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A bloody history of diamonds at the de beers group

Is it news or propaganda? How can you tell? Read and learn how Real History informs the present, empowering you to wake up and smell what's brewing. Over a century of bloodshed would follow. Somewhere between December, 1866, and February, 1867, a 15-year-old boy named Stephanus Erasmus Jacobs found a shiny white pebble on the grounds of the De Kalk farm.

The farm was located on the south bank of the Orange River in what was then known as the Cape Colony, a Dutch-founded but then British-controlled region in what is now South Africa. After the boy had played with it for a while, Jacobs gave the stone to a neighbor farmer friend, Schalk van Niekerk, who collected unusual stones.

Boyes then transmitted the stone in an unsealed package to Dr William Guybon Atherstone, a pharmacist in Grahamstown.

Atherstone recognized the stone as a 21. The stone was the subject of some controversy. Because the Northern Cape area was not believed to hold stones of value, some speculated that the stone had been planted there. But that speculation was demolished with the discovery of a larger, more valuable stone. In 1869, again near the banks of the Orange River, a Griqua witch doctor named Swartbooi found an 83.

Niekerk heard of the stone, and traded nearly all his possessions, including 500 sheep, 10 oxen, and a horse, to the young man for the stone. He sold the diamond to the Lilienfeld brothers for 11,000 pounds sterling. The brothers then sold it to the Earl of Dudley for 30,000 pounds sterling, sparking the diamond rush to South Africa. Worried about damage from diamond seekers invading their land, which contained two valuable mines, the De Beers sold their diamond-rich land, and Cecil Rhodes took over several of the claims and incorporated the De Beers Consolidated Mines in 1871.

Among the mines that Rhodes owned in whole or part were the super-productive Kimberly and Premiere mines. De Beers, through a cartel that Rhodes helped form, at one point controlled nearly the entire market in diamonds: In the 1930's, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, the chairman of De Beers Group and leader of Anglo American, came up with the idea of "single channel marketing" which he defined as "a producers' co-operative including the major outside, or non-De Beers producers in accordance with the belief that only by limiting the quantity of diamonds put on the market, in accordance with the demand, and by selling through one channel, can the stability of the diamond trade be maintained.

He stomped out all competition and kept a stranglehold on the supply of diamonds, upping their value and rarity through a limited supply that De Beers doled out carefully. Many of their dealings were shady, and they were known for particular ruthlessness against their competitors.

The poverty caused by the depression in the 1930s and World War II in the forties severely depressed the diamond market.

A Diamond Market No Longer Controlled By De Beers

The goal behind the marketing campaign was to ensure that women kept their diamonds literally forever. The goal was to prevent a secondary market for diamonds by persuading women that diamonds should be untouched by another woman to really have any meaning.

This allowed De Beers to maintain control of the diamond trade at wholesale level and retailers to sell diamonds at a high price without competition from secondary markets. Do you feel manipulated yet? The sad horror of this is that, as diamonds became more precious, efforts to extract them became more violent: They are called either blood diamonds or the much less evocative term, conflict diamonds.

They are mined and sold by rebel armies such as the Revolutionary United Front largely to finance the purchase of arms, arms that will be used in the attempted toppling of legitimate, internationally recognized governments. Mass murder, amputation, and the use of child soldiers are an all too common part of the process.

Rough, unfinished diamonds hold many lucrative advantages for these armed insurgents: There's really no currency exchange issues when you're dealing with "ice," as it's referred to in underworld lingo.

In rebel-held diamond mining regions, the little subsistence farmland available to local populations is razed and gutted by this gem-lust. Farmers are taken from their land and forced to work as prisoner-labourers in the open pits, being shot on the spot for such crimes as disobedience and under-productivity. More than 1500 of the miners in Sierra Leone's Kona region were children, who could just as easily find themselves drugged, press-ganged, and holding a diamond-bought AK-47, an underaged combatant in a conflict they could have little understanding of.

While political stability has increased in Sierra Leone, the same problems are beginning to flare up in other nations, such as Cote d'Ivoire. Sierra Leone a bloody history of diamonds at the de beers group into unspeakable horror in the 1990s.

As the rebels clashed with the government, elections were scheduled, but people had to vote with a thumbprint. The violence was so gruesome that Nigerian troops and a United Nations peacekeeping force was sent in to remove the people in power and try to bring about a semblance of normality. To reiterate, the rebels would not have had the resources to wage war were it not for the diamonds within their borders.

The rebels used the diamond profits to force more people into slave labor camps to dig up more diamonds to buy more weapons in what was nearly a perpetual circle of violence.

Think of the blood that might have been shed before that diamond reached your hand, wrist, ear, or neck. While some in the diamond industry, notably De Beers, tout KPCS as the solution to blood diamonds, the guidelines are voluntary, and have reduced, but not eliminated, the problem.

People will still lie and game the system. But the more customers press for this, the more the people who sell diamonds will try to guarantee their customers are satisfied.

DiCaprio versus De Beers on Blood Diamonds

The worst thing for the diamond companies and the African nations combined would be if people stopped buying diamonds altogether. I just saw the movie Blood Diamond, which provided the inspiration for this research. As a reporter played by Jennifer Connelly in the film states paraphrasedno one would wear a diamond if they knew it had cost someone their hand.

And support the organizations that are trying desperately to bring peace and aid to the ravaged countries of Africa.