Diamond Industry Essay

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There are many famous precious materials that the everyday person knows of. Gold, silver and in more recent times platinum are all known for their scarcity and desirability. However it is a crystalline form of carbon, not a precious metal, which carries more prestige than all three of them together. The diamond. Ever since the Kimberly diamond rush began in 1866, diamonds have played a very distinct role in our society. We are taught from an early age on that diamonds are extremely valuable due to their unrivalled beauty and apparent rarity.
However not many people are aware of the fact that ever since diamonds were found in Kimberly, South Africa, the industry of distributing and selling this precious gem has been predominantly run by a single cartel. The “De Beers Mining Company”. A cartel is defined as “an international syndicate, formed esp. to control prices and output in some field of business” (The Free Dictionary 2009) and “De Beers” fits this definition very well. Over the past 120 years, they have been instrumental in controlling the price of diamonds.
The following essay will give a brief history of the “De Beers Mining Company” and the diamond industry as a whole. It will also discuss several arguments which support the statement of diamonds being priced to highly and shed light on the connection between diamonds and marriage.
Before the discovery of diamonds in South Africa, a diamond trade had only truly existed in India and Brazil. No sizable deposits had yet been found and as a result of this, diamonds commanded an exorbitant price. However this all changed when the first diamond was discovered in the Kimberly region of South Africa. Soon after mines started springing up all around Kimberly, with the Vaal River ...

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...) to control the diamond market, it is evident that the price of diamonds is too high. Due to the monopolistic nature of the market, the De Beers Diamond Cartel is able to reap vast profits by controlling the supply of diamonds. It is quite startling to know that even in this modern day and age, one corporation is pulling all the strings in what has become a huge global market.
Unfortunately I do believe that at the moment, only a diamond ring is an acceptable engagement ring. As long as we still hear stories from our parents and grandparents about their beautiful diamond engagement rings and how it should cost “3 months’ salary”, diamond rings will stay the norm. It has been ingrained into our society by the decade long jewellery adverts. Especially the coined phrase “a diamond is forever”, adds to the hope and wishes that the marriage will be a long lasting one.
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