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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
One night in 1948, an ad agency copywriter, already exhausted from writing the material for an important presentation the following day, realized she had yet to come up with the all-important signature line. "I put my head down and said, 'Please God, send me a line,' " she later recalled. Inspiration struck. The line, arguably the greatest advertising slogan of the 20th century: "A diamond is forever." The client: DeBeers.
Matthew Hart's Diamond is as much the story of DeBeers -- the most effective and longest-running cartel in modern business history -- as it is the story of the independent miners whose entire lives can change course through the discovery of a single magnificent stone, and of the geologists and speculators who spend years searching the world for the volcanic kimberlite "pipes" capable of yielding millions of dollars' worth of diamonds over a succession of years.
From Africa's Diamond Coast to the Manhattan offices of Harry Winston, Hart follows the quirky and sometimes perilous diamond trail, encountering characters as extraordinary and unique as the stones they pursue. But diamonds, made precious by their ability to capture light, also have their dark side. "Malfeasance rustles in the background of the diamond world like a snake in tall grass," notes Hart, who documents the incessant thievery and foul play that characterizes the industry and also finances brutal conflicts in Africa.
In a book as multifaceted and tantalizing as the gems themselves, Matthew Hart has captured the essence of a stone that is itself a wondrous accident of nature, one that has given rise to an obsessive, murky, and utterly fascinating world. (Winter 2002 Selection)