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The Jewels In September's Elle Come At An Extremely High Price

Illustration for article titled The Jewels In Septembers iElle/i Come At An Extremely High Price

Who do you contact when you feel like your head is going to explode from disgust and horror? Get that person on the line: This page, from the September issue of Elle, features diamond pendants made in the shape of African masks. Responsible for this jewelry? De Beers, the company founded by Cecil Rhodes, the guy with the scholarship named after him who was sort of a white supremacist. He wanted the British Empire to rule every country and once wrote: "I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race."

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De Beers plead guilty to the crime of price-fixing a few years ago; the reason the company wants you to believe that a diamond is forever is so that you'll never try to sell the ones you have! Additionally, the minute you buy a diamond its value decreases substantially; dealers will do buy backs for a fraction of the cost paid. Plus, there are reportedly tons of diamonds unearthed every year but held back from the market to keep prices high. (De Beers points out that "An estimated 5 million people have access to appropriate healthcare globally thanks to revenues from diamonds." ) But De Beers (which controls about 40% of the world diamond market) built its company on the backs of "poorly-paid, abominably treated native African workers," and is often accused of human rights violations and illegal mining operations. Though the company (often referred to as a "cartel" or a "monopoly") now claims to comply with the Kimberley Process and offer "clean" diamonds, there are numerous reports of corruption in certain African countries due to De Beers paying off the cops and government. And the abuse rumors have not gone away. One African blogger wrote: "I believe De Beers are so neck deep in this they are even editing stories in Wikipedia." Knowing all of this, doesn't selling "tribal-inspired" jewelry seem rather déclassé? But! As a De Beers spokesman, Andy Lamont, once said: "Diamonds don't kill people. People kill people."

De Beers Pleads Guilty In Price Fixing Case [MSNBC]
History Of Single LIfe: Diamond Engagement Rings [Nerve]
Namibia: Exposing The Corrupt Practices Of The De Beers Diamond Cartel [ZNet]
Why De Beers Wants You 'Blood Diamond'-Savvy [Time]
10 Reasons Not To Buy Diamonds [Field Guide To The US Economy]
Blood Diamonds - De Beers Conspiracy [Africa, The Next Generation]

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Related: Combating Conflict Diamonds [Global Witness]
De Beers Diamond Policy [De Beers]
DiamondFacts.Org
Real Diamond Facts.Org

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DISCUSSION

morninggloria
Erin Gloria Ryan

@SydneyGal: Maybe it would be even more ironic if they thought it said something like "I, Rony" instead. Maybe someone named Ronny can be convinced to drop one of the n's from his name...

Too much work.

Maybe that would just be a really cool photograph, a Lil' Jon looking guy with all the accoutrements of obnoxious mainstream mysoginist consumerism just completely iced out, with a giant necklace in the middle of his chest that spells "IRONY."