Written by Thomas Stellmach

Diamonds never lie

Diamonds never lie by Thomas Stellmach

Diamond Cover

Plot outlines and highway (for maxwan a&u, artist: Harm te Velde)

“Diamonds never lie” Shirley Bassey sang in the opening track of 71’s James Bond movie “Diamonds are forever”. Diamonds – ultimate symbol of class, eternity and truth. It is this notion of truth which Belgian Diamond trade monopolist de Beers is promoting as the essence of the natural diamonds they are mining in Africa. Their business is increasingly endangered by manufactured gems. In the words of Jef Van Royen, official representative of the diamond industry in Belgium:

“If people really love each other, then they give each other the real stone,” he says, during an interview at council headquarters on the Hoveniersstraat in Antwerp. “It is not a symbol of eternal love if it is something that was created last week.” (from “The New Diamond Age”, an amazing article in Wired mag)

Diamond Bear

Nicola Boll, White Bear (Vanitas) – (source: artnet)

Diamond Chair

John Angelo Benson, The Most Expensive Chair in the World – To Die For (2000-2005) photo by the artist (source: sleek magazine)

Damien Hirst’s work “For the Love of God” isn’t that much about truth and eternity, but rather wealth and power. It is supposed to be the most expensive artwork in the world: “For the Love of God” is a skull cast in platinum encased with 8500 diamonds. Damien says:

“I just want to celebrate life by saying, to hell with death. What better way of saying that by taking the ultimate symbol of death and covering it in the ultimate symbol of luxury, desire and decadence?”

Diamond Loren

Vik Muniz, Sophia Loren (Diamond Divas), 2004 – Photo by the Artist, courtesy galerie Xippas (source: sleek magazine)

Diamond Marlene

Vik Muniz, Marlene Dietrich (Diamond Divas), 2004 – Photo by the Artist, (source: artist’s website)

De Beers contacted Vik Muniz, what he’d do with 10 Million Diamonds. His answer: “I thought doing something gross or disgusting would be too obvious, so I did something very glamorous. The idea is that people would buy it as a social experience, since having pictures of diamonds gives people the impression of having diamonds themselves.” So look at the above images again – do you feel it? I think it is quite the opposite – the glam of female movie stars multiplied with the glitz of diamonds results rather in desire than the satisfaction of ownership.

Diamond Marlene - Detail

Vik Muniz, Marlene Dietrich (Diamond Divas), Detail, 2004 – Photo by the Artist, (source: artist’s website)

Diamond Dogs

Kevin Francis Gray, Sixpack (2002) – Photo by Changing Role (source: sleek magazine)

Harder, Stronger, Faster

Kevin Francis Gray, Harder, Stronger, Faster (2003) – (source: artnet)

And finally the next layer of falsification and abstraction – images of diamonds which never existed, and the reason why I researched diamond imagery. Darrel and me have been searching for the right visual language for the a101 project at my office. As the project is ultimately about money and power, we wanted an urban plan made of diamonds.

Diamond Render - step1

Diamond Render – Step 1, experiments with caustics (for maxwan a&u, artist: Harm te Velde)

Diamond Render - Step 2

Diamond Render – Step 2, experiments with colour & shape (for maxwan a&u, artist: Harm te Velde)

Diamond Render - Step 3b

Diamond Render – Step 3, experiments with refraction, scattering (for maxwan a&u, artist: Harm te Velde)

Update: I’ve found some images and a making-of of Damien Hirst’s Diamond skull:

Skull by Damien Hirst

Diamond Skull (Damien Hirst)

see supertouchblog’s making of and greg’s post on the skull’s costing and the full flickr photo set.

  Comments ( 4 )

  1. Not too long – rather minutes than hours.
    Wenn Du’s genau wissen möchtest, schiebe ich die Details morgen nach..

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