Blood Diamonds

It’s been 15 years since the global effort to ban conflict diamonds began. But the industry is still tainted by conflict and misery

Photograph by Lynsey Addario for TIMECongolese miners working one of the thousands of artisanal mines that cover the country

Max Rodriguez knows exactly how he is going to propose marriage to his long-term boyfriend, Michael Loper. He has booked a romantic bed-and-­breakfast. He has found, using Google Earth, a secluded garden where he plans to take Loper for a sunset walk. The only thing that troubles him is the issue of the ring. Rodriguez has heard about how diamonds fuel distant conflicts, about the miserable conditions of the miners who wrest the stones from the earth, and he worries. The 34-year-old slips on a gold signet-style ring in the 12th-floor showroom of Vale Jewelry in New York City’s diamond district. “I don’t want a symbol of our union to also be associated with chaos and controversy and pain,” says Rodriguez.

To Mbuyi Mwanza, a 15-year-old who spends his days shoveling and sifting gravel in small artisanal mines in southwest Democratic Republic of Congo, diamonds symbolize something much more immediate: the opportunity to eat. Mining work is grueling, and he is plagued by backaches, but that is nothing compared with the pain of seeing his family go hungry. His father is blind; his mother abandoned them several years ago. It’s been three months since Mwanza last found a diamond, and his debts—for food, for medicine for his father—are piling up. A large stone, maybe a carat, could earn him $100, he says, enough to let him dream about going back to school, after dropping out at 12 to go to the mines—the only work available in

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Prada Smashes Projections With Double-digit Growth, Readies China Show

LONDON — In the wake of strong revenue and profit gains in the first six months, Prada Group is sailing into the second half of the year with optimism — about China, its fast-growing leather goods business and its long-term strategies for growth.

As reported earlier this week, Prada will restage its men’s and women’s fall 2022 collections in Beijing on Aug. 5. The show will take place at Prince Jun’s Mansion, a courtyard hotel in downtown Beijing, formerly the residence of Prince Jun in the Qing dynasty.

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The Beijing outing marks the Italian luxury brand’s return to the Chinese capital after 11 years, and it seems nothing will stand in the way of its plan – not even the latest lockdown in Wuhan, which was announced just as Prada released its first half results.

“We are seeing a recovery in China,” said Patrizio Bertelli, the group’s CEO, during a call to discuss the results for the first half ended June 30.

Bertelli acknowledged the news of the Wuhan lockdown, but said he remains cautiously optimistic about the market’s recovery in the second half.

Bertelli touted Prada’s “global presence and geographical distribution of sales,” and said the group’s 600-plus store network helped to mitigate the impact of lockdowns in mainland China and the ongoing sanctions on Russia.

Andrea Bonini, group chief financial officer, echoed Bertelli.

Bonini said the second half started on a high note thanks to “strong” trading in July driven partly by “an improvement” in China.

“We continue to monitor China and are looking at how the COVID-19 situation is developing. It remains an uncertain environment,” Bonini said.

Prada principals stressed that the Chinese market has not returned to normal, and that health controls, and consumer demand, vary by city and by region.

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