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Beyoncé’s diamond gaffe

How do you make a blood diamond look good? The answer is, you can’t – even when superstar Beyoncé is wearing it. On Monday, Luxury US jeweller Tiffany & Co rolled out its controversial Tiffany Yellow Diamond for a new ad campaign titled ‘About Love’. 

The 128-carat diamond, worth over R400m, was found in Kimberly right here in South Africa in 1877. Given that it was mined during colonial times and bought by the company’s founder for a steal, many think of it as a blood diamond. 

The diamond adorned Audrey Hepburn in publicity photographs for the iconic 1961 film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Beyoncé drew on Hepburn’s look for the ad campaign, which itself is inspired by the film. There are a lot of firsts in the ad: the first time a black woman wears the jewel, the first time Beyoncé and husband Jay-Z appear together as brand ambassadors and a first look at a previously unreleased painting by influential late African American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.  

Given Beyoncé’s activism on behalf of black rights, many questioned her decision to wear the controversial gem. Tweeps were irate, saying Tiffany & Co should return the precious stone to South Africa. An album dedicated to Africa will not save you this time, B. You should have known better. 😬

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 26 August 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.