The controversial company known as Diamonds for Humanity is upping its profile. It ran an ad in the April Harper’s Bazaar and held a Harper’s-sponsored auction of pieces at Avery Fisher Hall in New York in April.
But Sabiha Foster, the London designer who founded the company, says the trade should not fear what she’s doing. While the company’s first products involved synthetics and Canadian stones, Foster hopes to use other diamonds as well. “It’s important for me to use African stones and Canadian stones and to work with the industry,” she says. The key to her products is that their proceeds benefit health and education projects in Africa.
Foster even disavows a press release from Global Green, which distributed a Diamonds for Humanity–approved Gemesis synthetic at the Academy Awards that used rhetoric some objected to. “A lot of these sites mean very well, but they get carried away,” she says. “I don’t think like that. In a majority of cases, there are hundreds of millions of people in Africa who benefit from diamonds.”
Still, some saw the ad in Harper’s as not flattering to the industry. “Can luxury and conscience coexist?” it asks. “Diamonds for Humanity ushers in a new diamond culture as a reaction to the civil wars and human-rights abuses in diamond-rich Africa.” It notes that Gemesis-created diamonds “involve no humanitarian or environmental sacrifice.”
Meanwhile, Foster plans more auctions and eventually wants Diamonds for Humanity to be its own brand. More information can be found at its Web site, www.diamondsforhumanity.com.