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Tiffany & Co diamonds: Bright side of the stone

It crystallizes passions both noble and nefarious. Tiffany & Co. is committed to making the diamond a responsible, sustainable treasure

DIAMONDS represent the best of nature and human know-how. An incredible gift from our planet, they are formed 100 miles below the Earth’s surface, where extreme pressure and heat transform carbon into crystals that must then survive more than a billion years, rising to the surface in magma encased in kimberlite, a mineral essential for the survival of nature’s hardest material. But it is Homo sapiens who reveals its beauty, mining and sorting the stones, then cutting them into shape—emerald, square, oval, pear…

At Tiffany & Co., each diamond is evaluated for “presence,” an exclusive criterion that quantifes its character (brilliance, symmetry, etc.), before it is set—perhaps in the house’s classic six-prong “Tiffany Setting,” which lifts the stone to enhance its radiance. The brand is also known for its use of yellow diamonds, including a 128.54-carat marvel acquired by Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1878 and set in an extraordinary necklace by Jean Schlum berger for the promotion of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The summit of glamour embodied in the world’s most coveted mineral.

But behind the scenes, war, traffcking and environmental damage (as illustrated in Edward Zwick’s flm Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio) have tarnished the diamond’s luster. Tiffany & Co., determined not to allow any form of corruption to degrade the intrinsic and symbolic value of its diamonds, has gradually adopted, over the past two decades, a strategy of sustainable development and social responsibility. It includes the vertical integration of all mining and production operations around the world, audits of the company’s partners and full traceability of its products, right down to the famous blue boxes, made from certifed sustainable materials.

Through an ongoing dialogue with other players in the industry, cooperation with organizations like Earthworks, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations, and large-scale ecological initiatives undertaken by the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, the New York-based jeweler is taking action to protect the environment and human rights, and to optimize the benefts of the diamond trade for local communities. It’s a monumental but noble task for Anisa Kamadoli Costa, who was named Tiffany’s chief sustainability offcer in 2015. And an endless one. Because the care invested in the production of diamonds must be matched by the care bestowed on the planet and on mankind. So that the most precious of all stones can shine brighter than ever.

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