A Diamond Monopoly is Not Forever

Interesting story from Syracuse. It has nothing to do with travel, save for the fact that we will be driving there next week. But I was surprised that this story was not more publicized. A search resulted in only WSYR covering it. The summary of the story is also on a dedicated to the issue:

De Beers is the largest supplier of rough diamonds in the world. Beginning in 2001, Plaintiffs in several states filed lawsuits against De Beers in state and federal courts alleging that De Beers unlawfully monopolized the supply of diamonds, conspired to fix, raise, and control diamond prices, and issued false and misleading advertising. De Beers denies it violated the law or did anything wrong.

The Settlement Agreement provides that $22.5 Million be distributed to the Direct Purchaser Class, and that $272.5 Million will be distributed to the Indirect Purchaser Class. De Beers also agrees to refrain from engaging in certain conduct that violates federal and state antitrust laws and submit to the jurisdiction of the Court to enforce the Settlement.

De Beers was founded by Cecil Rhodes in 1888. From Wikipedia:

De Beers, founded by Cecil Rhodes, comprises companies involved in rough diamond exploration, diamond mining and diamond trading. The various companies within the De Beers “family of companies” are responsible for around 40% of world diamond production by value.[1]

De Beers is active in every category of diamond mining: open-pit, underground, large-scale alluvial, coastal and deep sea. De Beers is not involved in informal small-scale diamond mining, which is rarely economical for large mining companies.

De Beers (through its sales and marketing arm, the DTC) has been very successful in increasing desire for diamonds. The famous advertising line “A Diamond is Forever” (attempting to discourage diamond owners from putting their older diamonds onto the secondary market, thus limiting competition) was coined in 1947 and the company has created many successful campaigns since then. One of the most effective of these has been the marketing of diamonds as a symbol of love and commitment and thus the ideal jewel for an engagement or wedding ring.

Some of the campaigns started by De Beers include the “eternity ring” (as a symbol of continuing affection and appreciation), the “trilogy” ring (representing the past, present and future of a relationship) and the “right hand ring” (bought and worn by women as a symbol of independence).

De Beers is also known for its television advertisements featuring silhouettes of people wearing diamonds, to the music of Palladio by Karl Jenkins.The company spends $150 million per year on advertising.

Gosh, I remember those commercials when I lived in Syracuse! My mother used to sigh over things like that– expensive jewelry. I was never into diamond necklaces or earrings very much.

About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

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