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V-Day Book Review: Bloody Diamonds

The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through The World Of Diamonds, Deceit And Desire
By Tom Zoellner 2006

Just in time for V-Day.org and more importantly on a marketing scale, the movie Blood Diamonds, comes the text dense memoir by Tom Zoellner. The Heartless Stone released late last year picks up where the original Blood Diamonds leaves off and presents a broader if not more disturbing picture of global diamond trade. This broader picture includes the negative effects both economically and environmentally within Africa aside from the regions considered to produce bloody diamonds. Thanks to the movie many people in America know the evil dubbed Blood Diamonds including people having their hands hacked off and children recruited for war but what many don’t know is the so called clean diamonds from Africa are rather tainted as well. Tom paints a troubling picture of child labor, men being paid 3 USD an hour to mine diamonds that are resold for hundreds of thousands of dollars and then there are the mines themselves… in most cases nothing but large holes in the ground subject to cave ins, especially during the rainy season. As more and more would be brides are snubbing diamond engagement rings it makes one wonder if they read Tom’s chapters on how the secondary diamond market is almost nil (engagement ring diamonds = poor investments from a financial standpoint) and how the whole diamond engagement craze was woven into the fabric of American wedding dresses via brilliant marketing (Diamonds are Forever). While Tom’s reminiscing about his own failed engagement borders on sappy and even downright bizarre (do little boys really dream about their wedding day?) it seems like they serve a purpose and that’s to momentarily distract the reader from the bombardment of unsettling text. Tom also goes to great lengths to convince you everything in this book is the truth… the result of a “Million Little Pieces” I guess although I have a few doubts. Still, this is a major eye opener and may get a few people out of a sticky jam if they couldn’t afford a little bling for that special person this V-Day.org.