Beyonce is said to be ‘disappointed and angry’ at unknowingly modeling a ‘blood diamond’ in her new Tiffany & Co. campaign after facing furious online backlash.
The singer, 39, wore the famed 128.54 carat Tiffany Diamond, in a photoshoot with her husband Jay Z, which debuted last week – becoming just the fourth female – and the first black woman – to ever wear the gem.
However the chart-topper and the luxury jewelry brand have come under furious fire over the decision to showcase the controversial diamond, with many social media users calling attention to its contentious history and the circumstances under which it was mined.
The diamond was discovered in a colonial mine in Kimberley, South Africa, in 1877 – at a time when the country, and its mines, were under British colonial rule – and when predominantly black migrant workers were subjected to horrific conditions while receiving paltry pay in return.
According to a source close to Beyonce, the singer was unaware of the diamond’s controversial history, and has been left outraged over the fact that she was not given more information about the gem’s background.
‘Beyonce is aware of the criticism and is disappointed and angry that she wasn’t made aware of questions about its history,’ an unnamed insider told The Sun.
‘She thought that every final detail had been vetted, but now she realizes that the diamond itself was overlooked.’
MailOnline has contacted representatives for Beyonce and Tiffany & Co. for comment.
The Tiffany diamond at the center of the backlash was dug from the De Beers’ Kimberley Mine in colonial South Africa in 1877 when black laborers were forced to work in horrendous conditions for miniscule pay.
The work was dangerous and unhealthy, with workers forced to work in cramped conditions, often causing fatal accidents.
Conditions outside of the mine were no better, with the housing for the workers featuring no natural water or waste disposal, with 1,144 dying from a range of illnesses including pneumonia and scurvy between 1897 and 1899 alone.
Traditionally, a blood diamond, also known as a conflict diamond, is any gem that has been mined and sold in order to fund military action against a government – as defined by the United Nations.
However, the term has also been applied to rough gems that were mined by people who were subjected to the kinds of conditions that Kimberley miners suffered during the 1870s – as with the Tiffany diamond that Beyonce modeled in her campaign.
The diamond’s history has prompted furious backlash against the singer and the jeweler, with many social media users voicing outrage that the diamond is still being showcased, particularly by a woman of color who has been so outspoken against racism.
‘I had to process Jay Z and Beyoncé ’s Tiffany’s campaign for just a minute before saying anything but how did no one see that the whole “first Black woman” marketing angle on this is not doing what they think it’s doing when that s**t is a literal blood diamond!!!!’ one furious Twitter user wrote.
Another added: ‘Not y’all celebrating the fact Beyonce is the first Black woman to wear a Tiffany blood diamond following in the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn and Lady Gaga.
‘That rock needs to left alone in a museum explaining its history while paying ongoing reparations, not paraded around.’
Although Beyonce has yet to publicly comment on the furious controversy surrounding her new Tiffany campaign, her mother, Tina Knowles, took to Instagram on Thursday night to fire back at her critics, branding them hypocritical.
‘How many of you socially conscious activist[s] own diamonds?’ she questioned. ‘I thought so! Well guess what did you go to try to check to see where the diamond came from? Probably not.’
She added: ‘So when you guys get engaged you won’t have a diamond you gonna put on a sterling silver band and you better check out where it came from and the origin of where came from and why you add it check out the calls for the leather that you [wear] because they made it came from another country to ban and not buy diamonds right because your righteous!!’