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.