March 28, 2005
Diamonds for Humanity Print Ad Debuts
A new print ad campaign for the Diamonds for Humanity jewelry collection debuted in the April issue of Harper's Bazaar. The four-page, two-spread ad begins with: "Can Luxury and Conscience Coexist?" The ad answers its own question on the next line, which says "Diamonds for Humanity puts an end to the conflict."
The copy on the first spread explains the Diamonds for Humanity jewelry collection celebrates "beauty, elegance and the epitome of luxury while benefiting indigenous cultures and communities affected by the illicit conflict diamond trade." The ad says Diamonds for Humanity was founded by a designer named Sabiha Foster. The ad features a dramatic platinum "Seaweed" necklace Foster made using Gemesis synthetic diamonds (the Diamonds for Humanity collection says it also uses white "non-conflict" diamonds). The necklace is superimposed over a black and white photo of African men, photographed, according to the credit, at Kono, a diamond district in Sierra Leone.
The ad says that "as part of its global initiative, every Diamonds for Humanity sale supports health, education and land reclamation programs in collaboration with the International League for Human Rights, the Africa-America Institute and other nongovernmental organizations."
Diamonds for Humanity says the Seaweed necklace will debut for auction in April in New York City, though it doesn't list a place or date. The ad says the auction is sponsored by Gemesis, Harper's Bazaar, Chambers Hotel and Christiania Vodka. There is a web address, www.diamondsforhumanity.com. A visit to the site on March 24, however, yielded only the words "nothing here yet."
A second spread in the Harper's Bazaar ad is "Consciousness Without Compromise" and explains more about Gemesis synthetic diamonds, which the company calls "Gemesis Cultured Diamonds." The copy reads, in part: "as unaffordable as [fancy colored diamonds] may be for most, the potential humanitarian and environmental costs to obtain them can far outweigh the financial burden. Gemesis Cultured Diamonds has created a more accessible alternative to fancy colored earth-mined diamonds ... possessing the same DNA structure as earth-mined diamonds, without the humanitarian or environmental impact ... and our origin is always certified to be conflict-free. Experience the thrill of owning a fancy-colored Gemesis Cultured Diamond. Because the only thing clear should be your conscience."
Academy Awards Sighting
Diamonds for Humanity made its debut in February, when a flurry of news just before the Academy Awards reported its "conflict-free cultured diamond pendant or lapel pin" was included in an alternative goody bag given to presenters and nominees. Called SWAGG (Sustainability, Wellness and Green Gifts), the bag was put together by Global Green, a national environmental organization that arranges to drive Oscar-goers to the awards ceremony in a Toyota Prius hybrid. Actors Tim Robbins and Robin Williams, among others, took advantage of the offer and were also given the SWAGG bags.
A press release from Global Green about the SWAGG bags stated: "The exquisite Diamonds For Humanity pendant and lapel pin feature Gemesis certified cultured diamonds that have the exact DNA structure of earth-mined diamonds yet involve no human or environmental sacrifice. For years, civil wars in diamond-rich Africa have impeded development and provoked human, cultural and environmental tragedies as a result of the mining of 'conflict diamonds."'
No mention was made of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to keep conflict diamonds out of the legitimate diamond stream, or the efforts of governments, industry and human rights organizations to enforce the scheme.
After the Global Green statement appeared, De Beers spokeswoman Lynette Hori told Idex Online: "The claim that diamonds 'have impeded development' in Africa is simply wrong. In fact, diamond revenues support essential programs of national development in stable, democratic countries such as Botswana, South Africa and Namibia."
Hori cited Botswana in particular. "The sound and sensible way it has managed and marketed this resource has been an example to other diamond producers everywhere. From the outset it adopted an orderly, predictable mining regime which, operating within a transparent legislative framework, has made it attractive to outside investors."
by Peggy Jo Donahue