National Geographic : 2002 Jul
Forum Diamonds After 19 years of marriage I was going to ask my husband to (finally) present me with a diamond engagement ring. After reading this article, however, I have decided that I cannot sup port an industry that has caused, even indirectly, such horror and suffering. JANET LOVINS Chipley,Florida Women of developed nations, unite! At 50 percent of the pop ulation, we have enormous buy ing power, and this power can be used to change the diamond industry. Tell that special per son not to purchase a diamond unless it is certified as mined in an environmentally friendly, humane way. If we create a demand for this product, the industry will have to meet that demand. Of course, as part of a brilliant marketing scheme, the need for such certification could be used as an excuse to raise the price of diamonds. Not MEMBERSHIP Please call 1-800-NGS-LINE (1-800-647-5463). Special device for the hearing-impaired (TDD) 1-800-548-9797. Online: nationalgeographic.com/ngm AOL Keyword: NatGeoMag AOA that a small piece of compressed carbon isn't expensive enough. SHEILA SOPROVICH Ottawa, Ontario RAND Diamond is a third generation company that has been a De Beers sightholder since 1947. We deplore human suffering caused by rebels and are combating it. RAND has taken the unprecedented step of identifying each diamond and tracking it from the time we receive it from De Beers through to our own cutting factory and the retail counter. SEAN COHEN President,RAND Diamond New York, New York I was appalled when I read that workers in a Namibian mine have to endure daily x-ray exam inations. In Germany x-ray doses that patients receive are moni tored closely. I would like to know how many of those work ers develop cancer or how many handicapped children are born as a result of De Beers's security measures. GABOR MESTER Kempten, Germany According to De Beers, while all workers pass through low-dose scanningmachines every day at NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * JULY 2002 March 2002 For some of our readers,diamonds are no longer a girl's best friend. "I will never purchase, accept, or wear diamonds again,"wrote one woman, after readingabout the atrocities caused by conflict dia monds. The executive director of the Jewelers Vigilance Commit tee wrote that the diamond industry has been working with the UN to create a system to protect the supply chain from abuse. 1 II___ NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY "For the increase and diffusion of geographicknowledge." The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. Since 1888 the Society has supported more than 7,000 explorations and research projects, adding to knowledge of earth, sea, and sky. JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., President and CEO Executive Vice Presidents TERRENCE B. ADAMSON TERRY D. 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