Thursday, March 18, 2010

An Article About the Darker Side of the Diamond Mining Trade in Cinta Larga, Brazil

I stumbled across this article in the Village Voice. It is the rather complex story about the darker side of the diamond mining trade in the Cinta Larga Indian Reserve of Brazil and one New Yorker's attempt an utter failure to make a fortune from it.

A thoroughly interesting read and a reminder of why we like to stay on the right side of the law.

(First page copied from the Village Voice online. Read the rest HERE)

A New York Operator's Trail of Blood, Bankruptcy, and Brazilian Diamonds

        The entrance to the 110-year-old brownstone at 2 East 12th Street, two blocks south of Union Square, isn't particularly dramatic or imposing. You have to step down to reach the front door. There's no doorman to wait on you.

Garimpeiros at work, photographed from a federal 
police helicopter in 2004.
                                                                                                      photos crdt: Newscom
Garimpeiros at work, photographed from a federal police helicopter in 2004.

        Looking at it, you wouldn't imagine that the basement apartment there was at the center of a bitter court fight that ranged from the West 47th Street Diamond District deep into the Amazon jungle, and involved smuggling, bribery, corruption, a $20 billion corporation, Stone Age Indians, and a massacre.
        Longtime New York diamond merchant Marco Kalisch and his wife, Mayra, owned the apartment, having lovingly restored it after combining it with the two adjacent units. They had a nice life—at least until Kalisch and his Brazilian partners tried to corner the market on rough diamonds being illegally mined on an Indian reservation in the Amazon.
        "The story told by Marco [Kalisch] could be the basis of a screenplay," a U.S. bankruptcy judge noted in his surprisingly novelistic description of the case that was almost completely ignored by the media. "The background [swirls] with references to shady dealings and long journeys into remote areas of the Amazon jungle, describes an apparently illegal conspiracy to obtain rough diamonds from . . . Indians in Brazil and import those diamonds into the United States for ultimate sale in the diamond market of Antwerp."
        That wild scheme, actually successful for a short time, ultimately blew up. And in the end, what the Americans involved in it were left to fight over was the basement apartment on East 12th Street—so far away from where the story starts, thousands of miles south, deep in inaccessible jungle.
        The 1,300-member Cinta Larga tribe, whose name means "Wide Belt," lives on a 6.7-million-acre Brazilian reservation of dense jungle, limited roads, and almost impassable rivers. The land, about 2,100 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro, is reachable only via 100 miles of poorly maintained dirt roads. Inside the reserve, travel is limited largely to narrow foot trails and the river.
        The first extensively recorded encounter with white Westerners came during Theodore Roosevelt's historic expedition down the so-called River of Doubt, named for its extreme and dangerous conditions.
        When Roosevelt and the Brazilian explorer C├óndido Rondon, for whom the state is named, encountered them in 1914, the Cinta Larga had never seen a white man before. They were still living in the Stone Age, isolated by the river, and hadn't even thought to build boats.
        War for the Cinta Larga was a cultural obsession. The tribe decapitated and eviscerated their enemy's dead and grilled the meat over an open fire before bringing it home for their wives to slice, cook with water, and consume.....

Friday, March 5, 2010

Etienne Perret at I. Gorman Jewelers Ultimate Ring Event

 Etienne has been particularly fond of  I. Gorman Jewelers in Washington DC for quite some time. Widely known as one of the best retail jewelry stores in the country, I. Gorman's has become the golden standard for retail shopping quality by offering the absolute best in customer service. With sales people who remember their customers by face and never discriminate, whether you come in for a 3 carat diamond engagement ring or a pair of simple gold stud earrings. You can't go wrong when you choose I. Gorman's!

Every year about this time I. Gorman's holds its Ultimate Ring Event, a wonderful weekend with a select group of the world's finest bridal jewelry designers in-house to help loving couples choose their perfect engagement, wedding and commitment rings! This year the event is set for Friday and Saturday, March 5-6 (11am-6pm) at I. Gorman's Jewelers, 1133 20th Street NW, Washington DC.

Etienne will be there to work with you personally to choose the custom designed, colored diamond bridal jewelry of your dreams. If you are in the DC area, be sure to stop by and check out Etienne's wonderful new Gem Ceramic collection. We have the perfect design for you with diamonds in any color of the rainbow!

Other designers showing include Alishan, Ambar, Coge, Etienne perret, Furrer Jacot, Gebruder Schaffrath, Jolie, Maevona, Precision Set, Scholdt and Todd Reed!

Don't Miss It!

Gem Expert Diana Jarrett Praises Etienne Perret's Color Enhanced Natural Diamond Designs

Well known and respected gemologist and award-winning trade journalist, Diana Jarrett, author of the Story Behind the Stone column and the Color-n-Ice blog, amongst so many other publications, recently decided it was once again time to give her attention to the designs of Etienne Perret.

This time she was busy writing a story for the New York Mineralogical Club's Spring Bulletin and the focus of her story was on Etienne's use of color enhanced natural diamonds. Specifically, the brilliant green variety that look so stunning on the fair skin of a woman as beautiful as Diana.

Check out her article:

Sometimes Beauty Is Only Skin Deep

All naturally colored diamonds are rare. In an ideal scenario, diamonds are formed from a single element, that being pure carbon-rendering them exquisitely colorless. Their tint can come from a variety of trace elements that intrude into the molecular structure of the mineral. But color can also result from mechanisms not fully understood. How are color-change diamonds created exactly–or pink, for that matter? The jury is still out on that mysterious transpiration.

           When it comes to natural green diamonds, scientists tell us, it is the result of that diamonds' close encounter with naturally occurring subterranean radiation. Therefore with the very few green diamonds that make up the global harvest annually, many will have their green tint most present on the skin of the crystal–the very outer surface.
           Green diamonds are scrutinized thoroughly in order for the cutter to best determine how to approach polishing this rarity and to conserve as much green as possible on the finished stone.
           Few people have the privilege of seeing a fancy color green diamond, outside of a handful in museums around the world. The most famous green diamond that the public can view is the 41 carat Dresden Green Diamond displayed in a German museum.

          Fortunately, diamond lovers can treat themselves to enhanced green diamonds which pack a punch on any jewelry item featuring them. Couture designer Etienne Perret knows just how to show off these verdant beauties with his luxurious enhanced green diamond pave clasp paired artfully to some yummy golden pearls. Perret’s enhanced green diamond stud earrings are another way to focus on the intense vivid color produced in these diamonds.