Beyonce ‘disappointed and angry’ after unknowingly wearing $30M Tiffany ‘blood diamond’

Beyonce is said to be ‘disappointed and angry’ at unknowingly modeling a ‘blood diamond’ in her new Tiffany & Co. campaign after facing furious online backlash. 

The singer, 39, wore the famed 128.54 carat Tiffany Diamond, in a photoshoot with her husband Jay Z, which debuted last week – becoming just the fourth female – and the first black woman – to ever wear the gem. 

However the chart-topper and the luxury jewelry brand have come under furious fire over the decision to showcase the controversial diamond, with many social media users calling attention to its contentious history and the circumstances under which it was mined.   

The diamond was discovered in a colonial mine in Kimberley, South Africa, in 1877 – at a time when the country, and its mines, were under British colonial rule – and when predominantly black migrant workers were subjected to horrific conditions while receiving paltry pay in return. 

Unwitting: Beyonce was left 'disappointed and angry' after unknowingly wearing $30M Tiffany 'blood diamond' in a new campaign for the jewelers

Unwitting: Beyonce was left ‘disappointed and angry’ after unknowingly wearing $30M Tiffany ‘blood diamond’ in a new campaign for the jewelers

Striking: The singer, 39, modelled the famed 128.54 carat Tiffany Diamond, making her the fourth female to ever wear the gem, in a photoshoot alongside her husband Jay Z last week

Striking: The singer, 39, modelled the famed 128.54 carat Tiffany Diamond, making her the fourth female to ever wear the gem, in a photoshoot alongside her husband Jay Z last week

Striking: The singer, 39, modelled the famed 128.54 carat Tiffany Diamond, making her the fourth female to ever wear the gem, in a photoshoot alongside her husband Jay Z last week

According to a source close to Beyonce, the singer was unaware of the diamond’s controversial history, and has been left outraged over the fact that she was not given more information about the gem’s background.  

‘Beyonce is aware of the criticism and is disappointed and angry that she wasn’t made aware of questions about its history,’ an unnamed insider told The Sun.

‘She thought that every final detail had been vetted, but now she realizes that the diamond itself was overlooked.’ 

MailOnline has contacted representatives for Beyonce and Tiffany & Co. for comment.  

The Tiffany diamond at the center of the backlash was dug from the De Beers’ Kimberley Mine in colonial South Africa in 1877 when black laborers were forced to work in horrendous conditions for miniscule pay. 

The work was dangerous and unhealthy, with workers forced to work in cramped conditions, often causing fatal accidents.

Conditions outside of the mine were no better, with the housing for the workers featuring no natural water or waste disposal, with 1,144 dying from a range of illnesses including pneumonia and scurvy between 1897 and 1899 alone. 

Traditionally, a blood diamond, also known as a conflict diamond, is any gem that has been mined and sold in order to fund military action against a government – as defined by the United Nations. 

However, the term has also been applied to rough gems that were mined by people who were subjected to the kinds of conditions that Kimberley miners suffered during the 1870s – as with the Tiffany diamond that Beyonce modeled in her campaign. 

Hitting back: Beyonce's mother Tina Knowles defended her daughter after her new campaign for Tiffany & Co. caused backlash online (pictured with Beyonce in 2012)

Hitting back: Beyonce's mother Tina Knowles defended her daughter after her new campaign for Tiffany & Co. caused backlash online (pictured with Beyonce in 2012)

Hitting back: Beyonce’s mother Tina Knowles defended her daughter after her new campaign for Tiffany & Co. caused backlash online (pictured with Beyonce in 2012)

Defending her daughter: Tina asked if any of the 'activists' defending Beyonce had researched the origin of their own gems

Defending her daughter: Tina asked if any of the 'activists' defending Beyonce had researched the origin of their own gems

Defending her daughter: Tina asked if any of the ‘activists’ defending Beyonce had researched the origin of their own gems  

The diamond’s history has prompted furious backlash against the singer and the jeweler, with many social media users voicing outrage that the diamond is still being showcased, particularly by a woman of color who has been so outspoken against racism. 

‘I had to process Jay Z and Beyoncé ’s Tiffany’s campaign for just a minute before saying anything but how did no one see that the whole “first Black woman” marketing angle on this is not doing what they think it’s doing when that s**t is a literal blood diamond!!!!’ one furious Twitter user wrote. 

Another added: ‘Not y’all celebrating the fact Beyonce is the first Black woman to wear a Tiffany blood diamond following in the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn and Lady Gaga. 

‘That rock needs to left alone in a museum explaining its history while paying ongoing reparations, not paraded around.’ 

Although Beyonce has yet to publicly comment on the furious controversy surrounding her new Tiffany campaign, her mother, Tina Knowles, took to Instagram on Thursday night to fire back at her critics, branding them hypocritical.  

‘How many of you socially conscious activist[s] own diamonds?’ she questioned. ‘I thought so! Well guess what did you go to try to check to see where the diamond came from? Probably not.’ 

She added: ‘So when you guys get engaged you won’t have a diamond you gonna put on a sterling silver band and you better check out where it came from and the origin of where came from and why you add it check out the calls for the leather that you [wear] because they made it came from another country to ban and not buy diamonds right because your righteous!!’

Iconic: Audrey starred in the Sixties romcom Breakfast at Tiffany's where she played socialite Holly Golightly

Iconic: Audrey starred in the Sixties romcom Breakfast at Tiffany's where she played socialite Holly Golightly

Breakfast at Beyonce's! The singer put a modern spin on Audrey's iconic look

Breakfast at Beyonce's! The singer put a modern spin on Audrey's iconic look

Breakfast at Beyonce’s! The singer put a modern spin on Audrey’s iconic look in the Sixties romcom Breakfast at Tiffany’s where she played socialite Holly Golightly (left) 

The diamond was found in 1877 at the De Beers Mine in Kimberley, South Africa, before being purchased by Tiffany & Co founder Charles Lewis Tiffany for $18,000 the following year

The diamond was found in 1877 at the De Beers Mine in Kimberley, South Africa, before being purchased by Tiffany & Co founder Charles Lewis Tiffany for $18,000 the following year

The diamond was found in 1877 at the De Beers Mine in Kimberley, South Africa, before being purchased by Tiffany & Co founder Charles Lewis Tiffany for $18,000 the following year

The diamond was found in 1877 at the De Beers Mine in Kimberley, South Africa, before being purchased by Tiffany & Co founder Charles Lewis Tiffany for $18,000 the following year

The diamond was found in 1877 at the De Beers Mine in Kimberley, South Africa, before being purchased by Tiffany & Co founder Charles Lewis Tiffany for $18,000 the following year

However Knowles’ defense of her daughter has done little to quell the online outrage over the campaign, which has seen dozens of people voicing their upset over Beyonce’s participation.  

WHERE DID THE TIFFANY DIAMOND COME FROM? 

The Tiffany diamond was discovered in the De Beers Mine in Kimberley, South Africa, in 1877 – at a time when the country and its mines were under British colonial rule.  

Black laborers were forced to work in horrendous conditions at the mine for miniscule pay.

During this time, miners were subjected to dangerous and unhealthy situations, which resulted in many fatal accidents.  

Housing for the workers had no natural water or waste disposal.

The mine lends its name to The Kimberley Process – a certification scheme established by the UN in 2003 to stop blood diamonds entering the mainstream diamond market.  

Writer Zoe Samudzi tweeted: ‘Tiffany’s put Beyoncé in a diamond — “discovered” in a colonial mine in Kimberly in 1877—that no black woman has ever worn before in an ad with a never-ever-before-seen Basquiat and then pledged $2 million in scholarships & internships to HBCUs.’ 

Some fans pointed out that Beyonce was the unfair target of criticism, as Lady Gaga had also worn the diamond with little backlash.

Still, others were not satisfied with one user writing: ‘This is not just ‘a necklace’ it’s a blood diamond that was mined off the blood of south africans, if they didn’t meet their quota their hands and feet were mutilated or were just killed.’

Another said: ‘[Lady Gaga] is a capitalist exploiter too, but only in the case of Beyoncé is her blackness being invoked as an ‘accomplishment’ for wearing it despite the Africans it harmed. That’s the difference.’

Prior to Beyonce, the massive yellow diamond had previously only been worn by four women: Mary Whitehouse, Audrey Hepburn and Lady Gaga.

The gem, which is said to be worth $30 million, according to estimates from Tiffany & Co, was purchased by the jewelry company’s founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany, for just $18,000 back in 1878, one year after it was discovered in the Kimberley mines. 

When it was discovered, the rough gem was 287.42 carats, however after it was purchased by Tiffany, the stone was taken to Paris, where the brand’s chief gemologist, Dr. George Frederick Kunz, had it cut into a cushion shape so as to better show off its flawless quality. 

The stone now weighs 128.54 carats, is just over one inch-wide, and has 82 facets, with Tiffany & Co. boasting on its website that the cut helps to ‘enhance its radiant color’, noting that the stone ‘sparkles as if lit by an inner flame’. 

Socialite Whitehouse was the first to wear the gemstone after it was set in necklace form at the 1957 Tiffany Feather Ball in Rhode Island, and Hepburn later donned the gem in promotional images for Breakfast At Tiffany’s. 

The diamond was later reset in a new necklace form in 2012 to mark the 175th anniversary of Tiffany & Co, which is the design that Lady Gaga modeled at the 2019 Academy Awards. 

Despite a handful of iconic starlets having tried the diamond on for size, Beyonce and Jay-Z’s shoot marks the first time the diamond has ever been featured in a campaign – which has only helped to add fuel to the fire as far as its contentious background is concerned. 

Debate: Beyonce's campaign divided Twitter as some fans defended her

Debate: Beyonce's campaign divided Twitter as some fans defended her

Debate: Beyonce’s campaign divided Twitter as some fans defended her 

Not happy: One fan wrote about how the mine was rife for using enslaved African labor

Not happy: One fan wrote about how the mine was rife for using enslaved African labor

Not happy: One fan wrote about how the mine was rife for using enslaved African labor 

Hitting back: Some critics took to Twitter to slam the star

Hitting back: Some critics took to Twitter to slam the star

Hitting back: Some critics took to Twitter to slam the star 

Debate: Tensions were raised on social media as many Twitter users offered their  opinion

Debate: Tensions were raised on social media as many Twitter users offered their  opinion

Debate: Tensions were raised on social media as many Twitter users offered their  opinion 

Storm: Writer Zoe Samudzi lead some of the critics online

Storm: Writer Zoe Samudzi lead some of the critics online

Storm: Writer Zoe Samudzi lead some of the critics online 

Also worn by: Lady Gaga dazzled in the diamond as she wore it to the 2019 Academy Awards

Also worn by: Lady Gaga dazzled in the diamond as she wore it to the 2019 Academy Awards

Also worn by: Lady Gaga dazzled in the diamond as she wore it to the 2019 Academy Awards 

While there is controversy surrounding the Tiffany Diamond, now Tiffany & Co states that all of its diamonds are ‘conflict-free’.

In a statement on its website, the jeweler says it has taken ‘rigorous steps’ to ensure that conflict diamonds do not enter its inventory.

It reads: ‘As global leaders in sustainable luxury, Tiffany & Co. is committed to sourcing natural and precious materials in an ethical and sustainable manner. 

‘We have a zero-tolerance policy toward conflict diamonds, and source our diamonds only from known sources and countries that are participants in the Kimberley Process.’

The Kimberley Process is a certification scheme established by the UN in 2003 which aims to prevent blood diamonds from entering the mainstream rough diamond market. 

Source: Mail Online