The diamond corporation of De Beers, which had held the diamond industry together through its monopoly of buying and selling uncut stones, found this monopoly threatened
By the diamond wars, which swept through several diamond-rich African countries in the ‘0s and ‘90s. Diamonds became part of a three-way deal, being exchanged for arms and drugs. As a result some men grew rich, while the resources of African countries were plundered, civil wars broke out, causing endless suffering. De Beers had to re-assess its organisation and no longer functioned as a buyer of all mined stones. Reputable buyers now require certificates
which show place of origin, to stop illegal stones reaching the market. The new system is by no means water-tight, but the trade in bloodstones is not as successful in the early 21st century as it was in the closing years of the 20th.
Bloodstones is a thriller based in the fictitious Central African country of Dayemba. The narrator, Ben Glaser, a Johannes burg lawyer, is approached by the Dayemban Amos Gwembe to participate in a plot to foil the machinations of an international businessman, Martin Westwood, who has links with elite Africans throughout the continent, in particular with the corrupt president of Dayemba, Kwarambe. Gwembe is security chief of Dayemba’s Loxton Diamond Mine, whose deceased owner had defied the De Beers monopoly in the past, is now partly owned by Dayemba’s government and through Westwood and Kwarambe pushes bloodstones onto the market. Gwembe and his friends want to stop at least one war. They have devised a plan to trap Westwood and bring him to justice, while also forcing Kwarambe to give up his presidency.