"Dreams of Africa* is beautiful, and Brian's idea is wonderful and refreshing." Marjorie Andrade, UN Goodwill Ambassador, Brazil.
In 2006, interest in the origin of diamonds was fueled by the new Hollywood movie, "Blood Diamonds" which denounced the illicit practices of the diamond industry. In 2006, I went back to South Africa twice to visit my terminally ill mother, Femma, with whom I had an extremely close relationship and who passed away in September 2006.
She was an internationally renowned artist, had a deep connection with the land and had a particular flair for incorporating "all things African" into her work. During the first visit we discussed the whole concept of how the people of Africa have suffered through the civil wars, many of which have been funded by the trading of illicit raw materials, whether it is wood from forests, rough diamonds and even humans at times.
My mother inspired me to come up with a jewelry design that would reflect the whole essence of Africa and what was happening in Africa regarding the illicit diamond trade.
"Dreams of Africa"TM * was born. The pendant's sparkling conflict-free A Cut Above diamonds symbolize innocence. The bold sapphires symbolize truth. The beautiful center stones represent mother Africa, and the sweeping spirals portray the dream of expanding awareness of the plight. The pieces were artfully hand crafted and finished by Frieder, a talented designer/jeweler, my good friend and colleague for over ten years..
During this process, we discussed that another way of getting the message out was through music. I tapped into my lifelong contacts and got in touch with Cedric Samson, a two time Grammy nominee and a man who I have known since I was a young boy. We worked closely with him and he wrote and produced a beautiful song in Cape Town, South Africa, which featured an African children's choir who had never sung professionally before.
My late mother was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1935, and with the creation of this song I personally felt like I had come full circle and created something in her honor. For $1 the song is available for purchase as a download and all proceeds of the sale of the song are donated to a worthy cause.
Most people are unaware of the role diamonds play in bringing real benefits to people in the countries around the world where diamonds are sourced. Nowhere is this more evident than in Africa. It is also in Africa that this same resource has been used to fund conflict. The diamond industry maintains it has safeguards to guarantee most rough diamonds come from areas free of violent conflict through the Kimberley Process, a tracking system implemented in 2003. The World Diamond Council, which represents producers and dealers, stresses that more than 99 percent of diamonds now come from conflict-free sources, and that diamond revenue today is mostly used in African countries for health care, education and other benefits.