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August 12, 2003

Diamond Age

There's nothing better than an article about the death of DeBeers and the extension, yet again, of Moore's Law, unless it's an article about the the death of DeBeers and the extension of Moore's Law with a really well-written intro.

Aron Weingarten brings the yellow diamond up to the stainless steel jeweler's loupe he holds against his eye. We are in Antwerp, Belgium, in Weingarten's marbled and gilded living room on the edge of the city's gem district, the center of the diamond universe. Nearly 80 percent of the world's rough and polished diamonds move through the hands of Belgian gem traders like Weingarten, a dealer who wears the thick beard and black suit of the Hasidim.

"This is very rare stone," he says, almost to himself, in thickly accented English. "Yellow diamonds of this color are very hard to find. It is probably worth 10, maybe 15 thousand dollars."

"I have two more exactly like it in my pocket," I tell him.

Luckily for me, Sainted Wife has never been much of a bangle and ornament devotee. In the eight years we've been together, I've bought her exactly zero pieces of jewelry. She once told me she'd be perfectly happy with a nice engagement ring once all the bills were paid and the kids had graduated from college, but before then there was no need. If I really wanted to get her something, there was always the Pride and Prejudice DVD set, or a house.

Of course, If I can get her a nice five dollar one-carat stone ten years from now, I'll do that instead. Maybe a carat and half. Anything bigger than that has always looked more like a growth rather than an adornment.

And, for a further bit of bad news for DeBeers, neither of us will care in the least whether it was manufactured or not. Diamonds are forever because they're diamonds, not because they came from a hole in the earth.

Posted by Bigwig at August 12, 2003 04:23 PM | TrackBack
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I can't say that I totally dislike diamonds--40+ years of cultural programming can do that to ya.

But I am always amazed that people still believe the hype and are willing to fork over so much money for something common. ;-)

Living with African probably finished it. I was always suspicious about de Beers, but hearing an African laugh about how "rare" diamonds really are, makes you wonder what the rest of the planet has been smoking.

Posted by: Mrs. du Toit at August 12, 2003 05:13 PM

I'll take a synthesized diamond over a De Beers diamond, any day. :)

(This is, I think, the first time in months that I've read the entire article someone blogged. How freaking cool!)

Posted by: Erica at August 12, 2003 10:40 PM

Really facinating article! and I have to admit I agree with Erica, that I rarely read entire articles referenced in blogs.

Posted by: MojoMark at August 13, 2003 07:33 PM

Far be it from me to cast stones, but isn't that the blogging equivalent of admitting you like to fart in a elevator?

Posted by: bigwig at August 13, 2003 07:46 PM

I don't know. I've never admitted a fondness for elevator farting. :)

No, I normally read the full *blog* post, but part of the magic of blogs is that I can decide which ones I trust and then get bigass news mostly filtered through dozens of perspectives I respect. By the time I've read your take on the diamond thing, and Instapundit's, and everyone else I read (which is more than is on my blogroll, as it were) I've got most of any given article. But you're right, that one was a great read, and it was very well-written to boot.

So, do *you* like farting in elevators?

Posted by: Erica at August 14, 2003 01:45 PM

Nothing says love like a rock extracted from the ground in a war-torn country, smuggled out to help pay for revolutionary communist bullets, and mined with near-slave labour.

Or, rather, nothing says "wow, shiny rock" like a synthetic ruby the size of a hen's egg.


Posted by: Sigivald at August 14, 2003 07:32 PM
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