City Hippy

The diary of our struggle to live a green and fair life.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

FEATURE: A girl's best friend? Part II

The engagement ring seems to be such a big deal these days – or maybe it always was – perhaps being somewhat self-centred I only became aware of it when I got engaged! It took quite a while between the proposal of marriage to the bestowal of the ring. This was partly due to my fiancé’s fulltime occupation as ‘student’ during the first few months of our engagement, and partly due to my insistence that whatever it was, it must be ethical!

I have never been overly fussed about diamonds and, given the ethical issues surrounding them, was quite happy to have an alternative stone if necessary. Not being a ring-wearer at the time, I wasn’t that bothered about even having a ring but my fiancé said I must have one! (And as he doesn’t often put his foot down about anything I thought I should give in to him on this – it’s a sacrifice but hey, that’s what relationships are about!).

So I left it up to him and after much ‘conflict free diamond’ searching on the Internet on his part for once (yes, he had managed to wrest the laptop from my grasping hands for a few precious minutes!), my steps were steered towards Carnaby Street. As we walked, my fiancé presented the results of his research: the diamonds we were about to see were ‘beach’ diamonds. “Uh?” I enquired. Glad to be able to tell me something I didn’t know, he told me, in his own words, what the Jess James pamphlet on the subject explains as follows:

“And finally there are the diamonds that have been washed out to sea. Some of these stones are found on beaches. In this case the beach is literally scooped up and roughly sorted on a mobile separating machine. The diamond rich material retained and the sand replaced close to where it was lifted.

In shallow water, covering the first 50 metres from the beach, a diver dives with what is effectively the nozzle of a giant vacuum cleaner and vacuums the seabed. The collected material is centrifugally separated on the boat overhead and the excess dropped back to within metres of where it was lifted.

These final two methods cause the least disturbance to the environment as the operations are so precise.

All of Jess James's Beach Diamonds™ are collected by one of these two methods. Having travelled to many mining sites across the world I am a strong advocate of the beach and inshore methods of diamond recovery, which is why Jess James now carries a selection of set and loose Beach Diamonds™, which I personally guarantee to have been environmentally and morally recovered and cut.”
So, you ask, who or what is Jess James? Well, by this point I was facing a little gem of a shop (no pun intended!) displaying a tempting array of rings under the banner of ‘Jess James’. The service was discreet but attentive and as my fiancé had already been in to discuss his requirements with them, they knew what we were looking for. We chose a simple platinum tension ring with the beach diamond completing the circle. It fitted perfectly so I put it on there and then – and there it is now, I am looking at it as I type, though above my wedding ring now…of which more in a later post!

If you want to check out Jess James’s Beach Diamonds why not give them a call on 020 7437 0199 or pop along to 3 Newburgh Street, Soho, London W1F 7RE. The website is being updated so do ask for information on their Beach Diamonds. At present they are negotiating to expand with the Beach Diamonds by partnering up with a small-scale diamond-cutting workshop, so that they will be able to track each stone from the sea all the way to the display case.

Join me for my next post when I will be discussing the even more difficult task of finding a suitable venue!

Take care


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