Diamond: Journey to the Heart of an Obsession

Diamond: Journey to the heart of an obsession is a history of the diamond trade by Matthew Hart.  Armed with a unique willingness to criticize diamond behemoth De Beers, Hart provides an entertaining look into the history of diamond mining, trading, and craftmanship. 

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Covering all aspects of the diamond trade, from the
miners who own nothing but their shirts and a right to rent a boat to sift the earth for these precious gems, to an explanation about how diamonds are actually formed inside our planets innards, Hart’s Diamonds an entertaining crash course in the history (honorable and not) of our civilization’s obsession with the tiny stones.

Most interesting is the coverage of the diamond cutting industry, from it’s expertise in large stones in New York, London, and Antwerp, to it’s newest powerhouses in India, who have dominated the market in their rare ability to work on stones so small that most mines don’t think of them as profitable.

Also covered is the debate about War Diamonds, or diamonds sold by military forces who brutalize the civilians who work the mines.  Hart covers the recent debate about war diamonds in Africa, and the industry’s attempts to police itself.  Anyone looking for a tutorial on the issue will do well with the chapters in Hart’s book.

Threaded throughout the book is Hart’s examination of the diamond industry’s most important character, De Beers.  While Hart pulls no punches in criticizing De Beers, his book does not constitute an expose of the secretive diamond giant. 

I highly recommend you pick this book up.