Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Heartless Stone

The Heartless Stone

A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit, and Desire

Tom Zoellner

St. Martin's Press




In 2000, Tom Zoellner purchased a diamond engagement ring and proposed. His girlfriend said, "yes" and then, suddenly, walked out of his life making Tom the owner of a used engagement ring. Instead of hitting the self-help shelves of his local bookstore, he hit the road travelling to diamond mines in Africa, Canada, India, Brazil and Russia to discover the true worth of this shining gem. He travelled to Japan to understand how diamonds were linked with engagements and delved into the history of our own American romance with the diamond ring. He gained entry to DeBeers, the London diamond merchants. He visited shopping mall jewellers with starry-eyed couples. Through all of his travels, he searched for an answer to the question "How has one stone created empires, ruined lives, inspired lust and emptied wallets throughout history?" A diamond version of Susan Orleans's The Orchid Thief, Tom Zoellner's The Heartless Stone is a journey to the cold heart of the world's most unyielding gem.


Chapter One

Dying Stars
Central African Republic

They had come across the river that morning, he said, as he took the stones from his pocket.

He set them in a line on the patio table. They looked melted and yellowish,...


Praise for The Heartless Stone

“[A] dazzling display of intrepid reporting.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Exhaustively researched and beautifully written.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Zoellner has an eye for the telling detail, a nose for trouble, and an ability to quickly re-create a scene's mood and sense of place. Wherever he is, he puts you there. . . . A graceful, well-documented tour through decades of diamond-related lore.” —

“An illuminating exposé of a mineral and an industry.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Still want a diamond? Before laying out your cash, Zoellner advises that you first understand its origins. . . . An informative book that's equal parts history and travelogue.” —Rocky Mountain News

“Riveting . . . A fascinating story.” —The Arizona Republic

“A sobering and well-reported look at today's diamond culture.” —The Salt Lake Tribune

“Eye-opening . . . With a sharp narrative style and wealth of detail, The Heartless Stone cuts through the sparkle and marketing to show us that a rock is what you make of it.” —St. Petersburg Times

“[Tom Zoellner's] investigation into the global diamond industry shatters the mystique with all the vengeance of a jilted lover.” —The Oregonian

“A mesmerizing guided tour full of meticulously researched history, interviews, personal stories, and reflections. The Heartless Stone is scrupulous nonfiction that reads like a novel.” —Bloomberg News

“It's got all the requisite ingredients of intriguing journalism: greed, sex, gaping economic disparities, and glamour. It's too bad it took a failed engagement to prompt this book, but Zoellner has risen from the romantic ashes with The Heartless Stone. . . . He doesn't miss a stop on the diamond road, hopping from Africa to South America to the British Isles in pursuit of the gem whose exclusivity is based only on the tight control of a few greedy individuals. That little blue Tiffany box might never look the same.” —Bookmarks magazine

“Zoellner's sharp, observant descriptions of people and places will sensitize readers to the wider processes of monopoly, smuggling, and war, all of which lurk in the background when a suitor buys a ring for his beloved.” —Booklist

“Zoellner's book is part personal travelogue, using the return of his own proffered diamond engagement ring as the starting point, and part investigative journalism. . . . The end result? A gem.” —Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Tom Zoellner

TOM ZOELLNER is an award-winning magazine and newspaper journalist. He is a contributing editor for Men's Health magazine and has worked as a Metro reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, The Salt Lake Tribune and The Arizona Republic. He was the 2002 recipient of the Knight Fellowship in Specialized Reporting. He lives in New York City.

Tom Zoellner

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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