Reclaimed by a youth culture without the wealth with which to buy diamonds, the shape of the crystalline, round brilliant cut sketched by Tolkowsky one hundred years ago has become a deterritorialized, flattened symbol of the diamond it was invented to create. In Rihanna’s 2012 performance of her song “Diamonds” on Saturday Night Live, amid other appropriative seapunk computer-generated graphics, the false-screen behind her displayed spinning, flying, overly perfect images of the round brilliant cut gemstone. The heavy geometrics of the cut diagram, portrayed in digital imagery, or in false glimmer on T-shirts, necklaces, and other fashion items, takes the shape of the sigil that creates diamonds’ luster and portrays it flatly. It is literally the geometry of the magic power of diamonds that remains, the word and material itself controlled by the cartels and the millionaires.
There is no magic shine to this symbol, rendered in ink, pixels, or laser cut plastic. And yet there is: within the very shape of economic and colonial power of diamonds that created and concentrated their contemporary magical value, are the physical attributes that allow our awareness to pass through the material, bent, refracted to its angular contours. This pattern cannot be commodified any longer, it has been broken out from De Beers “Four Cs” rubric, made unavailable as a currency for wars. We need no colonialist mines to create this weapon of enlightenment. Our new diamond knife can be drawn with any ink or stencil. We know what diamonds mean. We know where diamonds’ magic comes from. And we may not have those diamonds, because of the systems that have been created to keep that power isolated, in the hands of the few, a false monopoly of enlightenment and actualization in the economy that we live in. But we will still take that magic. We will counterfeit it if necessary, use cheap crystals emblazoned upon our very skin, the pattern of that crystal magic itself as our sigil, GIF blasts of currency symbols at our fingertips in leiu of actual currency. This diamond weapon is only symbol, and in that is its new, lustrous, crystalline power.