De Beers and the Sights.


Up to the beginning of last century, having a diamond was a luxury for nobles and aristocrats. The mass diffusion of the diamonds took place only thanks to De Beers. The English businessman Cecil Rhodes took marginally part to the diamond rush in South Africa by renting water pumps to the pioneers who were seeking diamonds. Rhodes had the intuition that diamonds came only from some lands and not by all of them. In 1888, he founded a consortium between landowners, including the brothers De Beer land, from which the consortium took the name: De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd, creating the largest and most profitable monopoly of the 20th century.

If South Africa were the De Beers mines from which diamonds came, with the leadership of new owner Ernest Oppenheimer (Anglo American Ltd that will meet later) in the early ‘900 were established in London and Tel Aviv trade divisions that were concerned about distribution and trade, especially in London, where they held the famous Sights, where a selected buyers group was used to meet ten times in a year to buy (or decline), at a predetermined price, rough diamonds "boxes".

We understand how the system has allowed to De Beers to control, during the entire last century, diamond prices with the control of quality and quantity placed on the market. The mechanism began to get worse at the end of the 80’s when, in addition to union protests, the governments of countries  (Russia, Botswana, South Africa, Canada, Australia) began to not renew land permissions, also coming out from the De Beers syndicate to be free to deal on the whole market. This revolution in the business of De Beers brought the ownership of the company directly in the perimeter of Anglo American Ltd (always Oppenheimer family) to go today directly to the retail market by licensing the De Beers brand to the LVMH luxury group.



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