Skip to comments.Diamonds Are No Longer A Girl's Best Friend
Posted on 01/06/2007 7:44:37 PM PST by blam
Diamonds are no longer a girl's best friend
By Chris Hastings, Stephanie Plentl and Beth Jones, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 12:29am GMT 07/01/2007
Diamonds have been synonymous with Hollywood glamour since Marilyn Monroe declared them to be a girl's best friend in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. But now a new generation of Hollywood stars is shunning the stones as a new film exposes the darker side of the international diamond trade.
Blood Diamond tells the story of forced-labour diamond mines
For the first time in the 79-year history of the Oscars, certain kinds of diamond will be absent from the annual prize-giving ceremony. Normally the awards, which will take place on February 25, are awash with sparkling stones, with some stars even choosing to wear them on their shoes.
But now many of the biggest names in Hollywood are asking agents and diamond experts to ensure they are not photographed wearing illicit diamonds.
The backlash against the stones has led to diamonds being dubbed the "new fur", as stars increasingly try to make sure that they are not wearing anything that might be regarded as unethical.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly, the stars of Blood Diamond, as well as Kayne West, the rap artist, the models Iman and Erin O'Connor the face of Marks and Spencer are leading the backlash. Blood Diamond, part of which was filmed in London's Hatton Garden diamond district, is set in civil war-ravaged Sierra Leone and tells the story of forced-labour diamond mining companies.
The success of the film, which has already opened in America and comes to UK cinemas at the end of the month, has led to an upsurge in demand for so-called conflict-free diamonds, which carry a certificate of confirmation that their trade is not connected with war, civil strife or human rights abuses.
Gaia Geddes, the jewellery editor at Harper's Bazaar, said: "You have the Oscars and Baftas coming up, and that's when the stars wear very big rocks. This year there will be a lot of focus on conflict-free diamonds and a lot of people will take a stand, just like they did with fur."
Connelly, 36, who plays a journalist in the movie, made a point of wearing "conflict-free" diamonds to the film's American premiere last month.
"I think what I got out of the film is a desire to be a more ethnical consumer," she said. "I did some research and there are companies like Bulgari, like Tiffany, that are striving to be clean and accountable and that provide written guarantees that their diamonds are conflict-free.
Iman pulled out of her contract as the face of De Beers
"No one is saying boycott diamonds but [buyers] can be pro-active and go to their jewellers and say, 'Can you show me a certificate? Can you give me a verifiable warranty that these diamonds are conflict-free?'"
Jane Fonda, the double Oscar-winning actress and friend of the film's producer, Paula Weinstein, has also revealed how she has made sure she only wears conflict-free diamonds.
African tribes in conflict with the diamond industry are actively targeting the world's celebrities in a bid to win them over. Last year, Bushmen in the Kalahari in dispute with De Beers wrote an open letter in Variety to DiCaprio, seeking his support.
Eileen Kelly, the manager of Abiba, a jeweller in Hatton Garden, said: "Recently we have had more and more customers come into the shop because of publicity about the film and ask where the diamonds have come from. We can say that we do not sell conflict diamonds. For the past year we have quite clearly printed on our receipts that our diamonds are conflict-free."
The campaign against the diamond trade had been building up even before the release of Blood Diamond. In 2004 Iman, who is married to the singer David Bowie, pulled out of her contract as the face of De Beers in protest at what she claimed was the company's eviction of tribespeople from their land in Botswana. In 2005, the actress Julie Christie joined a protest outside the Natural History Museum in support of the same tribesmen.
De Beers denies all the allegations levied against it in connection with diamonds. The company declined to comment last night, but a spokesman for the World Diamond Council, the representative body of the diamond industry, said: "We don't have any issue with the film. The important thing is that the movie is based in the past, in 1999, and the situation now is that the vast majority of conflict is over.
"The diamond industry contributes over $8 million (about £4.5 million) per year to local African economies, which helps to build schools, hospitals and provide employment."
After all, you can't eat them. I would think a big diamond is worth much less than a nice lake boat that your whole family can enjoy.
Diamonds are a girls best friend, if the girl is a prostitute.
For the rest, love, honor, committment, faithfullness, and honesty. A sense of humor helps too.
If you know what I mean, you know who I mean.
Kooks. Kooks manipulated by special interests. Follow the money.
I guess that goes for the dollar bills in your wallet and your bank account then too? After all, you can't eat them, either - well, you could, but they won't provide much sustenance.
"Big Diamond" ping.
How the heck do we know for sure? They all pass thru Amsterdam or Brussels..
I have to admit, I miss my diamond wedding ring. My fingers are swollen (due to pregnancy) and can't wear it. I don't thnk they are conflict diamonds, though.
I don't give a rat's ass where they come from. Just give me a good deal.
It's a promotional stunt for a film. A film that puts those who worked on it onto a virtual "list" of "good people who care". Maybe they'll even see Oscar nominations for their efforts.
Meanwhile is Hollywood's cocaine narcoterrorist free?
You're don't buy your wife/girlfriend gifts? Or is does nothing say love like the gift of a vacuum cleaner?
*** Diamonds Are No Longer A Girl's Best Friend ***
Tell that to my wife!
Big Hollywood... off-topic, but that's how we should refer to them anymore.
I saw a program about the conflict diamonds on History channel. It showed that diamonds are not rare but how the Debeers Co held all of its ownership to raise the price.
Thanks for the ping.
Tanzanite gems are almost all from conflict areas.
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