The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit, and Desire

Tom Zoellner, Author . St. Martin's $24.95 (293p) ISBN 978-0-312-33969-2

After his fiancée dumps him and he's left with a diamond ring to unload, Men's Health contributing editor Zoellner crisscrosses the globe unlocking the mystique of this glittering stone "that brings misery to millions of people across the world." Zoellner probes how "blood diamonds" are used to fund vicious civil wars in Africa; how De Beers, seeing new markets to exploit, linked diamonds to the ancient yuino ceremony in Japan and played on caste obsession in India; and how India is pushing Belgium and Israel out of the gem trade. The author is expert with vivid prose: Australia's Argyle deposit is "shaped a little like a human molar"; impoverished urchins in the diamond-smuggling haven of the Central African Republic get high on bread-and-shoe polish sandwiches; and a Brazilian miner finds a rich concentration of river diamonds but fritters away much of the loot on prostitutes and booze, and eventually is ruined by a dishonest money changer. Politically conscious consumers can now avoid African and Brazilian mines teeming with human rights abuses. Canada pulls $1.2 billion worth of rough diamonds out of the tundra every year while enforcing tough environmental laws, and a Florida company uses Siberian high-pressure chambers to create low-cost chemically perfect diamonds. This is a superior piece of reportage. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-1012-5
Paperback - 340 pages - 978-0-312-33970-8
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