“Diamonds wear the poorest people.” That’s what I told myself. Back then. Back when nothing made sense. Back then, that ring was as worthless to me as those that valued it. People carrying their worth on the very hands they used to introduce new liars….
Alex Steiner gives us a piece that, like a diamond that grows day by day in the depths of the earth, is a crescendo. It is a text that evolves, changing shape and concealing hidden facets, like the people who are its protagonists.
Grading Diamonds is a work of literature that cannot leave indifferent. It reveals through physical and mineralogical metaphors, symbolic objects, the temperament and memories of its main characters. It depicts them as so complex, scratchable, human that they seem close to us. As if they belonged to our family. Grading Diamonds is the story of a father and a daughter. However, it is above all the story of a relationship that—as frequently happens in the closest ties between people—changes and reveals itself as time passes. Alex quotes the words of the Lebanese American author Khalil Gibran: “Perhaps time’s definition of coal is the diamond”; it is necessary to observe the transformations over time, to have a diachronic and patient perspective. It invites flexibility, in pricing and labelling people. Accelerations, collisions, slowdowns, and departures are all part of the process of evolution. They are essential to give us the tools to grade and understand what is authentically valuable, worthy, precious. What dirt can create a diamond? How much beauty can be hidden in chaos and calamity?
Alex’s story takes its cue from a significant object: a ring. However, she aims to talk about people, the forces and events that modify their identity, like rocks eroded by the wind. Grading Diamonds wants to inspire hope in readers, showing how time changes and redefines people and personal values.
The creative process of Alex reflects the themes of change and settlement that also characterize her work. The author worked on the text for a long time, editing and reworking it several times. The excerpts of her story follow each other fast, brilliant, direct, allowing us to follow the flow of emotions and situations step by step. The use of the first-person singular gives this to creative non-fiction text an autobiographical tone that is realistic, honest and creative at the same time. Alex’s writing style is rich in references. She is guided by authors who can describe personal experiences with veracity, such as Cupcake Brown in her autobiography, and novels that deal with life changes, such as the award-winning She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. Her way of storytelling is also very reminiscent of the contemporary tool of podcasts, from which she has absorbed the incisive and fast-paced sound.
Alex Steiner is first and foremost inspired by people and their lives. She studied Criminal Law and worked as a teacher at several non-profit NGOs. Currently based in London, she works as a writer, getting closer and closer to people and their stories.
Alex Steiner is the Gold Writer of the ArtAscent People call for writers. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal People issue.