The Lost Chord — Why Civil Society Is Essential To Diamonds

Opinion piece
19/12/2015 08:50

Vinod Kuriyan, Chief Editor of GEMKonnect, in response to the Civil Society Coalition's announcement that they will boycott the Kimberley Process in 2016 due to dissastifaction with U.A.E.'s chairmanship, writes that it is high time for the KP to reconnect with civil society.


And it lay on my fever'd spirit with a touch of infinite calm.

It quieted pain and sorrow like love overcoming strife,

It seem'd the harmonious echo from our discordant life.

It link'd all perplexed meanings into one perfect peace

And trembled away into silence as if it were loth to cease;

I have sought, but I seek it vainly, that one lost chord divine

The lines above are from Adelaide Ann Proctor’s famous poem A Lost Chord — later set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan and sung by musical greats like Enrico Caruso among others.

In the light of the recently announced boycott of the Kimberley Process (KP) by the Coalition of Civil Societies (CSC), the diamond industry needs to embark on a search to find that all-important lost chord. Without it, even the best efforts of the newly appointed marketing team of the Diamond Producers Association will not be able to “uncover how the unique promise of diamonds can connect with a new generation”.

The perception of the diamond as a product is a composite of attributes the consumer associates it with as well as an assessment of the diamond industry in general and what it stands for in society. As Vallabhbhai Patel, one of our previous bloggers observed, it is necessary for the diamond industry to be seen as a force for good around the world.

The Kimberley Process is the diamond industry’s assertive statement to the world that it is  a force for good and will act promptly and vigorously to right any wrong. Civil society — and its approval of the KP — are an essential part of the process. So whether or not the CSC’s accusations against the diamond industry and the leadership of the KP hold merit, the industry’s reputation has taken a beating with the boycott.

Just recently the international media was abuzz with reports that actor Leonardo DiCaprio along with Twitter/Medium founder Evan Williams, former eBay president Jeff Skoll, and Facebook co-founder Andrew McCollum were among those investing in a startup that intends to mass-produce synthetic diamonds. According to the report, DiCaprio, who starred in the movie Blood Diamond, has become an activist against the diamond industry, which has received a lot of bad press “for its negative environmental impact and child labour.”

The irony is that the startup’s communications themselves are ambiguous — it says it is “culturing” diamonds and says, “they aren't synthetic gems, but 100 percent real diamonds.” But guess who the consumer will believe if someone were to call them out?

The diamond first needs the consumer’s approval in terms of what it does for society before it is ascribed any sort of value. The diamond industry needs to do whatever is necessary to gain that approval. The CSC is a bridge toward that end. They are essential to the well-being of diamonds.

We have to find that lost chord.

Vinod Kuriyan is Chief Editor of GEMKonnect. He has over 25 years’ experience writing about and analysing the gem and jewellery industry worldwide, particularly the Indian industry. He has travelled extensively worldwide covering the industry and industry events. His industry network covers connections in every segment from mines all the way through to retail markets.