I suppose every girl loves that iconic blue box and white ribbon. I don’t care for it or what’s inside. For me an icon associated with that box is Audrey Hepburn. I admire her for the humanitarian and philanthropic work she did in poor nations around the world.
To keep up with what’s going on in the world I tune in to Good Morning America every morning. Last friday 09/14/2012 the female anchors were dripping in millions of dollars in diamonds. Loaned to them by Tiffany & Co. for the 175th Anniversary .Their excitement got me curious, so I did some digging (no pun intended). Honestly all I knew about Tiffany’s was the infamous blue box and their high prices. What I found out was quite interesting.
Tiffany & Co. first opened its doors on September 14, 1835 in New York City’s lower Manhattan making $4.98 in sales that day. Originally a stationery and fancy goods store, founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B.Young. I had no idea they had been around that long. Today a luxury multinational jewelry and goods store, selling millions of dollars in merchandise every year. Tiffany is also known as the “King of Diamonds” they purchased one of the largest and finest yellow diamond in the world. The iconic diamond discovered in 1887 , in a Kimberly mine in South Africa. On display at their flagship store in New York City.
For the anniversary the 128.54 carat diamond toured the world, at the same time I was reading about the mine workers strike in South Africa. While the world enjoys the Tiffany diamond parade, on August 16th 2012 34 people killed during a confrontation between mine workers and mine security protecting management. I wonder if the Tiffany jewels made a stop in South Africa, its original home and pay a visit to the miners. I wonder if Tiffany’s & Co. knows or even care 30 mine workers and 4 civilians died, hundreds hospitalized and jailed. For trying to stand up for their basic human rights, better working conditions and fair pay.
South Africa is a number one diamond producing and exporting country in the world since the discovery in 1887 but the country and mining communities have nothing to show for it. This is personal to me, I have a family friend that works in a platinum mine where the recent strike claimed 34 lives , fathers, brothers and only providers of households. South Africa is rich in natural resources but greed and foreign influence is behind the decades old plight of the mining industry and true for the rest of Africa. In a December 6, 2011 NBC broad cast, journalist Richard Engel travelled to Mali, Africa. To investigate the increase in child miners and the deplorable conditions they worked in. The chilling report left me incensed and inspired to educate myself about the origins of products I consume.
I love jewelry but is I ever decided to use mined natural resources I want to know their true origin and condition of extraction. While Tiffany & Co, De Beers, Cartier and others continue to perpetuate greed and consumption while lining their pockets with billions of dollars. I hope they remember they are depleting our natural resources, defacing our landscape , not giving back to these communities and the worst violating human rights.