Harvard University Press
Diamonds have long been bloody. A new history shows how Germany’s ruthless African empire brought diamond rings to retail display cases in America—at the cost of African lives.
Since the late 1990s, activists have campaigned to remove “conflict diamonds” from jewelry shops and department stores. But if the problem of conflict diamonds—gems extracted from war zones—has only recently generated attention, it is not a new one. Nor are conflict diamonds an exception in an otherwise honest industry. The modern diamond business, Steven Press shows, owes its origins to imperial wars and has never escaped its legacy of exploitation.
Steven Press is an assistant professor of history and an affiliated member of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Center for African Studies, and the Stanford Center for Law and History.