In Hatton Garden, it's 22-carat business

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The Independent Online

Days after the diamond industry's move to cleanse the business of "blood" stones, Hatton Garden, centre of London's jewellery trade, was bustling as usual, most customers more concerned with romance and the clarity and cut of the gems than conflicts in distant, poverty-ridden countries.

Days after the diamond industry's move to cleanse the business of "blood" stones, Hatton Garden, centre of London's jewellery trade, was bustling as usual, most customers more concerned with romance and the clarity and cut of the gems than conflicts in distant, poverty-ridden countries.

Maya Hartnup, a personnel officer, had just got engaged to Charles Forrester, who works in insurance. They were looking for a diamond solitaire set in platinum, for about £2,000.

Ms Hartnup said that a diamond was about foreverness: it outlasted the wedding-dress and the reception. Any public-awareness campaign would have to start from scratch with her, because she had not heard of blood diamonds. But she gave them some consideration. "It's selfish," she said, "but I still really want one. But everyone wants a diamond. Not everyone wanted a fur coat. I would just hope that my diamond did not come from anywhere bad."

Another shopper, Keith (he did not give his full name), who has a son serving in Sierra Leone with the British forces, was checking out eternity rings. He said: "I can't believe these new measures... will work... There are too many crooked people and too many people willing to turn a blind eye."

The connection between Third World conflict and stones in a First World jeweller's shop also seemed to have escaped Katherine MacKenzie, an American, who said diamonds could never be the new fur. "I couldn't look at diamonds like that. They are not living things. With fur an animal has died."

Any boycott call would also have to work hard on the consciousness of Cecilia Olzon, from Sweden, who was looking for an antique jewellery bargain. If she had been reading about blood diamonds she had missed the point, because she believed she could always ask a jeweller where a diamond had been mined. "Its more important that we stop selling arms to these countries than we actually ban diamonds."

Only a Guyanan tourist, Kesiree Reece, would have frightened a diamond company. Her country she said, was raped for gold and she would be quite comfortable to see diamonds banned if necessary.

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