Blood Diamonds: The Price of Greed

Tia Runion

diamonds2 TSP 164773451Among a mass of weekend shoppers, my friend and I casually observed the displays in shop windows. Rounding a corner, we flocked toward a high-end jewelry store, where the enticing sparkle of a diamond necklace lured us in. We approached a counter in the back of the store; and our eyes glazed over, dazzled by a display of engagement rings. The buzz of excited shoppers around us faded away. Under the luminous light, the diamonds radiated. We stood in awe of their beauty. As we exited the store, I thought how lovely it would be to own one of those rings.

The Human Cost of Diamonds

Later, I discovered the tragedy behind the sparkling diamonds. Preparing an argument paper for English class, I was able to escape my small suburban neighborhood and travel to Sierra Leone, a desolate, war-torn country in West Africa. In this land rich with diamonds, the world’s unrelenting greed for these gems has led to brutality, corruption, and war. Through research, I discovered that 75,000 civilians in Sierra Leone had lost their lives and over 20,000 victims of rebel warfare had suffered amputations or mutilation. Reading memoirs of child soldiers, I began to feel the pain and fear of the 250,000 young men who had been forced into fighting. Census reports revealed the cultural repercussions of 300,000 refugees fleeing from their homes. Illicit diamond mining and the trade of “blood diamonds” indirectly affects all consumers of diamonds worldwide.

“Be on Your Guard”

teen shopping for diamonds Ftr TSP 497755191What can we do? Before purchasing a diamond, we can ask for a certificate that guarantees the mining of the stone was legal. We can go online and research where diamond companies mine and how they obtain their gems. We can choose alternatives to diamonds or purchase stones from companies like Ruff&Cutt, a jewelry line that donates portions of its proceeds to charities in Sierra Leone. Since many consumers remain unaware of the conflict that has brought turmoil and ruin to Sierra Leone, we can spread the word, telling others about the human cost of diamonds.



Luke 12:15 reminds us that the value of our life consists not in material possessions but in how we use our gifts to please God and to show God’s love to other people.

“Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 
Luke 12:15 (NRSV)

Pray with me: Lord, open our eyes to the wonders of your hands, the beauty not in material possessions but in your people. Grant us a spirit of stewardship so that we learn to focus not on our wants but on the needs of people who are suffering. Lead us to take part in a cause that challenges us and calls us to abandon our selfish desires. Fill our hearts with a longing to serve you and to contribute to causes beyond ourselves. Amen.

Tia Runion , 18, a member of the devozine Teen Advisory Board from Hermitage, Tennessee, is passionate about writing, serving others, and serving God.

—from devozine (July/August 2010). Copyright © 2010 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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