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What are the Celebrities Wearing at the Oscars?

The 81st Annual Academy Awards brought out the usual amount of glamorous gowns and million-dollar jewelry. Diamond jewelry was, like always, on almost every neck, wrist, finger and earlobe. Awards shows are events when expensive diamond jewelers can show off their masterpieces by having them framed by the most beautiful people in the world. This year, before the red carpet parade of opulence began, many of Hollywood’s A-listers were given an education on just where those precious stones come from.

At a pre-Oscar dinner hosted by Julianne Moore and Diamond Information Center Director Sally Morrison, former Botswana President Festus Mogae spoke about the importance of diamonds to the futures of many developing countries. The affair, with attendees such as Camilla Belle, Julia Ormond, Sharon Stone, Debra Messing, Tom Ford and Monique Lhullier, was given to bring attention to the economic crisis in many African countries and show that the issue of conflict diamonds is not the only one that needs to be addressed.

Moore and Morrison felt that former President Mogae, addressing the crowd with his first-person account of how the diamond industry affects his country, would make for a much more compelling speech. He told the celebrity-filled crowd about the importance of the diamond industry in his country. Botswana, with careful guidance and attention by its government, has experienced considerable growth by responsibly using its natural resources, making it a good model for other African countries to follow.

In a press release, Morrison stated that: “We felt it was important for Hollywood to understand that diamonds, while synonymous with Hollywood and glamour, are also a lifeline for people in the countries where they are mined, providing healthcare, infrastructure, education and employment.” On display at the dinner was a collection of diamond jewelry, including several international pieces and the new “Shining Light Diamond Collection,” which showed guests that diamonds and the diamond industry have an enduring value and are a sustainable source of economic diversification for developing diamond-producing nations.

The Academy Awards, being known in particular as the place for stars to see and be seen in the finest jewelry, was exactly the kind of forum that the Diamond Information Center wanted to address. Said Morrison, “By bringing President Mogae to the Oscars, he was able to deliver that message in person and to highlight the importance of diamonds to his country.”

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