De Beers engages in exploration for diamonds, diamond mining, diamond trading and industrial diamond manufacture. Mining takes place in Botswana and Namibia (through its joint-venture partnerships with the respective governments), as well as South Africa and Canada, in every category of industrial diamond mining: open-pit, underground, large-scale alluvial, coastal and deep-sea. The Diamond Trading Company, the rough-diamond sales and distribution arm of the De Beers Group, sorted, valued and sold about 80% of the world’s rough diamonds by value until the early 1990s.
These diamonds were then sold to the Diamond Trading Company Sightholders whose representatives travelled to London several times a year for the sale or Sight as it was called. Today Sightholders (now numbering only 79) are required to comply with the De 結婚對戒 Beers’ best practice principles, which set out various objective standards of conduct in three main areas: business, social and environmental responsibilities. (I designed brandmarks for two of the Sightholders at the turn of the century and no mention was made of these noble standards; Mr $ and his rare appearances were the only standard I was reminded about.)
Get the picture? De Beers is big – very, very big! It is well known for its monopolistic practices throughout the previous century, when the company used its dominant position to manipulate the international diamond market by persuading independent producers to join its single-channel monopoly and then flooding the market with diamonds similar to those of producers who refused to join.
The company purchased and stockpiled the diamonds produced by other manufacturers in order to control prices through supply. Ernest Oppenheimer stated: “Commonsense tells us that the only way to increase the value of diamonds is to make them scarce, that is to reduce production.” Now all that was left for the monopoly to become fully fledged was to increase consumer demand.