Can you talk about the relationship between the Namibian mine and De Beers? Many of our customers don’t want to have anything to do with De Beers because of its bloody history. How are customers assured that the Kalahari diamonds are not just a positive PR campaign for De Beers?
De Beers suffers from a bad public relations problem There is a reason why De Beers earned a nasty reputation and is associated with bad corporate behavior. However, the De Beers of today is not the same as the one 50 to 100 years ago. Firstly, they are no longer a monopoly. They were forced to change their practices because of all the terrible press and market pressures. If you are a consumer looking for a diamond with a verified origin, there are very few mines in which you can buy the stone and have it be certified. Currently, De Beers is the only major diamond supplier that you can buy a diamond that has a verified origin.
The largest mine that De Beers operates is in Botswana. The Botswana mine is a joint venture between the Boatswain government and De Beers in which the Botswana government owns 15% of the mine. One of the reasons why Botswana has the social progressive programs that it does is because of the capital generated from the mine.
De Beers has a very similar relationship with Namibia in which Namibia owns a portion of the mine, however, it is not as extensive as the Botswana arrangement. Because of its image, its partnership with the governments, and to some extent its dependency on these countries’ resources, De Beers has a big stake in operating fairly. There is a collision of interests between these African governments and De Beers as a corporation.
It’s important to participate in the dialogue on issues we believe to be important in our efforts to affect change. I believe that anyone should be allowed to marry the person they love, no matter what state they live in. Sadly, that’s not the case in most of the U.S.
Here are some things that get me: What if you spent your life with someone you wanted marry, but weren’t legally allowed? What if your loved one was injured or sick and in the hospital, and you weren’t allowed to visit them because you didn’t count as a family member? What if you weren’t allowed to file joint tax returns with your partner? What if you were denied rights given to a specific part of the U.S. population–but not you? Hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples experience this discrimination.
I have to admit that while doing a little research, it dawned on me that I didn’t know what in the first place had ever determined that it was NOT legal to marry someone of the same sex. The answer, as to be expected, is not so simple, but here is a little background if you’re interested (it get’s technical in parts…) The movement to obtain marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples began in the late 1960’s in the U.S. In 1970, gay activist Jack Baker filed a suit after being denied a marriage license to marry another man, and in Baker v. Nelson the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples did not violate the constitution. Baker later changed his name to Pat Lynn McConnell and legally married his male partner in 1971. Fast forward to 1993 in Hawaii, where three same-sex couples were bringing a case against the state, arguing that the prohibition of same-sex marriages violated the state constitution. The trial court dismissed the case, and it went to the Supreme Court of Hawaii, which in 1996 ruled that denying marriage to same-sex couples constituted discrimination based on sex, thereby violating the state constitution’s equal protection guarantee. The court ordered the state of Hawaii to prove that it had a “compelling” reason to deny such marriages.  It was this very decision that then prompted the U.S. federal government to pass the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA was the first thing that actually codified the federal government’s lack of recognition of same-sex marriages, and it did this by defining marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman. DOMA was passed by both houses of Congress by huge majorities, and President Bill Clinton signed it into law on September 21st, 1996. This marked the first time that the federal government had it’s own definition of marriage–prior to DOMA, the federal government did not define marriage and accepted any marriage that was accepted by a state even if that marriage wasn’t recognized by all states, as with interracial marriage before 1967.
Do I have to have a matching ring & metal to my fiancé? What if we like different things?
While the option of getting matching bands made for you and your partner is certainly there, it’s also quite common for couples to get bands in different styles or metals. A wedding band is a significant, weighted object that will be worn for a very long time. It is important that you each find a band that you will be able to wear comfortably everyday.
We offer bands that compliment each other well if you are concerned with having the bands relate to one another. If you are each interested in a different metal or width than each other it is definitely possible for the bands to still have a common thread in style and aesthetic and vise versa.
Another option to bring a common ground to the bands is to get them engraved. This is a great way to bring a personal element to each band whether they are similar or not.
The most important thing is that each person is wearing a band that they love and want to wear forever. Your band should be significant to you and reflect your own personal style. If you and your partner do agree on matching rings we are more then happy to accommodate sizing the bands appropriately.
Reticulated Narrow Band One
In the past we have had customers choose the Reticulated Band and the Reticulated Narrow Band One. These bands are not the same but have a very similar texture and style. We have made many variations of this style band and, as always, are ready to work on any custom ideas you may have to make a band that you will never want to take off.
This is from a while back, but it’s still inspiring! I found this video about Yay New York! on the wedding blog A Practical Wedding (lots more information and inspiration there on many different topics surrounding marriage). Yay New York! was held last August in midtown NYC at 320 Studios, and was a mass reception/dance party to celebrate marriage equality and the passing of New York State’s Marriage Equality Bill, as well as two couples who had weddings earlier that day. All donations went to Lambda Legal–because, as the hosts of the event say, everyone should get to marry the person they love, no matter what state they live in. The event was hosted by A Practical Wedding and Lowe House events. Stay tuned for more posts on LGBTQ marriage and surrounding thoughts and issues.