The Perfect Storm

The Insider
The Perfect Storm

Volume 1

In early June I attended a meeting, moderated by Martin Rapaport, which was the first Fair Trade Jewelry meeting of its kind. Martin is a big player in the jewelry industry. He founded the “Rapaport Report” which sets the benchmark for diamond prices in the jewelry industry as a whole. He was also instrumental in establishment of the Kimberly Process, which certifies diamonds as “Conflict Free.”

The meeting was sparsely attended—maybe fifty people and a good chunk of those were press. On the other hand, the meeting on an upcoming film with Leonard DeCapio called ‘The Blood Diamond‘, drew crowds of nearly a thousand people. The movie is supposed to have Oscar potential.

It was ironic that so few people attended the Fair Trade meeting, since Fair Trade is the real issue behind Blood Diamonds. I spoke twice at the meeting and afterwards was asked a series of questions by Rapaport News which was supposed to be published in their newsletter. See my written response which is an argument why the jewelry industry must adopt Fair Trade.

Right now, probably less than five percent of the US population knows what conflict diamonds are. By January, that number will have jumped, I expect, to around 30%. I am just guessing on numbers here.

Diamond business represents slightly over 50% of the entire revenues of the jewelry business as a whole. It used to be the staple of the independent jeweler, and it still is. Over the last few years, however, the huge margins that independent jewelers could once take for granted have been eroded by e-commerce. For example, the same three carat diamond may be selling on several different websites for competing prices. Even with smaller diamonds, independent jewelers can not longer gouge any customer who does a web search.

The movie is analogous to the “perfect storm” and many independent jewelers are scared. They have taken a big hit in their margins from the internet diamond business which is growing fast. The web has empowered the consumer. The release of this film will be during the holidays, which is the time of year when most jewelry companies make their profit.

Of course, even with the internet business, some gouging still takes place, particularly with some of the leading “perfectly cut” branded diamonds. Instead of a thirty percent margin, a jeweler with the right brand can get triple key. That’s three times the cost. These diamonds are no different than the finest cut stones without the brand at half the price. But the consumer gets the name and the opportunity to add more to our trade deficit.

De Beers, the diamond cartel guys, has a number of businesses that they sell directly too. These source companies do not care about the quandary of the independents, who have always been their bread and butter. As long as they sell more diamonds, that’s all that matters.

De Beers has spent countless billions of dollars creating the image of the diamond. Historically, diamonds were not associated with weddings and engagements.  The association is from a hundred years of intensive marketing. Consider that diamonds are not rare, either.

How is it that a man who offers his beloved a one carat diamond, paying upwards of five thousand dollars—the perfect, pure carbon symbol of eternality, does not also wonder about the diamond tipped drill or saw blade at the local hardware store?

More importantly, how can the jeweler or customer accept that a diamond ring that symbolizes love to the wearer might mean exploitation and destruction of the environment to those who produced its parts?

That only fifty out of probably over fifteen thousand people who are in the jewelry industry at that show actually attended the meeting is just another symptom of how much of the jewelry industry is toxic, environmentally insensitive and greedy. They have ignored these issues. If you want them to pay attention to these things, next time you go into a jewelry store ask them about “Fair Trade.”

Diamonds—all beautiful gemstones—are extremely seductive. These issues have been ignored because De Beers’ marketing is a tour de force!

From one perspective, it would be a great thing if the movie impacted diamond sales. It would mean that people in this country actually care enough about the issues in the developing world to take action.

A segment of the population is concerned about these issues of conflict diamonds, and Fair Trade, but it is a very small segment. I would argue that this segment is increasing. They are the same demographic who are pushing the massive growth of organic foods. I talk to more and more people who are against diamonds and want other gems in the engagement rings we sell.

One of the most troubling aspects of living today is that there is a disconnection between how we spend and the effects of this economy. This is pervasive, not just in the jewelry business, but in all business.

I oppose how mining impacts the environment, and yet my livelihood depends upon extracting gold and silver from the earth. (Actually, all the gold and silver we buy is recycled.) The politics of big oil are repulsive to me and yet I do not hesitate to fill up my car and go on a road trip. I am disgusted driving through clear cuts in the Pacific Northwest, yet I go to the lumber store and buy two by fours whenever I need them. I enjoy having fresh fish without considering what damage those factory trawlers are doing to the ocean environment. I believe strongly that companies should treat their employees generously and yet I search for the lowest prices, whether I am purchasing something personally or something for my company.

Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” is at work here, for the betterment and detriment of all.

Conflict diamonds were never more than three or four percent of the total diamonds coming into the US. The industry was quick to create a process to eliminate the sale of those diamonds. The upshot of this is that the diamond you buy from any jeweler is going to be conflict free. So the film is really not relevant to our situation in the US.

At the end of the film there will be some kind of trailer wrap up. What is said will say much about the producer’s integrity. I would be surprised if the diamond people have not met with the Hollywood people around this issue. If there is nothing about the Kimberly Process, the potential to use people’s emotions and their compassion, may create a distorted version of the truth to appear to be acting politically correct.

The timing of the film, its release during the peak jewelry buying time, leads me to believe that one of the purposes is to hurt the diamond business.

Ironically, if the diamond industry is heavily impacted by the film, it will hurt mostly the tens of thousands of cutters, mainly in the developing world, who have no resource base to survive with when they are laid off. So, if the US consumer rebels against diamonds, they will end up hurting those who they really want to help.

Would the Kimberly Process have been adopted if there was not a danger of ruining the image of the diamond? In other words, was it done for the suffering or the people or simply because of the potential damage from marketing?

Certainly, there are people who are just into money and really do not care about the human impact of their business. They are no different than any other multi-national company which takes part in macro-colonization of other countries.

Martin Rapaport

On the other hand, you do have people like Martin Rapaport, a big player in the diamond business. He is clearly a very religious, caring man who is genuinely concerned with the well being of other people.

Ultimately, I would be surprised if the movie impacts diamond sales in the long term. Receiving the rock is a critical element in most engagements and no movie will change that, particularly because the diamond business is preparing to counter the message.

Unless… somehow diamonds and terrorism get linked. Imagine a headline: “Diamond Trade linked to Al-Qaeda.” It would be a distortion like Bush’s linking 911 to Al-Qaeda. That’s an emotional wave that could sink a lot of carbon based commerce in the diamond industry.

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The Insider
The Perfect Storm

Volume 1

In early June I attended a meeting, moderated by Martin Rapaport, which was the first Fair Trade Jewelry meeting of its kind. Martin is a big player in the jewelry industry. He founded the “Rapaport Report” which sets the benchmark for diamond prices in the jewelry industry as a whole. He was also instrumental in establishment of the Kimberly Process, which certifies diamonds as “Conflict Free.”

The meeting was sparsely attended—maybe fifty people and a good chunk of those were press. On the other hand, the meeting on an upcoming film with Leonard DeCapio called ‘The Blood Diamond‘, drew crowds of nearly a thousand people. The movie is supposed to have Oscar potential.

It was ironic that so few people attended the Fair Trade meeting, since Fair Trade is the real issue behind Blood Diamonds. I spoke twice at the meeting and afterwards was asked a series of questions by Rapaport News which was supposed to be published in their newsletter. See my written response which is an argument why the jewelry industry must adopt Fair Trade.

Right now, probably less than five percent of the US population knows what conflict diamonds are. By January, that number will have jumped, I expect, to around 30%. I am just guessing on numbers here.

Diamond business represents slightly over 50% of the entire revenues of the jewelry business as a whole. It used to be the staple of the independent jeweler, and it still is. Over the last few years, however, the huge margins that independent jewelers could once take for granted have been eroded by e-commerce. For example, the same three carat diamond may be selling on several different websites for competing prices. Even with smaller diamonds, independent jewelers can not longer gouge any customer who does a web search.

The movie is analogous to the “perfect storm” and many independent jewelers are scared. They have taken a big hit in their margins from the internet diamond business which is growing fast. The web has empowered the consumer. The release of this film will be during the holidays, which is the time of year when most jewelry companies make their profit.

Of course, even with the internet business, some gouging still takes place, particularly with some of the leading “perfectly cut” branded diamonds. Instead of a thirty percent margin, a jeweler with the right brand can get triple key. That’s three times the cost. These diamonds are no different than the finest cut stones without the brand at half the price. But the consumer gets the name and the opportunity to add more to our trade deficit.

De Beers, the diamond cartel guys, has a number of businesses that they sell directly too. These source companies do not care about the quandary of the independents, who have always been their bread and butter. As long as they sell more diamonds, that’s all that matters.

De Beers has spent countless billions of dollars creating the image of the diamond. Historically, diamonds were not associated with weddings and engagements.  The association is from a hundred years of intensive marketing. Consider that diamonds are not rare, either.

How is it that a man who offers his beloved a one carat diamond, paying upwards of five thousand dollars—the perfect, pure carbon symbol of eternality, does not also wonder about the diamond tipped drill or saw blade at the local hardware store?

More importantly, how can the jeweler or customer accept that a diamond ring that symbolizes love to the wearer might mean exploitation and destruction of the environment to those who produced its parts?

That only fifty out of probably over fifteen thousand people who are in the jewelry industry at that show actually attended the meeting is just another symptom of how much of the jewelry industry is toxic, environmentally insensitive and greedy. They have ignored these issues. If you want them to pay attention to these things, next time you go into a jewelry store ask them about “Fair Trade.”

Diamonds—all beautiful gemstones—are extremely seductive. These issues have been ignored because De Beers’ marketing is a tour de force!

From one perspective, it would be a great thing if the movie impacted diamond sales. It would mean that people in this country actually care enough about the issues in the developing world to take action.

A segment of the population is concerned about these issues of conflict diamonds, and Fair Trade, but it is a very small segment. I would argue that this segment is increasing. They are the same demographic who are pushing the massive growth of organic foods. I talk to more and more people who are against diamonds and want other gems in the engagement rings we sell.

One of the most troubling aspects of living today is that there is a disconnection between how we spend and the effects of this economy. This is pervasive, not just in the jewelry business, but in all business.

I oppose how mining impacts the environment, and yet my livelihood depends upon extracting gold and silver from the earth. (Actually, all the gold and silver we buy is recycled.) The politics of big oil are repulsive to me and yet I do not hesitate to fill up my car and go on a road trip. I am disgusted driving through clear cuts in the Pacific Northwest, yet I go to the lumber store and buy two by fours whenever I need them. I enjoy having fresh fish without considering what damage those factory trawlers are doing to the ocean environment. I believe strongly that companies should treat their employees generously and yet I search for the lowest prices, whether I am purchasing something personally or something for my company.

Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” is at work here, for the betterment and detriment of all.

Conflict diamonds were never more than three or four percent of the total diamonds coming into the US. The industry was quick to create a process to eliminate the sale of those diamonds. The upshot of this is that the diamond you buy from any jeweler is going to be conflict free. So the film is really not relevant to our situation in the US.

At the end of the film there will be some kind of trailer wrap up. What is said will say much about the producer’s integrity. I would be surprised if the diamond people have not met with the Hollywood people around this issue. If there is nothing about the Kimberly Process, the potential to use people’s emotions and their compassion, may create a distorted version of the truth to appear to be acting politically correct.

The timing of the film, its release during the peak jewelry buying time, leads me to believe that one of the purposes is to hurt the diamond business.

Ironically, if the diamond industry is heavily impacted by the film, it will hurt mostly the tens of thousands of cutters, mainly in the developing world, who have no resource base to survive with when they are laid off. So, if the US consumer rebels against diamonds, they will end up hurting those who they really want to help.

Would the Kimberly Process have been adopted if there was not a danger of ruining the image of the diamond? In other words, was it done for the suffering or the people or simply because of the potential damage from marketing?

Certainly, there are people who are just into money and really do not care about the human impact of their business. They are no different than any other multi-national company which takes part in macro-colonization of other countries.

Martin Rapaport

On the other hand, you do have people like Martin Rapaport, a big player in the diamond business. He is clearly a very religious, caring man who is genuinely concerned with the well being of other people.

Ultimately, I would be surprised if the movie impacts diamond sales in the long term. Receiving the rock is a critical element in most engagements and no movie will change that, particularly because the diamond business is preparing to counter the message.

Unless… somehow diamonds and terrorism get linked. Imagine a headline: “Diamond Trade linked to Al-Qaeda.” It would be a distortion like Bush’s linking 911 to Al-Qaeda. That’s an emotional wave that could sink a lot of carbon based commerce in the diamond industry.

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'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: track_ext_links (1) Tracking external links enabled Start uga_get_option: prefix_ext_links uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: prefix_ext_links (/outgoing/) Ending uga_track_external_url: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_diamond Ending uga_track_full_url: /outgoing/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_diamond Adding onclick attribute for /outgoing/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_diamond Ending uga_preg_callback: Conflict Free Start uga_preg_callback: Array Get tracker for full url Start uga_track_full_url: www.imdb.com/title/tt0450259/ Start uga_is_url_internal: www.imdb.com/title/tt0450259/ Start uga_get_option: internal_domains uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: internal_domains (www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com) Checking hostname www.circlemanifesto.com Checking hostname circlemanifesto.com Ending uga_is_url_internal: Get tracker for external URL Start uga_track_external_url: www.imdb.com/title/tt0450259/ Start uga_get_option: track_ext_links uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: track_ext_links (1) Tracking external links enabled Start uga_get_option: prefix_ext_links uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: prefix_ext_links (/outgoing/) Ending uga_track_external_url: www.imdb.com/title/tt0450259/ Ending uga_track_full_url: /outgoing/www.imdb.com/title/tt0450259/ Adding onclick attribute for /outgoing/www.imdb.com/title/tt0450259/ Ending uga_preg_callback: The Blood Diamond Start uga_preg_callback: Array Get tracker for full url Start uga_track_full_url: www.circlemanifesto.com/?page_id=36 Start uga_is_url_internal: www.circlemanifesto.com/?page_id=36 Start uga_get_option: internal_domains uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: internal_domains (www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com) Checking hostname www.circlemanifesto.com Match found, url is internal Checking hostname circlemanifesto.com Ending uga_is_url_internal: 1 Get tracker for internal URL Start uga_track_internal_url: www.circlemanifesto.com/?page_id=36, Start uga_get_option: track_files uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: track_files (1) Tracking files enabled Removed query params from url: www.circlemanifesto.com/ Start uga_get_option: track_extensions uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: track_extensions (gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc) Checking file extension gif Checking file extension jpg Checking file extension jpeg Checking file extension bmp Checking file extension png Checking file extension pdf Checking file extension mp3 Checking file extension wav Checking file extension phps Checking file extension zip Checking file extension gz Checking file extension tar Checking file extension rar Checking file extension jar Checking file extension exe Checking file extension pps Checking file extension ppt Checking file extension xls Checking file extension doc Ending uga_track_internal_url: Ending uga_track_full_url: Ending uga_preg_callback: written response Start uga_preg_callback: Array Get tracker for full url Start uga_track_full_url: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debeers Start uga_is_url_internal: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debeers Start uga_get_option: internal_domains uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: internal_domains (www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com) Checking hostname www.circlemanifesto.com Checking hostname circlemanifesto.com Ending uga_is_url_internal: Get tracker for external URL Start uga_track_external_url: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debeers Start uga_get_option: track_ext_links uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: track_ext_links (1) Tracking external links enabled Start uga_get_option: prefix_ext_links uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: prefix_ext_links (/outgoing/) Ending uga_track_external_url: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debeers Ending uga_track_full_url: /outgoing/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debeers Adding onclick attribute for /outgoing/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debeers Ending uga_preg_callback: De Beers Start uga_preg_callback: Array Get tracker for full url Start uga_track_full_url: www.circlemanifesto.com/?page_id=49 Start uga_is_url_internal: www.circlemanifesto.com/?page_id=49 Start uga_get_option: internal_domains uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: internal_domains (www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com) Checking hostname www.circlemanifesto.com Match found, url is internal Checking hostname circlemanifesto.com Ending uga_is_url_internal: 1 Get tracker for internal URL Start uga_track_internal_url: www.circlemanifesto.com/?page_id=49, Start uga_get_option: track_files uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: track_files (1) Tracking files enabled Removed query params from url: www.circlemanifesto.com/ Start uga_get_option: track_extensions uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: track_extensions (gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc) Checking file extension gif Checking file extension jpg Checking file extension jpeg Checking file extension bmp Checking file extension png Checking file extension pdf Checking file extension mp3 Checking file extension wav Checking file extension phps Checking file extension zip Checking file extension gz Checking file extension tar Checking file extension rar Checking file extension jar Checking file extension exe Checking file extension pps Checking file extension ppt Checking file extension xls Checking file extension doc Ending uga_track_internal_url: Ending uga_track_full_url: Ending uga_preg_callback: weddings and engagements Start uga_preg_callback: Array Get tracker for full url Start uga_track_full_url: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_trade Start uga_is_url_internal: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_trade Start uga_get_option: internal_domains uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: internal_domains (www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com) Checking hostname www.circlemanifesto.com Checking hostname circlemanifesto.com Ending uga_is_url_internal: Get tracker for external URL Start uga_track_external_url: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_trade Start uga_get_option: track_ext_links uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: track_ext_links (1) Tracking external links enabled Start uga_get_option: prefix_ext_links uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: prefix_ext_links (/outgoing/) Ending uga_track_external_url: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_trade Ending uga_track_full_url: /outgoing/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_trade Adding onclick attribute for /outgoing/en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_trade Ending uga_preg_callback: Fair Trade Start uga_preg_callback: Array Get tracker for full url Start uga_track_full_url: www.organicconsumers.org/organic/popularity102204.cfm Start uga_is_url_internal: www.organicconsumers.org/organic/popularity102204.cfm Start uga_get_option: internal_domains uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: internal_domains (www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com) Checking hostname www.circlemanifesto.com Checking hostname circlemanifesto.com Ending uga_is_url_internal: Get tracker for external URL Start uga_track_external_url: www.organicconsumers.org/organic/popularity102204.cfm Start uga_get_option: track_ext_links uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: track_ext_links (1) Tracking external links enabled Start uga_get_option: prefix_ext_links uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: prefix_ext_links (/outgoing/) Ending uga_track_external_url: www.organicconsumers.org/organic/popularity102204.cfm Ending uga_track_full_url: /outgoing/www.organicconsumers.org/organic/popularity102204.cfm Adding onclick attribute for /outgoing/www.organicconsumers.org/organic/popularity102204.cfm Ending uga_preg_callback: organic foods Start uga_preg_callback: Array Get tracker for full url Start uga_track_full_url: www.circlemanifesto.com/?page_id=22 Start uga_is_url_internal: www.circlemanifesto.com/?page_id=22 Start uga_get_option: internal_domains uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => true, 'ignore_users' => true, 'max_user_level' => '8', 'footer_hooked' => false, 'filter_content' => true, 'filter_comments' => true, 'filter_comment_authors' => true, 'track_ext_links' => true, 'prefix_ext_links' => '/outgoing/', 'track_files' => true, 'prefix_file_links' => '/downloads/', 'track_extensions' => 'gif,jpg,jpeg,bmp,png,pdf,mp3,wav,phps,zip,gz,tar,rar,jar,exe,pps,ppt,xls,doc', 'track_mail_links' => true, 'prefix_mail_links' => '/mailto/', 'debug' => true, 'check_updates' => true, 'version_sent' => '1.6.0', 'advanced_config' => true, ) Ending uga_get_option: internal_domains (www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com) Checking hostname www.circlemanifesto.com Match found, url is internal Checking hostname circlemanifesto.com Ending uga_is_url_internal: 1 Get tracker for internal URL Start uga_track_internal_url: www.circlemanifesto.com/?page_id=22, Start uga_get_option: track_files uga_options: array ( 'internal_domains' => 'www.circlemanifesto.com,circlemanifesto.com', 'account_id' => 'UA-8534005-1', 'enable_tracker' => true, 'track_adm_pages' => 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The Insider
The Perfect Storm

Volume 1

In early June I attended a meeting, moderated by Martin Rapaport, which was the first Fair Trade Jewelry meeting of its kind. Martin is a big player in the jewelry industry. He founded the “Rapaport Report” which sets the benchmark for diamond prices in the jewelry industry as a whole. He was also instrumental in establishment of the Kimberly Process, which certifies diamonds as “Conflict Free.”

The meeting was sparsely attended—maybe fifty people and a good chunk of those were press. On the other hand, the meeting on an upcoming film with Leonard DeCapio called ‘The Blood Diamond‘, drew crowds of nearly a thousand people. The movie is supposed to have Oscar potential.

It was ironic that so few people attended the Fair Trade meeting, since Fair Trade is the real issue behind Blood Diamonds. I spoke twice at the meeting and afterwards was asked a series of questions by Rapaport News which was supposed to be published in their newsletter. See my written response which is an argument why the jewelry industry must adopt Fair Trade.

Right now, probably less than five percent of the US population knows what conflict diamonds are. By January, that number will have jumped, I expect, to around 30%. I am just guessing on numbers here.

Diamond business represents slightly over 50% of the entire revenues of the jewelry business as a whole. It used to be the staple of the independent jeweler, and it still is. Over the last few years, however, the huge margins that independent jewelers could once take for granted have been eroded by e-commerce. For example, the same three carat diamond may be selling on several different websites for competing prices. Even with smaller diamonds, independent jewelers can not longer gouge any customer who does a web search.

The movie is analogous to the “perfect storm” and many independent jewelers are scared. They have taken a big hit in their margins from the internet diamond business which is growing fast. The web has empowered the consumer. The release of this film will be during the holidays, which is the time of year when most jewelry companies make their profit.

Of course, even with the internet business, some gouging still takes place, particularly with some of the leading “perfectly cut” branded diamonds. Instead of a thirty percent margin, a jeweler with the right brand can get triple key. That’s three times the cost. These diamonds are no different than the finest cut stones without the brand at half the price. But the consumer gets the name and the opportunity to add more to our trade deficit.

De Beers, the diamond cartel guys, has a number of businesses that they sell directly too. These source companies do not care about the quandary of the independents, who have always been their bread and butter. As long as they sell more diamonds, that’s all that matters.

De Beers has spent countless billions of dollars creating the image of the diamond. Historically, diamonds were not associated with weddings and engagements.  The association is from a hundred years of intensive marketing. Consider that diamonds are not rare, either.

How is it that a man who offers his beloved a one carat diamond, paying upwards of five thousand dollars—the perfect, pure carbon symbol of eternality, does not also wonder about the diamond tipped drill or saw blade at the local hardware store?

More importantly, how can the jeweler or customer accept that a diamond ring that symbolizes love to the wearer might mean exploitation and destruction of the environment to those who produced its parts?

That only fifty out of probably over fifteen thousand people who are in the jewelry industry at that show actually attended the meeting is just another symptom of how much of the jewelry industry is toxic, environmentally insensitive and greedy. They have ignored these issues. If you want them to pay attention to these things, next time you go into a jewelry store ask them about “Fair Trade.”

Diamonds—all beautiful gemstones—are extremely seductive. These issues have been ignored because De Beers’ marketing is a tour de force!

From one perspective, it would be a great thing if the movie impacted diamond sales. It would mean that people in this country actually care enough about the issues in the developing world to take action.

A segment of the population is concerned about these issues of conflict diamonds, and Fair Trade, but it is a very small segment. I would argue that this segment is increasing. They are the same demographic who are pushing the massive growth of organic foods. I talk to more and more people who are against diamonds and want other gems in the engagement rings we sell.

One of the most troubling aspects of living today is that there is a disconnection between how we spend and the effects of this economy. This is pervasive, not just in the jewelry business, but in all business.

I oppose how mining impacts the environment, and yet my livelihood depends upon extracting gold and silver from the earth. (Actually, all the gold and silver we buy is recycled.) The politics of big oil are repulsive to me and yet I do not hesitate to fill up my car and go on a road trip. I am disgusted driving through clear cuts in the Pacific Northwest, yet I go to the lumber store and buy two by fours whenever I need them. I enjoy having fresh fish without considering what damage those factory trawlers are doing to the ocean environment. I believe strongly that companies should treat their employees generously and yet I search for the lowest prices, whether I am purchasing something personally or something for my company.

Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” is at work here, for the betterment and detriment of all.

Conflict diamonds were never more than three or four percent of the total diamonds coming into the US. The industry was quick to create a process to eliminate the sale of those diamonds. The upshot of this is that the diamond you buy from any jeweler is going to be conflict free. So the film is really not relevant to our situation in the US.

At the end of the film there will be some kind of trailer wrap up. What is said will say much about the producer’s integrity. I would be surprised if the diamond people have not met with the Hollywood people around this issue. If there is nothing about the Kimberly Process, the potential to use people’s emotions and their compassion, may create a distorted version of the truth to appear to be acting politically correct.

The timing of the film, its release during the peak jewelry buying time, leads me to believe that one of the purposes is to hurt the diamond business.

Ironically, if the diamond industry is heavily impacted by the film, it will hurt mostly the tens of thousands of cutters, mainly in the developing world, who have no resource base to survive with when they are laid off. So, if the US consumer rebels against diamonds, they will end up hurting those who they really want to help.

Would the Kimberly Process have been adopted if there was not a danger of ruining the image of the diamond? In other words, was it done for the suffering or the people or simply because of the potential damage from marketing?

Certainly, there are people who are just into money and really do not care about the human impact of their business. They are no different than any other multi-national company which takes part in macro-colonization of other countries.

Martin Rapaport

On the other hand, you do have people like Martin Rapaport, a big player in the diamond business. He is clearly a very religious, caring man who is genuinely concerned with the well being of other people.

Ultimately, I would be surprised if the movie impacts diamond sales in the long term. Receiving the rock is a critical element in most engagements and no movie will change that, particularly because the diamond business is preparing to counter the message.

Unless… somehow diamonds and terrorism get linked. Imagine a headline: “Diamond Trade linked to Al-Qaeda.” It would be a distortion like Bush’s linking 911 to Al-Qaeda. That’s an emotional wave that could sink a lot of carbon based commerce in the diamond industry.

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