Blood on the Stone by Ian Smilie

Subtitled “Greed, Corruption, and War in the Global Diamond Trade”, Smilie’s book was assigned for my trafficking class’ unit on conflict minerals. The book details a dangerous pipeline leading from war-torn Africa to the glittering showrooms of Paris, London and New York. It describes the campaign that forced an industry and more than 50 governments to create a global control mechanism, and it provides a sobering prognosis on the impact and future of the Kimberley Certification Process.

The other book I read on this topic focused largely on the efforts of De Beers to monopolize the diamond trade. This book, however, delves into a series of case studies — Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo — to show exactly how diamonds are funneled out to adorn engagement rings and funneled in to fund wars and human right violations. It’s the first book I’ve read that examines the solutions offered by De Beers, the United Nations, and other governments and then follows up its critiques with its own suggestions. How very helpful!

I did have a few times were I struggled to follow the narrative but, overall, this is an important read on blood diamonds/conflict diamonds for both the beginner and the expert. Now, if only I could find a book on other conflict minerals!

Book Mentioned:

  • Smilie, Ian. Blood on the Stone: Greed, Corruption, and War in the Global Diamond Trade. New York: Anthem Press, 2010. Print. 252 pgs. ISBN: 9780857289636. Source: Purchased.
Book Cover © Anthem Press. Retrieved: March 30, 2012.