“Diamonds are forever” or “Blood diamonds”–the one a pithy marketing slogan showing how diamonds encapsulate enduring love and commitment and the other a call...

“Diamonds are forever” or “Blood diamonds”–the one a pithy marketing slogan showing how diamonds encapsulate enduring love and commitment and the other a call to conscience about the violence and suffering the quest for diamonds has entailed throughout Africa, the supplier of the majority of the world’s diamonds. In his engagingly written and concise history, Stones of Contention: A History of Africa’s Diamonds (Ohio University Press, 2014), Todd Cleveland looks at the scope and complexity of the African diamond industry and trade from the earliest expressions of international interest in the continent’s mineral wealth to the present day. He highlights the experiences of Africans and their involvement in the mining and processing of diamonds. From artisanal miners working alluvial deposits to company miner workers in South Africa to armed rebels in West Africa to successful industrial operations in Botswana and Namibia, Cleveland provides a panoramic and balanced perspective on both the history and the moral issues involved in assessing diamonds in Africa and their consumption globally. He examines efforts to regulate the diamond trade and offers reasons for optimism that out of these “stones of contention” programs for meaningful, equitable and effective economic and political development may emerge.

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