Your Water’s More Valuable Than Diamonds

Golden Temple at Amritsar in India
Reservoir of the Golden Temple at Amritsar in India (Source: Shagil Kannur via Wikipedia via the Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license )

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  • For the original diamond-water paradox see Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol. I, 3rd edition (Edinburgh: William Creech, 1806), 38.
  • Amount of water wasted each year from United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Statistics and Facts,” at, accessed 6 Oct., 2023.
  • For statistics on industrial diamonds see, e.g., United States, U.S. Geological Survey, “Diamond (Industrial), 2023,” at, accessed 21, Dec., 2023.
  • On modern economics courses teaching only a single theory of value, see Mariana Mazzucato, The Value of Everything: Making & Taking in the Global Economy (New York: Public Affairs, 2018), 71–72. See also Mazzucato’s 2019 TED Talk at
  • For a classic summary of the cross-cultural study of holy water, see, e.g., the chapter by Mircea Eliade, “The Waters and Water Symbolism” in Mircea Eliade, Patterns in Comparative Religion: Study of the Element of the Sacred in the History of Religious Phenomena by a Distinguished Catholic Scholar (Cleveland: World Publishing Company, 1966), Ch. V.
  • Giles Fletcher on the River Moskva: Giles Fletcher, Of The Russe Common Wealth, originally published 1591, in Edward R. Bond, editor, Russia at the Close of the Sixteenth Century, Comprising the Treatise “Of The Russe Common Wealth” by Dr. Giles Fletcher and the Travels of Sir Jerome Horsey, Knt., Now For the First Time Printed Entire from His Own Manuscript, reprint for the Hakluyt Society (New York: Burt Franklin, 1856), 135–136. Nearly three centuries later in 1872, another British observer quipped of this same ceremony: “The populace regard this ceremony with excessive superstition. Upon the retirement of the imperial cortege, they rush with eager haste to the opening, anxious to touch the consecrated stream, and fill pitchers from it to carry home. Even infants have been sent with their nurses to be plunged, under the idea that if the immersion is endured they will be fortified to bear all the perils of life.” See Thomas Milner, The Gallery of Geography: A Pictorial and Descriptive Tour of the World, Volume II (Glasgow: W.R. M’Phun & Son, 1872), 748.
  • Rev “C” and the Golden Temple: Rev. C., “A Visit to the Sacred Reservoir of the Sikhs,” in The Calcutta Christian Observer, Edited “by Christian Ministers of Various Denominations” Vol. IV (Jan.–Dec., 1835): 169–173.
  • Sacred waters in India today: Rana P.B. Singh, “Sacrality and Waterfront Sacred Places in India: Myths and the Making of Place” in Celeste Ray, editor, Sacred Waters, Kindle Edition (London: Routledge, 2020), 90–91. Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.
  • R.P. Masani, Folklore of Wells, Being a Study of Water-Worship in East and West (Bombay: D.B. Taraporevala Sons & Co., 1918), xviii.
  • Celeste Ray, “Paying the Rounds at Ireland’s Holy Wells” in Anthropos, Vol. 110 (2015): 417.
  • Steve A. Smith, “Local Cadres Confront the Supernatural: The Politics of Holy Water (Shenshui) in the PRC, 1949-1966,” in The China Quarterly, no. 188 (2006): 1010.
  • Waterfalls in the Smokies: See this short 2012 video by the Great Smoky Mountains Association, “Waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains,” at, accessed 29 Dec., 2023. 

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