I consider myself to be socially conscious. I have been an active member of Amnesty International for the last 10 years or so, I try to pay attention to what’s going on in the world, and I make an effort to put my money where my mouth is. But, even I succommed to the diamond industry. Alex and I dated for about 7 years before we decided to get engaged, during that time I swore that not only would I never get married (who needs that piece of paper?) but that I would never buy a diamond engagement ring.
The whole never getting married idea changed pretty quickly when we moved to Munich and I realized that we had no legal ties to each other and if something should ever happen, we basically have no rights. That said, as soon as we decided to get engaged I suddenly developed an all-encompasing lust for the perfect solitare engagement ring. I can’t quite explain how it happened. I knew all about conflict diamonds, but something inside of me decided I wanted a ring. A diamond ring. And thus, my beautiful Tiffany Lucida solitare was bought. At the price of about 2 months wages with a hefty extra month’s worth of tax plopped on top for the privelage of buying the ring in Germany. Now, I did go through an intensive interrogation with the somewhat sullen saleslady regarding the origin of my diamond, it’s certificate of authenticity, and serial number, just to make absolutely certian that I was not participating in the horrid exploitation of so many innocent people.
Sadly, I have now come to realize that there is absolutely no way to know if your diamond is a conflict diamond or not thanks to the fantastic movie, Blood Diamond. If you haven’t had the chance to see it yet, go! I hate to admit that sometimes it takes a Hollywood version of a tradgedy to make it real, but it’s true. After leaving the theater I was embarrased to have my wedding ring on my finger. I know I tried my best to ensure that it was not part of this nightmare reality, but in the end, I don’t think that makes a speck of difference.
“Global Witness and Amnesty International are supporting the film, Blood Diamond, as an important way to raise awareness about how diamonds can fuel conflict. We hope that as a result of the movie, people will ask more questions before buying a diamond, and that the industry will take action to make sure companies can provide consumers with adequate assurances that the diamonds they sell are conflict-free.”
I am so thankful that movies like this are becoming more and more common – and becoming widely recognized at awards events that traditionally honored, shall we say, less educational films. Last year The Constant Gardener, and now Blood Diamond. I think Hollywood is finally on the right track.
I participate in a book club here in KL and this week we discussed one of my favorite new reads: The World is Flat. During our conversation we talked about globalization (of course) and the need for “global corporations” to have some sort of moral watchdog or code of ethics. I think, I hope, that movies like this can educate the public to be more aware of what is happening in the world and how our consumer desires can literaly destroy entire countries. I’m certainly not perfect, and clearly I am also a sucker for media-hyped temptation, but what’s that G.I. Joe says? “Knowing is half the battle.”