By Michael O’Connor
As a sophisticated traveler one understands the various types of journeys that might be embarked upon over a lifetime – business journeys, pleasure trips or voyages with a purpose. As an elite traveler it’s easy to understand the context of time when it comes to journeys. Well, what if I told you that the ultimate journey might take roughly a billion years, but as a result could positively impact the lives of men, women and children all around the world. What type of journey is that? It’s the journey of a diamond!
According to scientists, most diamonds found today are at least a billion years old, created during the times the earth was being born and as creatures, now long extinct, roamed above it. Formed under extreme heat and excruciating pressure, over time and numerous eruptions they were pushed upward with tremendous force toward the earth’s surface where they are found or excavated by explorers and miners. Although man has only been aware of diamonds for a few thousand years, the gem’s unique ability to refract and reflect light, its incredible hardness and blazing beauty caused ancient civilizations to endow it with supernatural powers and more modern civilizations to covet it as treasure.
Diamonds today are still considered a treasure, but the true power of a diamond is now seen by many in it’s ability to positively impact and change the lives of men, women, children and entire communities around the world. To date, little has been written about the ways in which diamonds do good, bringing joy to families in communities near and far.
Diamonds Do Good is an initiative developed by the Diamond Empowerment Fund, an organization founded in 2007 by business and music entrepreneur Russell Simmons after taking a fact-finding mission to Africa. He, along with his associate Dr. Ben Chavis visited President Nelson Mandela who urged them to “tell the story” of the positive impact diamonds have on the socio-economic development of Africa. Today the Diamond Empowerment Fund is supported by the most important diamond companies and jewelry retailers in the world, such as DeBeers, Signet and Chow Tai Fook, to name a few, who all adhere to a specific process to ensure transparency in the diamond journey and who contribute to helping others around the world via their diamonds and diamond jewelry.
The stories of how these diamonds do good are vast and compelling.
- In Africa and India over 2,000 college age students have received financial assistance or been awarded scholarships.
- Reliable water has been supplied to close to 4,700 people in India.
- Maternal education and healthcare programs continually help numerous women and children in the rural villages of Mainland China.
- 3,000 new jobs have been created in South Africa by a program that inspires entrepreneurs, providing them funding and mentorship.
- In the South African community of Molepolole jobs are being provided, with two-thirds of them being supplied to women (often single mothers and sole breadwinners).
- In Botswana, financial support is being provided to an orphanage where families have been decimated by the AIDS virus.
- Organizations are being supported that foster women’s empowerment by awarding scholarships to talented women in low-income countries.
Closer to home Jewelers for Children, has donated more than $45 million dollars in the past 15 years to charities such as CASA, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Make-A-Wish America and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
As more shoppers look to make fashion purchases that also benefit others, buying diamonds and diamond jewelry can truly make a difference. Jewelry stores and websites that support these initiatives usually display the “Diamonds Do Good” seal. A purchase from these places gives peace-of-mind for those who know that the ultimate journey is the journey of helping humankind.
For people who wish to show their commitment to philanthropy in a fashionable way, the organization has created the ultimate in a fashionable give-back. The “Diamonds Do Good bracelet”, designed by award-winning designer Mark Patterson and made by jewelry giant Chow Tai Fook makes a fashionable gift. The bracelet, which costs about $125.00 is comprised of silver with gold plating, leather and, of course, a diamond. Centered by a reversible, silhouetted diamond profile, a slice of Chrysoprase is sandwiched between front and back, adding color below the precious metal overlay. The front is accented with a genuine diamond, while the back contains an artistic graphic of the “Do Good” message. A leather “rope” band encircles the wrist and is adjustable for ease of wear. The bracelet is also available in small and medium sizes in order to accommodate many wrist sizes. These bracelets are a reminder that helping our fellow man is a journey in which we should all take part. For more information on Diamonds Do Good, or to read some of the wonderful stories of how diamonds are changing lives, visit www.diamondsdogood.com.