Friday, February 22, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

Luce Center

Deborah found this link to a panoramic view of the Luce Center where we visited on Saturday in DC. We also went to Jeweler's Werk gallery in Georgetown.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Friday Night Film Series

Towson Presbyterian Church (400 W. Chesapeake Ave) is hosting a free friday night film series on human rights and social justice from 7-9pm each friday.
Dates and Shows are:
2/22- Darfur Diaries
2/29- Omagh-(N. Ireland)
3/7- Bringing Down a Dictator(Yugoslavia)
3/14- The Road to Guantanamo

green diamonds

One organization attempting to address the widespread destruction of farm land in Sierra Leone as a result of diamond mining is One Sky: Canadian Institute of Sustainable Living. Partnered with the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone, their current project enables consumers to contribute a donation or allot a percentage of the purchase of a diamond to go toward the development of restoration of land and the development of a sustainable farming system. Included in the restoration plan there is an emphasis on community participation during both the restoration phase as well as the lands' maintenance thereafter.
Initially, I was skeptical about the way the organization proposed to generate the funds for the project (the sale of more diamonds). This skepticism was most likely present due to the fact that I came across this information in the midst of reading about the murder, mutilation, and torture of millions by rebel troops funded by illegal diamond trading. Although I am aware there are regulations in place to greatly reduce the percentage of blood diamonds in the market, in the context of what I had been reading, buying more diamonds did not seem a very palatable solution for any part of the destruction in sierra leone.
After reading more about this organization, and their other efforts around the world, I better understand their stance and reasoning for using this approach toward funding the project. While the recovery of this region necessitates a larger effort than that of a smaller grass roots organization, this project and others that i'm sure exist are good starting points for education and action.

Taylor's research on DeBeer's

Here's some extensive history of the De Beers company (cartel) for anyone who really want to know the story behind it.

Up to 1982:
Mostly recent history up to 2001:
An article from 2008 about some the effect of the class action suits filed against it:,0,1693898.story

The following is from the artcle from 1982, so it's somewhat outdated. I'm copying it in, because it provides some insight into just how powerful the eight decade De Beers marketing campaign was and is.

“Except for those few stones that have been destroyed, every diamond that has been found and cut into a jewel still exists today and is literally in the public's hands. Some hundred million women wear diamonds, while millions of others keep them in safe-deposit boxes or strongboxes as family heirlooms. It is conservatively estimated that the public holds more than 500 million carats of gem diamonds, which is more than fifty times the number of gem diamonds produced by the diamond cartel in any given year. Since the quantity of diamonds needed for engagement rings and other jewelry each year is satisfied by the production from the world's mines, this half-billion-carat supply of diamonds must be prevented from ever being put on the market. The moment a significant portion of the public begins selling diamonds from this inventory, the price of diamonds cannot be sustained. For the diamond invention to survive, the public must be inhibited from ever parting with its diamonds.”

Basically, the marketing created such a strong sentimental value for diamonds that they are almost never sold, thus protecting the controlled supply that has supported the diamond industry since it began.

I don't know how to respond to De Beers. I'm disgusted by their ethics and disturbed by their power, but I'm in awe of their genius and, most of all, their patience. I've never heard of a marketing campaign implemented with such a long-term view. They gained little for the first couple decades, building up the sentimental value of diamonds for the childhood and young adult years of an entire generation. It almost rivals the programs talked about in works of fiction like Dune.

The Kimberly Process

Erinn found this link that will take you to a 12-page article about the 'Kimberly Process' which is an attempt to resolve the issue of conflict diamonds.

Jan's brainstorming notes on blood diamonds

Washingotn DC Trip info-February 16th

This is an outline of how we will be traveling to DC. Included is a map of the bus routes we will be taking, also listed is the route we will be driving from Towson to DC.
When you arrive at school at 9:30 meet in 2015.

ACC show

Everyone who is not planning to carpool to the ACC show Thursday February 21st should meet at the Pratt street entrance to the convention center at 9:30. The show opens at 10:00am. For those who are meeting at school to carpool meet in 2015 at 9:00.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Conflict Stone

Here are some pages I found interesting:
Pro HipHop- Blingtastic
Bling: A Planet Rock
Black Blood vs. Bling
Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst was not intentionally making any comment on conflict stones, he bought his stones from the Bently and Skinner. Because of the Blood Diamond issue Hirst's skull " now has the potential to be about death in a more literal way." make note this was not his intention.

Blood Diamonds- Sierra Leone
A Jewelry Co. That uses ecogold and conflict free stones:
Itali Lambertini Jewelry