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Diamond: A Journey to the Heart of an Obsession | [Matthew Hart]

Diamond: A Journey to the Heart of an Obsession

Matthew Hart embarks on a journey into the largely hidden and fascinating world that is the diamond trade. The geology of diamonds explains how hard it is to find them. They are accidents of nature, carbon crystals compressed underground for eons. Weaving science and history, Hart follows the diamond trail from the basement where Gabi Tolkowsky, the world's greatest cutter, faced the 599-carat Centenary diamond, to Africa's Diamond Coast, to the sales rooms of De Beers.
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Publisher's Summary

In Diamond, Matthew Hart embarks on a journey into an obsessive, largely hidden, and utterly fascinating world.

The geology of diamonds explains how hard it is to find them. Diamonds are accidents of nature, carbon crystals compressed deep underground billions of years ago; parts of them, it is even thought, may predate the Earth itself. They are also elusive, carried to the surface only in slender volcanoes known as "pipes," most of which are actually barren.

Weaving science and history throughout his story, Hart follows the diamond trail around the globe - from the basement room where Gabi Tolkowsky, the world's greatest cutter, faced the 599-carat Centenary diamond, to the fog-bound smugglers' paradise of Africa's Diamond Coast, to the London sales rooms of De Beers, which manages the longest-running cartel in modern business history - encountering characters as memorable as the stones they seek.

By revealing the layers and inner workings of the diamond industry, and the inherent excitement and human drama that sustain it, Matthew Hart has captured the essence of an exotic substance and its world as surely as a diamond captures light: bending it, reflecting it, and returning it in a blaze of color.

Executive Producer: Jacob Bronstein
Producer: Robert Kessler
Abridgement by David Smith
©2001 Matthew Hart
(P)2001 Random House, Inc.
Published by arrangement with Walker Publishing Company, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Hart tells a great, great story while explaining one of the world's most mysterious industries. The book is first-rate and immensely readable." - (Sebastian Junger, author of Fire and The Perfect Storm

"Every chapter opened my eyes to another intriguing nook of this hidden world. Next to the diamond hunters, Silicon Valley's entrepreneurs and Wall Street's traders seem cautious and small time." - (Po Bronson, author of The Nudist on the Late Shift)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (110 )
5 star
 (42)
4 star
 (38)
3 star
 (23)
2 star
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1 star
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4.1 (20 )
5 star
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (20 )
5 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    robk72 02-04-03
    robk72 02-04-03 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    54
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    9
    9
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    "One of the best..."

    A documentary with the pace and appeal of a novel, this book delves into the history and detail of the diamond industry. De Beers' control of the diamond trade remains one of the most complete monopolies in the world, yet it also remains one of the most secretive groups in the world. This work takes you on a journey, tracing some of the famous diamonds through history as well as explaining the process that creates the diamonds we see today in jewelry stores. Terrific listening material!

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth Loomis, CA, USA 01-14-04
    Kenneth Loomis, CA, USA 01-14-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    69
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    7
    6
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    0
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    "Informative and Entertaining"

    This audio book was wonderful. It is exciting, informative, and dramatic. It is more like a novel than anything else, with villians, good guys, and even a heroine. The science and engineering involved are clearly explained without useless jargon. And the narrator is perfect for the role. One of the best audio books I have ever heard. Highest rating.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 05-13-03
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 05-13-03 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    589
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    349
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    "a"

    Great story about diamonds. Where they come from, how to find them, the development of the modern diamond industry...composed of third world countries, rich companies, flamboyant characters and sleight of hand. Story keeps moving along, not a boring moment.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Lafayette, CA, United States 05-08-06
    Kathleen Lafayette, CA, United States 05-08-06 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    118
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    32
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    "Spectacular Story"

    I saw the female geologist (age 25) interviewed in 2000 after the big discovery in Canada, and a discussion of this book. I was happy to find it on audible. It does not disappoint. For the negative reviews, remember most of us know nothing about that 2K ring on our finger. The real stories ranging from the infancy of African pipe to Brazil, Australia and Canada, together with the known, unknown, legal and illict tales of jewels and those whose hands they slipped through is wonderful. I especially like the knowledgeable details the author provides... it was a great listen on the way home from Mexico

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Highland Park, IL, USA 02-27-06
    Paul Highland Park, IL, USA 02-27-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    132
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    73
    40
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    3
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    "A real gem"

    Fascinating account of this strange business, from every angle: geology, history, polishing and selling.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Madison, WI, USA 07-18-05
    Brian Madison, WI, USA 07-18-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Very good and nearly comprehensive"

    Excellent narration of a compelling book. The author has balanced well the history, science, aesthetic, adventure, and intrigue of the diamond world over the last hundred years or so (with occasional detours farther back). I would have appreciated a little more information on some of the environmental pitfalls of diamond mining, but overall the exploration is quite fascinating.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Royal Oak, MI, USA 11-24-03
    Robert Royal Oak, MI, USA 11-24-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    5
    2
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    "A good listen"

    This book was very informative, I never thought diamonds were this interesting. Though it dragged on in some parts, the entire story is awesome, and teaches a lot about geology and one of the most lucrative markets.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kennedi La Plata, MD, United States 09-23-13
    Kennedi La Plata, MD, United States 09-23-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Fascinating Read!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Diamond to be better than the print version?

    I do not know since I didn't read the print version.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Diamond?

    Learning how kimberlite is used to detect where diamonds may be.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I love the part where they pull up a core sample with a 2+ carat diamond in it and the lead geologist sleeps with the core sample under her pillow the night before she flies home to show it to her father! A true reward for their hard work.


    Any additional comments?

    A fascinating way to see the journey of diamonds in the world.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    fred greensboro nc 03-18-14
    fred greensboro nc 03-18-14 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well done history"

    I am interested in diamonds so the boring aspects of the book are still interesting to me. A very nice history of diamonds that does not gloss the seedy side of the trade. Tremendous characters are stranger than fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark E. Twiz Orange County, CA 08-25-14
    Mark E. Twiz Orange County, CA 08-25-14 Listener Since 2001

    Global Macro Fund Manager and if you haven't guessed by now, this is a "pen name"

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "REFUND!!! I WANT A REFUND!!!"

    What? This is a book? It's more like a morality check for hubbies and newly weds wanting to buy a special diamond.

    Is there a takeaway? No.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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