Right! And I'm 100% natural blond.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a fascinating area of enquiry, many luxary goods are bought in on the back of poverty, pain and violence.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Daniel, very, very, very true. This also includes some types of Oriental Carpets, for instance (child labor in India).

Senor Caiman said...

Saur,

I wear a big ring with diamonds on my right hand and when someone shows me disrespect I pop them with it. Does this make my diamond a blood diamond? I wipe the blood off with a moistened towelette.

Excellent post.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Senor, OK, so you have a blood diamond in another sense of the word. And you need therapy. No surprise there. ;o)

Badoozie said...

awesome! i've been wanting to see this movie and so now i'm glad you gave the thumbs up. ahhh, research and factoids can be so tricky, and they can be skewed in one direction or the other depending on whose researching or whose backing the project. people need to know about good research vs. skewed. what we see on TV is most definetely skewed 99% of the time sadly.

LZ Blogger said...

Saur ~ I wanted to see this movie before and now I REALLY want to see it! I just wanted to wish a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your family! ~ jb///

Miss Cellania said...

I promoted and I plan to watch this movie. But I also urge anyone with any question as to Hollywood's accuracy to do your own research on the diamond trade. There is plenty of real-life documentation on the exploitation involved in the gem trade. I won't buy any diamonds, since even certified non-conflict diamonds support the industry. And manmade diamonds just look like the real thing, so I don't want to be seen with them.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Miss C, an excellent point. I've always purchased top-quality CZs, but lately I've been thinking that I'm going to stop, because so many people assume they're diamonds.

LZ Blogger, and to you too, my friend! I'm delighted you are going to go.

Badoozie, exactly. You understand how stats can be skewed easily. And in THIS case, they're not even citing their sources! So... it's a free-for-all: Make up anything you want!

EmmaSometimes said...

I will have to see it. I always end up renting movies like that. (Hotel Rwanda, Power of One, Passion of the Christ, To End All Wars). I feel so irreverent buying popcorn, sucking down sodas and eating nachos while watching a movie that has a gut wrenching truth to it.

Anonymous said...

Their public relations site reminds me a bit of Altria, the company that does good and spreads the words to "cool" children about the harms of tobacco smoking. They don't associate with that other company, Phillip Morris.

Anonymous said...

Well just a cool little factoid, they are now manufacturing real diamonds, there was an article in Wired Magazine about it a few months ago. One of the producer's is Apollo Diamonds and the other is Gemesis. So it is likely that the diamond business will a pretty big hit in the near future. I personally think the technology is pretty cool, and have requested one of the manufactured diamonds for my engagement ring. Here is the link to the article for anyone interested: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.09/diamond.html

Saur♥Kraut said...

Anon, I'm very familiar with both companies, and they've been in business for at least a couple years. The problem is that these manufactured diamonds are just not as clear or as beautiful as CZs or the real thing. They usually have a slight yellowish cast, sometimes even brownish. I recommend moissanite if you're going to go for an expensive bauble that looks almost as good as a CZ... or, go with a nice CZ ring.

Matt, of course they don't... *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

Emma, it really did stop me from wanting to eat my popcorn. :P

QUASAR9 said...

There are no facts, only interpretations. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Saur Kraut, I don't subscribe to Nietzsche's thinking - but thought the quote was apt re the Diamond Council's facts.

Within wanting to go over old ground - banking & money is amoral

If Banking, Money & big business had its way we'd probably still have slave trade.
And invading a country and killing 300,000 people to control the oil from said country - and buying Tezaco blood oil, is no different from buying blood diamonds

There are no facts, only interpretations. - Friedrich Nietzsche

The Lazy Iguana said...

Saur, this movie is on my Netflix list. As soon as it is let out on DVD I will bump it to the top of my queue.

The problem is that people, by and large, do not give a crap. Oh how terrible - civil war in (Country X) is being funded by diamond sales! Something should be done about it!

WOW! Look at that rock set in platinum! Only $5,000!!! I just have to get it!

There is an economic theory that says the more suffering, blood, and misery is put into an object - the more valuable it is. Maybe this is why diamonds cost so much?

Mostly I would just like to see the DeBeers cartel crumble. F those people. None of the members of that family work. They just inherit vast sums of money. Let em all get real jobs and see how they like it. If I were Emperor of the planet, I would make the Estate Tax 0% for the first half million bucks, and 100% on everything above that.

Mike said...

Thanks for such an interesting and passionate entry about "Blood Diamond" and the issue of conflict diamonds. I am really looking forward to seeing this movie, and, judging by what I've heard from you and many others, it seems like it is a compelling and eye-opening film!

I actually work in the diamond industry and am also concerned about the trade of conflict diamonds. However, I am very confident in the statistic that states over 99% of the world's supply of diamonds is from sources free of conflict. This statistic was announced in 2004 by the Chair of the Kimberley Process, which is mandated by the United Nations.

I encourage anyone interested in this issue to see "Blood Diamond" and become educated about conflict diamonds. The sale of legitimate diamonds brings real benefits (schools, HIV/AIDS treatment, healthcare) to people in the countries where diamonds are sourced (particularly African nations), and so it’s important for anyone purchasing a diamond to be confident that his or her purchase is a conflict-free one.

R2K said...

Sad.

slopmaster said...

It looks like a good movie, and after your review, I'm definitely going to watch it. Right after Borat. I all for a diamond boycott :)

The Lazy Iguana said...

Wow Saur! Your blog got spied on by an operative! The diamond forces must be on a massive offensive campaign here! They have minions all over Google, looking for blogs to post comments to.

If I were you, I would get a remote start kit for your car.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy, :D And all excellent points in your first post in here. Very sad... especially when diamonds have such little resale value, anyway!

Slopmaster, good! Do it! ;o)

R2K, very!

Mike, IF you are really with the diamond cartel, then give us the honor of your email addy and other identifying info. However, I was certain that someone would follow me back, since I put a link to the World Diamond Council's site in this post.

Glad to hear you're so certain of the facts. Please tell us what independant studies back up your assertions.

As for what little good the diamond mines do... it's great PR for the diamond merchants. The truth is, they help only a handful of people in the grand scheme of things.

Quazar, there is no doubt that there is much exploitation and suffering that ensues from the culling, marketing, and purchase of many luxury items.

Michael said...

The Kimberley Process only certifies the last source of export of a diamond. It in no way guarantees where the diamond was sourced, how it was cut or polished (or by whom) and who touched the diamond before it was exported. The Kimberley Process is a Swiss Cheese piece of legislation pushed by the diamond industry. If you really want to buy conflict-free diamond jewelry, check out Brilliant Earth (www.brilliantearth.com). Those guys get it and they're doing something about the problem of conflict diamonds. That's where I bought my fiance's diamond