Meat and diamonds are very similar. Both are desired and enjoyed and both are widely misunderstood in terms of how they’re produced, where they come from, and at what expense. Do you think people would feel a little different if they visited a meat factory? How about a diamond mine or the people working in them? It’s a tough call to make when ‘ignorance is bliss’ is the motto of today’s modern society. The only thing that might make companies publicly make voluntary changes is when a.) the media or political body takes a look behind the scenes and reports wrong-doing or b.) a documentary or movie is about to come out that might influence public awareness. Some of you will say that some companies take it upon themselves to morally makes changes regardless of the media–but I would argue it’s a relatively small percentage that have that halo above their heads.
Hence, the diamond trade. Oblivious as most of us have been to the terrible conflicts and wars funded by diamonds—sometimes called “Blood Diamonds”—that will change this Fall with the release of a new Leonardo DiCaprio movie, “The Blood Diamond”. The diamond industry is preparing for this movie by anticipating consumer outrage and prepping websites with info (Check out Tiffany’s–thanks Christine!) on what they’re doing to prevent blood diamonds from entering the system. While almost 98% of the diamonds traded today are blood-free under the Kimberly Process, the entire system is voluntary; making most human rights orgs suspicious.
Still, the rich are taking notice and conflict-free diamonds are suddenly in the spotlight as the ‘right’ purchase to make. We gabbed about Geena Davis a few days back–but it appears that celebs like Larry King, Debra Messing, and Corey Feldman (Don’t worry, you read that correctly. Corey Feldman has in fact left his spider hole to pick out some bling) all purchased diamonds during a Whiteflash presentation at the Emmys. Whiteflash is a company that ‘centers on the sale of certified conflict-free diamonds while donating profits from those sales to fund relief for families in still-conflicted regions of Africa.’
This will not be the last you hear of conflict-free diamonds. Look for more ‘what we’re doing to help’ campaigns leading up to the release of DiCaprio’s movie. Simply another example of the power of cinema to make an entire industry work harder to prevent the very actions they used to support.