‘Dirty Diamonds’

I’m writing in response to the article “The Fight Over ‘Dirty Diamonds’ ” (JCK, February 2000, p. 94), in which a group called Global Witness says it’s working to stop the sale of diamonds that help finance the civil war in Angola.

As Larry Frederick pointed out in his Editor’s Page in the same issue, the vast majority of diamonds produced in the world today come from legitimate diamond-producing countries, including Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia, where diamonds make a major contribution to the economies.

De Beers agrees with Global Witness’s main objectives. We, too, seek an end to conflict in Africa through international cooperation. De Beers has always strictly adhered to U.N. resolution 1172 and has never bought diamonds from the UNITA rebels in Angola. De Beers has also appealed to its clients and the rest of the diamond industry to assist with the implementation of sanctions and the end of conflict. Less than 2% of global diamond production is thought to come from areas of conflict in Angola.

It should be kept in mind that any action that harms the legitimate diamond industry would have serious implications for millions of individuals around the world.

Andrew Lamont, Manager, Group Corporate Communications, De Beers, London

More on Corporate Jewelry

In a sidebar to my article on corporate jewelry (“Corporate Jewelry: Why Let Others Have All the Profit?,” JCK, February 2000, p. 138), retailer Robert Mann of Rochester, N.Y., recommends that corporate jewelry not be stamped with a company’s logo. That would be about as meaningful to the recipient as a Super Bowl ring without the name of the team!

I stand by my advice. Most jewelers can’t rely on the luxury corporate accounts that Mann is so lucky to have in Rochester, home to a lot of giant companies. Although the employee awards I recommend may not be $10,000 watches, they’re not cost-prohibitive to the presenting company and are much appreciated by the recipients.

Mann considers relatively inexpensive corporate gifts a “headache.” But I find that the typical retail jeweler appreciates the fact that recipients of these company gifts often bond to his store. And they do so not as a result of costly and often ineffective advertising, but as a result of a sale to their employer, which in itself resulted in a reasonable profit.

Susan Wolford, Talisman Corporate Jewelry, Grand Rapids, Mich.