New York Times article Africa & Diamonds

Has anyone read today’s (Thurs, April 6) front page of the New York
Times on diamonds and violence in Africa. It is very upsetting.
Additional can be found on the web at

I was wondering what jewelers feelings were on this subject
especially those that set a lot of diamonds.

Diane Sadel

I have read the article (actually one of my customers emailed it to
me). Unfortunately our trade has always had a history of violence and
oppression associated with it. Whenever you have a product of high
value, that is easily transported and concealed, you are going to
appeal to man’s basest instincts. Remember that an alexandrite mine in
Brazil was shut down due to the number of deaths associated with it.
Also please note that a large percentage of the world’s emeralds come
from Columbia, and are flowing through many of the drug cartels and
rebels in that country. Much of our world’s gold supply comes from
South Africa, which for years was a country controlled by Apartheid.
The Americas were conquered by Europeans searching for gold and
As I recall a number of indigenous cultures were wiped out
in that particular search. Australian opal miners conduct most of
their business in cash in order to avoid paying taxes. Burma is a
major source of colored gems. The list goes on and on. However we
also generate some good things. Many Jews who fled Germany and the
Nazis were able to bring their wealth out in the form of hidden
diamonds and jewels. The article also references Botswana, which has
been helped immensely by their diamond mines. Most jewelers I know
are extremely giving, of both their time and money to worthy causes.
If we all agreed to not use any of the products in our trade that come
from dubious sources we wouldn’t have much left to work with. Daniel R.
Spirer, GG Spirer Somes Jewelers 1794 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA
02140 @spirersomes

Thanks Daniel, for the sensitive response to the article. We are
reminded once again that we do not live in a perfect world. I would
like to think that the world gem trade creates more positive benefits
for third world countries than it does damage. Unfortunately, we tend
to hear more about the negative than the positive! Thanks again,

In response to what many have said, I have lived in third world
countries and know personally what it is like for these people. They
are paid a measley amount of money for their work, that is not helping
them! If they were fairly paid that would be help. We often as
jewelers make an unreasonable amount of money on items, I have seen
items sell for 10 to 20 times what was invested in the item. The
disparity between what they make for finding the “gem” vs what we
sometimes make sickens me. When I do travel to other countries to
purchase in person instead from an unfair middleman, I usually pay
more than what I am asked for. I just hate to see others sugar coat
the issue. We usually just give excuses and do nothing to help.

Just my two cents…

Hello Diane,

The whole business is set on making money and not on feelings.It’s
sad,but that’s the reality we have to face.What I do about it?Well I
inform people as much as possible about the aspects on the whole
diamond industry and try to explain them that diamond is not as rare
as they think it is.A second fact is that I do not have that many
diamonds in my shop.It’s not much but nothing is and stays
nothing.The point is … I feel good and i can look in the mirror
without bad thought or feelings.Maybe that I’m to “soft”,but I have
to live with it. Regards Pedro