Blood Diamonds

It’s been 15 years since the global effort to ban conflict diamonds began. But the industry is still tainted by conflict and misery

Photograph by Lynsey Addario for TIMECongolese miners working one of the thousands of artisanal mines that cover the country

Max Rodriguez knows exactly how he is going to propose marriage to his long-term boyfriend, Michael Loper. He has booked a romantic bed-and-­breakfast. He has found, using Google Earth, a secluded garden where he plans to take Loper for a sunset walk. The only thing that troubles him is the issue of the ring. Rodriguez has heard about how diamonds fuel distant conflicts, about the miserable conditions of the miners who wrest the stones from the earth, and he worries. The 34-year-old slips on a gold signet-style ring in the 12th-floor showroom of Vale Jewelry in

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