Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Diamonds beat movie's cutting edge

JERUSALEM: Despite the fears of many in the industry, diamond sales were largely unaffected by the release of the film Blood Diamond at the peak of the selling season, industry leaders said yesterday.

But buyers were increasingly aware of ethical issues.

Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, shows how "conflict diamonds" financed bloody wars.

DiCaprio portrays a mercenary jailed for smuggling in Sierra Leone, where a civil war ending in 2002 killed 50,000 people.

"The film was released during the holiday season, when a third of annual US diamond sales take place, and the US accounts for 50 per cent of sales worldwide," a World Diamond Council spokeswoman said at the council's conference in Jerusalem.

Industry officials attending the annual meeting said a big public relations campaign to tell consumers of tighter controls of "conflict diamonds" had apparently helped to soften the effects of the movie on sales.

But 30 to 35 per cent of consumers were still concerned about "conflict diamonds", and wanted to know where stones came from, how mine workers were treated and paid, and whether child labour was involved.

"Turning a blind eye to where our diamonds come from will no longer be tolerated by society," said De Beers Group managing director Gareth Penny.

Link to Diamonds beat movie's cutting edge - 12 May 2007 - Movie news and reviews - NZ Herald