With all the millions of hospital records filed every day, you would be hard-pressed to make a connection between 24 of them scattered across England, Canada, and the United States. The subjects have no connection to each other, coming from different backgrounds and living in different parts of their respective countries. Their only link is the similarity of their injuries… and the fact that they were recently engaged to be married. Sarah Wingate from Evanston, Illinois; Regina MacPherson from Halifax, NS; Alice Heathstone from Edinburgh, UK; and over twenty others. All young women on the way to the altar-and all of them wearing a Campo Verde blood diamond on their finger.

Campo Verde was a small village in the heart of Angola. Its citizens were slaughtered to a man by elements of the National Union for the Independence of Angola, who felt the village was hoarding diamonds. They forced mothers to watch while they hacked off every child’s left arm, then shot the adults and left the children to bleed to death. The diamonds- five of them, carefully hidden over the years and intended to buy passage to the West for the village’s youth- were seized and sold on the black market. Each of them found their way into legitimate jewelers, who crafted them into high-quality engagement rings.

Anyone unfortunate enough to put on one of the rings invariably suffers a horrendous accident: ranging from auto wrecks and household tragedies to bizarre coincidences of Rube Goldberg complexity. But in every case, the victim suffers the loss of her left arm- sheared from the socket as if hacked by a machete. Doctors who examine the wounds often comment on how unusual they are, how much they resemble hand-to-hand combat wounds rather than the sorts of trauma one might associate with the accident in question. The women who survive their wounds claim to have seen little African Children- hollowed-eyed and spattered with blood- shortly before the accident. But in every case, the engagement ring somehow slips off of the severed arm, never to be recovered by its owner. It falls into sewer systems or is plucked up by rubberneckers at the accident: sold to fences and pawnshops before finding their way back to jewelry stores. Each stone has claimed at least four victims, with the next one just a proposal on bended knee away.