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[Book] The Heartless Stone by Tom Zoellner

For reading suggestions, I subscribe to and
this book is the non-fiction selection for the week. I can’t comment
on it as I’ve only read today’s excerpt, but thought some of you
might like to look into it. Here is how it is introduced.

“The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds,
Deceit, and Desire” By Tom Zoellner

Price: $16.47


When he proposed to his girlfriend, Tom Zoellner gave what every
American man is supposed to give at such a time–a diamond
engagement ring. But when the relationship broke apart a few months
before the wedding, he was left with a used diamond ring that began
to haunt him. Zoellner looked harder at the stone, and the
consequent fascination sent him around the world.

He traveled to the mines of Africa, where the smuggling of “blood
diamonds” is an everyday affair; to Japan, where the ancient wedding
ritual has been completely reshaped to accommodate diamonds; to the
barrens of the Arctic Circle, where geologists and drillers risk
their lives for the next big jackpot. Zoellner listened to the
starving victims of African war zones, the child diamond polishers of
India who labor for pennies, the luckless miners of the Brazilian
backcountry, and the chemists in Siberia who discovered how to create
perfect diamonds from scratch in three days. He gained access to the
London headquarters of the De Beers cartel, the secretive global
colossus that has dominated the industry for more than a century and
permanently carved the phrase “A diamond is forever” on the psyche.
He saw cultures that have been permanently altered and societies that
have changed direction at the first sign of diamond lust. Zoellner’s
journey–part investigative report, part startling
travelogue–culminates back home in America, with a surprising
conclusion about this stone that goes to the heart of what it means
to be alive.

Mary Bradt

I read this book recently.

It’s worth reading. Zoellner is very partisan. He mightily dislikes
DeBeers, is conflicted about the diamond industry, diamonds, and
especially about the diamond engagement ring he bought for his ex
fiancee - now happily married to another guy thank you very much
Tommy boy. Zoellner is so upset about this apparently ancient
relationship that readers will want to reach into the book to give
man a good slap, or alternatively, google his ex to congratulate her
on avoiding the mistake of a lifetime. One the other hand, and
fortunately, in the great majority of the book Zoellner has a
fabulously interesting time wandering the globe from the Congo to
Canada to Surat to Russia interviewing participants in every aspect
of the diamond industry. An historical, psychological, economic and
political analysis of the industry I learned more dirt on diamonds
(really) than I expected. Whether you agree with him or not his book
is immensely readable, well written, and thought provoking.

My only criticism comes from my bafflement that someone with such an
adventurous life could whine so much. I mean, she’s not coming back,
Tommy me lad. Get over it!