Where Blood Diamonds Become Just Diamonds. ~ Katinka Sætersdal Remøe

Via on Feb 12, 2013

conflict freee diamonds eco green jewelry ring

I’ve never been a huge fan of diamonds.

I just don’t like how they glitter, their all-too-perfect appearance and that they always seem to be accompanied by a grey suit or a silken cocktail dress.

They’re too dull, too conservative, too un-original. In short: they’re just not my style.

But more importantly, they symbolize values and a dirty business that I do not want to be associated with. And after reading Jason Miklian’s article “Rough Cut” in this month’s issue of Foreign Policy, my dislike for this so-called “girl’s best friend” reached new heights.

In the article, the reader is taken on a train journey with the Gujarat Mail, a superfast train in the very busy Western Railway zone of India. The train is leaving Surat, a city on the coast of Gujarat state, and is heading for Mumbai. Besides the more common “luggage” of sweaty passengers, the train is also carrying not-so-sweaty diamonds.

Lots of them.

Because Surat is where most of the world’s diamonds have to pass through in order to get polished and ready for their grey suited- and cocktail dressed customers. This is where dirty stones from all corners of the world get their glittering appearance, including the all-too-familiar “blood diamonds.”

conflict diamond, african diamonds, amnesty international diamond

Why? Because Surat has something Antwerp in Belgium, the “ex-diamond capital,” doesn’t have: cheap labor and no documentation needed.

Did you know that the world’s diamond business is run on Post-it notes?

I didn’t.

Or that angadias, secret diamond couriers, get two dollars to carry stones worth $20,000, and that they can carry stones up to $150,000 of worth a night?

I didn’t.

Nor did I know that child labor is still so prevalent. Or that diamond laborers work 100 hours a week, causing them lost eyesight at the age of 35.

And I had never heard of “diamond lung,” an all-too common respiratory disease in the diamond working world.

This business is still a dirty one and if you want a good, real-life story about it, I strongly recommend reading Jason’s article. Or, if you’re more of an image person, have a look at his slideshow based on the same story.

Diamonds may be Tiffany’s or Marilyn’s best friend, but not mine.

I am perfectly happy with my unpolished, un-glittering, turqoise medallion.

KatinkaKatinka is an adventure-seeking, wine-loving yogini with a passion for the unknown. Her curiosity has led her into many peculiar situations, from having tea with Sudanese ministers and roadtripping through India’s heartland searching for guerrilla soldiers to crossing the Alps on skis. She loves contrasts, which is why you find a mix of high heels, climbing shoes, cowboyhats and yogamats in her closet, and strongly believes it enriches her life. When she is not in the classroom teaching French, you will find her climbing a mountain, working on her handstand or under a blanket reading while sipping a tempered Côte de Rhône. Get in touch with her by e-mail or facebook.

 

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Ed: Lynn Hasselberger

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10 Responses to “Where Blood Diamonds Become Just Diamonds. ~ Katinka Sætersdal Remøe”

  1. I am curious how diamonds look like prior it’s being shape or cut to a percut shape.

  2. Nice post….you're a very skilled blogger. Attractive section of content how you have discussed the polished diamond we get in our hands.

  3. Kushal Malhotra says:

    Thanks Katinka. It's so sad, but like so many other consumer items… we (and I'm speaking of Western-style Consumers as a whole) seem to be interested only in the finished product. We don't want to see where the sausage came from, we just want it to look and taste good on the plate. I guess films like "Blood Diamond" and Kanye's old diamonds from Sierra Leone song help raise some basic awareness. But as an individual consumer in the West, it seems like too much for one person to stop simply by not purchasing the product. In any case, thanks again for the piece.

  4. I love diamonds. I think they're gorgeous and sparkly and just as awesome as any other crystal like quartz or amethyst or larimar or topaz…. but they are the hardest (and most glittery/sparkly) and last forever- thus why you wear them on an engagement ring- because it's supposed to be forever. I'm sure everyone has different opinions about that… but I'm just saying- have you ever worn a super sparkly rainbow colored crystal that makes rainbow colored prisms on the wall when the light hits it? It's pretty magickal. You don't have to get diamonds from that industry. Just like vegans don't have to get leather from the animal-killing industry, you can get leather boots/purses/belts used from goodwill/thrift stores/hand me downs and you're not doing anything to support the cause you believe is immoral. My engagement ring is antique from the 1920's, and the only cause the money my fiance spent on it was supporting local businesses.

    also- don't think there is any shortage of antique diamonds- there is absolutely NO reason to be supporting the diamond industry as it stands at present. There are hundreds of thousands of antique diamonds lying around antique jewelry stores, on etsy, estate sales, etc. Not to mention the certified conflict free ones from canada, or the ones made in labs.

  5. FabienAupry says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog and LOVE it. I did want to give future brides a quick warning, it is actually very pricey to resize engagement rings and wedding bands. My Husband bought manuelspinosa
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  7. Most of the world’s diamonds have to pass through in order to get polished and ready for their grey suited and cocktail dressed customers. This is where dirty stones from all corners of the world get their glittering appearance, including the all too familiar blood diamonds. Thanks for valuable information….

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