The Heartless Stone.

Position:Book review

***1/2 The Heartless Stone A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit, and Desire By Tom Zoellner Not so brilliant after all.

The Heartless Stone was born of thwarted ambition--in this case, Zoellner's attempt to get married. When his fiancee returned her diamond ring (and rescinded her marriage promise), the journalist endeavored to find out more about the precious stone, hopping continents in pursuit of his story. What he discovered was disheartening: a monopoly created and sustained by a brilliant marketing scheme; violent war economies; the indifference of laborers who sell stones for hundreds of dollars; and technology able to mimic diamonds so well that it reduces prices to just dimes a carat. Zoellner concludes that "the belief in a diamond's power is its power."

St. Martins Press. 304 pages. $24.95. ISBN: 0312339690

St. Petersburg Times ****

"Even as flawless cultivated diamonds are manufactured in the lab, the many-faceted legend of diamonds still dazzles. ... With a sharp narrative style and wealth of detail, The Heartless Stone cuts through the sparkle and marketing to show us that a rock is what you make of it." PHILIP HERTER

Oregonian ***1/2

"Zoellner ... interlaces lively reporting with a narrative of the ring returned by his ex- fiancee. Ultimately his Heartless Stone is a search for meaning that finds none, save a mythology of the diamond placed upon it by those with the most to gain." J. DAVID SANTEN JR.

Rocky Mountain News ***1/2

"The more you learn about diamond mining, its connection to violence, and the clever marketing that sparks massive diamond sales, the more likely you'll feel guilty about having been duped into buying those shiny yet essentially worthless rocks." VERNA NOEL



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