Mention of the name Leonardo DiCaprio tends not to go down too well at meetings of the Kimberley Process, the organisation set up to stop conflict diamonds getting into the global trading chain.
Ever since the 2006 movie Blood Diamond, when DiCaprio played a tough African mercenary with a heart of gold, the Hollywood actor has been regarded by the gems business as a do-gooding liberal pinko who has given the industry a bad name as rapacious exploiters bent on extracting the last carat of value, regardless of the human cost.
The KP “family” (as it calls itself) points out that the industry set up the organisation well before DiCaprio’s movie, and was cleaning up its act even before he delivered such lines as: “will God ever forgive us for what we’ve done to each other?”
I won’t get into that debate, but must report that the actor’s name was much in evidence at the KP’s plenary meeting in Dubai this week. This time not for his condemnation of “blood” diamonds, as for his promotion of synthetic ones.
The technology behind making diamonds has got to the stage where even the experts confess to finding it very difficult to tell the real from the fake. Apparently, even Ivanka Trump cannot tell them apart.
Chaim Even-Zohar, diamond expert par excellence, performed a 90-minute tour de force on the looming threat from synthetics.
“The synthetic manufacturers are even suggesting putting minor flaws into their stones, just so they can make them perfectly realistic. They are marketing synthetics by saying our diamonds are evil,” said Mr Even-Zohar.
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