The truth and diamonds

The truth is precious.  So are diamonds.

Both can shine brilliantly, sparkling in the light to dazzle your eyes, making young couples blush with happiness and pride.  Like the truth, diamonds aren’t nearly as rare as their market value would indicate.  Both can be found with ease when you know where to look.  Every once in a while, someone stumbles on a massive diamond in the plain light of day, just one more rock in the landscape until a chance encounter sets it apart. No small amount of truth is discovered in the same way.  What sets these discoverers apart from the rest of us is as often as not luck.

The truth and diamonds leave two trails, one of bliss and hope, the other of blood and cruelty.  More banal than ironic, this is the way of the universe.  The same truth that turns a God of peace into a God of war also turns simple assumptions about fairness into human rights.

What happens when beauty and ugliness form a bond so tight that they become inseparable?  The trouble with the truth and diamonds is that they can lead you anywhere.  What really matters is where you want to go.

Notes and Credits

The opening photograph of the Hope Diamond is by Chip Clark, who passed away on June 12, 2010, away after 35 years as a photographer for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington.  Mr. Clark’s beautiful photographs of gems, animals, birds, and other things can be found all over the web.

The Hope Diamond is surrounded by legend.  It seems that most who have possessed it have come to tragic ends.  It is currently owned by the United States of America and is on display at the Smithsonian.

The playing cards were photographed by the author, from a miniature travel deck for Patience (Solitaire) given to me in 1992 by Professor Raymond Grew, a mentor of mine in graduate school at the University of Michigan.

It should be noted that the truth also grows more precious with time, the simple truths of youth seeming to appear ever more complex and enduring as time goes along, much like the songs of Neil Diamond and just about everything touched by Johnny Cash.


Filed under beauty, danger, death, freedom, hubris, ideas, love, money, philosophy, revolution, riches, truth, war

8 responses to “The truth and diamonds

  1. After watching Blood Diamond, I will never look on diamonds in the same way. I mean, intellectually I knew about conflict stones, but Djimon Hounsou’s character was so compelling that it really had an impact on me.

    • Hi Lita, I hadn’t seen the film, though I knew of it and had read about it. I lived in South Africa for most of 1994, though, and met enough odd (and scary) inter- and intra-continental mercenaries to get the bad taste in my mouth… At the same time, it doesn’t stop me from looking on in awe at really beautiful diamonds. I just wish could figure out how to place the same value on the everyday things that really nurture us. Cheers to you…

      • John,
        I would be interested to know if you take of S. Africa in 1994 is similar to that presented in the movie.

        As to the glitter and beauty of diamonds, it’s hard not to be captivated. Having said that, I can honestly say that I derive just as much pleasure in watching a beautiful sunset as in looking at a beautiful diamond.

  2. Barbara

    Thank you so much for sharing this Solitary Man cover by Johnny Cash.
    Always loved that under appreciated, quietly special, Neil Diamond song, and Cash’s cover is special, too.

    I also appreciate this moving insight below:

    “the simple truths of youth seeming to appear ever more complex and enduring as time goes along, much like the songs of Neil Diamond and just about everything touched by Johnny Cash.”

    • Greetings Barbara, welcome to TRS and thank you for your kind observation. I grew up in Louisiana and spent a lot of time in the MS Delta and so reading JC’s autobiography was really moving for me, as was David Kamp’s article in Vanity Fair on Cash’s collaboration with Rick Rubin.
      I was in tears on the subway in New York as I finished reading it one day on my way to work. Quite a man, quite a life. I hope you enjoy the posts here and come again and tell the neighbors! Cheers, John

      • Barbara

        Hi John,

        I usually shy away from Vanity Fair—not a big fan of their unapologetic celebration of the shallow and superficial—but as you seem bright, thoughtful and sensitive, and I’m always into a good cry, I will check out the article.

        All the best,


  3. Barbara,

    It was a good read … your nice compliments are very welcome … (blush, blush) thanks! Enjoy the article. More posts over the weekend coming.


  4. Barbara


    Will check out the posts!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s