Tom Zoellner is the author of Uranium: War, Energy and the Rock that Reshaped the World and The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit and Desire, an investigation into the diamond business reported from six continents, named a Notable Book of 2006 by the American Library Association. He is also the co-author of the New York Times bestselling book An Ordinary Man. Tom has previously worked as a contributing editor for Men's Health magazine and as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. He grew up in Arizona and is currently living in Hanover, New Hampshire.
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This biography was last updated on 01/20/2011.
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A Conversation with Tom Zoellner, author of The Heartless Stone
Q: Why are diamonds such a big deal in America?
A: Its now a $25 billion dollar business. Seven out of every ten American women own at least one. But as it turns out, the idea of a diamond as a popular luxury item is fairly new in this country. A magazine advertising campaign sponsored by De Beers created the consumer desire just a few years before World War II. They sought to make diamonds not just rare, but essential for every man seeking to get married. Famous painters such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali were commissioned to create landscapes next to advertising text that had a strange fixation on death, of all things. But De Beers tried to plant this subtle idea that diamonds are a kind of shield against mortality. "Diamonds are the most imperishable record a man may leave of his personal life," said one of the ads. Thats part of the source for the famous slogan they eventually cooked up in 1948: "A Diamond Is Forever." A phony "tradition" was also established: a groom must spend two months salary on his wifes stone. But this was not a global standard. British men were viewed...
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