- Beyoncé has been criticized for wearing Tiffany’s Yellow Diamond necklace in their new campaign.
- The necklace has been described as a “blood diamond” with a problematic origin story.
- A source close to Beyoncé told The Sun she wasn’t aware of its history.
Beyoncé has been criticized for wearing Tiffany’s famous Yellow Diamond necklace due to its problematic history.
The 39-year-old singer became the fourth person in the world to wear the 128.54-carat diamond when starring in Tiffany’s “About Love” campaign with Jay-Z earlier this week. In an Instagram post promoting the campaign, the brand said Beyoncé was the first Black person to wear it.
The necklace was previously worn by Audrey Hepburn and Lady Gaga.
The jewelry comapny has since announced plans to pay $2 million toward scholarships at historically Black colleges and universities, The Times reports.
However, both the singer and the brand face backlash online from those describing the necklace as a “blood diamond,” The Times and The Independent reports.
The UN defines the term as diamonds mined in areas “controlled by forces opposed to the legitimate, internationally recognized government of a country and that is sold to fund military action against that government,” according to Britannica.
The diamond was discovered in a colonial mine in Kimberley, South Africa, in 1877 when the country and its mines were under British colonial rule, the Mail Online reports. The publication adds that the predominantly Black migrant workers were subjected to horrific conditions and sometimes received no pay for their work.
“Beyoncé doing a Tiffany’s campaign wearing a blood diamond doesn’t sit well for her brand ESPECIALLY given her African influenced work in the past few years,” one person wrote on Twitter.
“I can’t be fascinated and just look past the inherent history of a 150 yo blood diamond just because it’s on Beyoncé,” one person wrote on Twitter. Another said that they were “disturbed because Beyoncé knows better.”
A source close to Beyoncé told The Sun that she is “disappointed and angry” that she wasn’t made aware of the diamond’s history before starring in the campaign.
“She thought that every final detail had been vetted, but now she realizes that the diamond itself was overlooked,” the source said.
Meanwhile, Washington Post columnist Karen Nicole Attiah believes that the backlash should be directed at Tiffany, not Beyoncé.
“The ‘About Love’ campaign fiasco with Beyoncé lies largely w/ @TiffanyAndCo,” Attiah wrote on Twitter. “It’s the familiar new trend of white companies using black women ‘firsts’ to rebrand themselves as socially conscious — while avoiding meaningfully dealing with their troubling history/ practices.”
Tiffany & Co. did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.