BEYONCE was said to be “disappointed and angry” last night after a £22.9million gem she was pictured wearing was compared to a “blood diamond”.
She became the first black woman, and only the fourth person ever, to don the 128 carat Tiffany Diamond.
But a source said she was upset that she was never told of its grim history.
It was dug from the Beers’ Kimberly Mine in colonial South Africa in 1877 by poorly-paid black labour in horrendous conditions.
They were forced to work at speed in cramped conditions, often causing fatal accidents.
Workers’ housing had no natural water or waste disposal, with 1,144 dying from a range of illnesses including pneumonia and scurvy between 1897 and 1899 alone.
In 1879 the yellow diamond was sold to Charles Tiffany, who had founded the high-end US jeweller.
Socialite Mary Whitehouse showed it off at the 1957 Tiffany Ball in Rhode Island, and British actress Audrey Hepburn wore it to promote her movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961.
Singer Lady Gaga had the stunning piece around her neck at the 2019 Oscars.
Beyonce, 39, put it on it for a photoshoot as part of a rumoured eight-figure deal with hubby Jay-Z, 51, for Tiffany’s year-long About Love campaign. But in an online backlash critics likened it a so-called blood diamond — a gem mined in a warzone to finance violence or illegal activity.
The source said: “Beyonce is aware of the criticism and is disappointed and angry that she wasn’t made aware of questions about its history.
“She thought that every final detail had been vetted, but now she realises that the diamond itself was overlooked.”
As part of the deal, Tiffany has promised £1.5million towards internship and scholarship programmes for historically Black colleges and universities.
And Beyonce’s mum Tina Lawson asked online critics:
“How many of you socially conscious activists own diamonds? Did you check to see where the diamond came from? Probably not!”