Sunday, February 04, 2007


'The ancient Greeks believed that diamonds were slivers of stars that had fallen to earth. Others claimed that they were the tears of gods. According to yet another legend there was an isolated valley somewhere in Central Asia that was sown with diamonds and guarded by birds of prey and sinister snakes.' (Gassan Diamonds)

True, legends only telling part of the history of the diamond. But what then is the other part? Diamonds coming about as the result of scorching heat and enormous pressure under the crust of the earth is one story...and a bit one-sided. Logical, because it is the rational scientific explanation given on the website of Gassan Diamonds in Amsterdam. one of the oldest diamond houses in the Netherlands.

For my newspaper Dagblad De Pers, I contacted Benno Leeser, the director of Gassan Diamonds. He did not report any drop in sales after the release of the film, saying only few people asked questions. In the US, however, the diamond trade has been under pressure for quite some time now. Severe competition from low-wage countries is one the main reasons, although the release of Blood Diamond has not done the diamond industry much good either.

Already the film has become controversial, with people in the diamond trade claiming that Blood Diamond is a far cry from reality. I went to see it last night and was surprised that, although it was released only last week, it wasn't a crowd puller. Dicaprio shows he is more than a pretty face. The story touches on child soldiers, the blood trail of conflict diamonds and the hyprocrisy of us here in the west wanting to get our hands on such dazzling jewels. Below you will find the story line taken from the official moviesite. And make sure to watch the trailer and then of course the film itself.

Set against the backdrop of the chaos and civil war that enveloped 1990s Sierra Leone, "Blood Diamond" is the story of Danny Archer (Leonardo Dicaprio, an ex-mercenary from Zimbabwe, the former Rhodesia), and Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), a Mende fisherman. Both men are African, but their histories and their circumstances are as different as any can be until their fates become joined in a common quest to recover a rare pink diamond, the kind of stone that can transform a life...or end it.

Solomon, who has been taken from his family and forced to work in the diamond fields, finds the extraordinary gem and hides it at great risk, knowing if he is discovered, he will be killed instantly. But he also knows the diamond could not only provide the means to save his wife and daughters from a life as refugees but also help rescue his son, Dia, from an even worse fate, as a child soldier.

Enter Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), an idealistic American journalist who is in Sierra Leone to uncover the truth behind conflict diamonds, exposing the complicity of diamond industry leaders who have chosen profits over principles. Maddy seeks out Archer as a source for her article, but soon finds it is he who needs her even more. With Maddy's help, Archer and Solomon embark on a dangerous trek through rebel territory. Archer needs Solomon to find and recover the valuable pink diamond, but Solomon seeks something far more precious...his son.

the Blood Diamond international trailer