In January, the diamond industry was hit with another blast of bad publicity when a Washington Post article alleged new evidence of a link between diamonds and terrorist groups. The story was syndicated to newspapers throughout the country and discussed on cable channel MSNBC.
The article included one quote that was largely ignored by the press, but which could re-ignite an old controversy. An intelligence specialist on al Qaeda’s finances told the Post that, following the twin bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa, al Qaeda moved into “diamonds and tanzanite.” Last year, reports on a link between terrorism and tanzanite caused some retailers to yank it from their shelves. State Department officials later said there was no evidence of a link, and retailers restocked the gem.