…For more than a century the men controlling the diamond industry have been hardcore racist, some of whom were the founding fathers of Apartheid, and ruthlessly exploited black Africans as well as others. The Dutch, Germans, British, as well as other tribes of Europeans had come to Africa to pull, what today we would call a jack move. Many Europeans had convinced themselves that Africans and other non-whites were inferior people and many of the rest would do so later to justify their immoral actions. From this situation the racial segregation system of Apartheid was born, in South Africa, as well as similar social orders in other parts of Africa. (The horrors and injustices suffered by Africans during this time period, some of which still occur today, are a beyond the scope of this discussion but I invite you to do your own research.)
Cecil Rhodes, for whom Rhodesia(modern day Zimbabwe) was named essentially started the diamond industry back in the 1880's diamond rush when he “purchased” the farm of Dutch Boer farmers Deiderick Arnoldus & Johannes Debeers, who had become tired of diamond speculators on the land. This farm would eventually turn into one of the largest mines in Africa at the time (Debeer's currently has a mine 3 times the size of New Jersey called the “Forbidden Zone”). Rhodes then went on to “buy” several other mines until he controlled 90% of the world's gemstones. Shortly after that Ernest Oppenheimer made a large discovery of diamonds in “German Southwest Africa”, that rivaled Rhodes mines. Oppenheimer threatened to flood the market with diamonds and drive the price down if Rhodes did not make him chairman of Debeers which was Rhodes's Company at the time. Oppenheimer's company had financial investment from British investors and J.P. Morgan so it was called Anglo-American. Today, diamonds are a multi Billion dollar industry and most of them come from Southern African countries, yet black Africans from these countries remain some of the poorest people in the world…
…from those early days up until today, the profits from the diamond industry were the most important factor in upholding the regions racist policies and white minority rule. The best example is in South Africa. Once diamonds were discovered, the South African government instituted policies designed to force black Africans off their land and into the diamond mines to work in conditions similar to slavery. This was accomplished by the government creating new taxes on virtually everything from land to pets. In order to get money to pay the taxes black Africans had no choice but to work in the mines. For all their moral talk foreign investors, mainly in America and Europe, played a key role in upholding the South African government and economy, and similar ones throughout southern Africa…
During the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, where South African police murdered 67 blacks anti-apartheid demonstrators in the township of Sharpeville, many foreign companies and investors pulled out their investments (not for moral reasons but out of fear of South African instability) and sold their shares of stock. Anglo-American bought up these shares to uphold to the apartheid economy. Other examples of foreign support include the Congo(formerly Ziare) in the 1950s. In 1959 Patrice Lumumba was elected as Prime Minister of the newly “independent” Congo, a country extremely rich in diamonds as well as other natural resources. Lumumba was very critical of the racist and unequal, power and social relations in the Congo as well as the diamond industry's theft of African resources. The Belgian mining company, the American CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), and the Belgian government conspired to have him overthrown and murdered. He was replaced by a figurehead dictator that these foreign powers found more acceptable by the name of Mobutu Sese Seko. Dictator Mobutu was finally overthrown in 1997 and he died of natural causes later that year. Mobutu ruled the Congo for 32 years and it is estimated that through his theft he amassed a personal fortune estimated at 5 to 8 Billion dollars (yes that is a supposed to be a 'B' and yes that is 5-8,000,000,000) in addition to the countless Billions he misdirected or gave to his cronies.
…most people believe that since apartheid technically ended that somehow it's all good. Black Africans continue to work and live in conditions, that make Chicago's Cabrini Green Projects look like Disney World. For example, in Debeers's Kimberly mines division in South Africa there are between 1,200 and 1,400 workers. About 1,100 of them are black and live in squatters camps which are basically tin shacks with no electricity, among other things. Many of these black workers are paid as little as 28 American dollars a month. Meanwhile, white miners and managers live in comfortable homes with black servants. In addition, only white and part white employees with families are provided with family housing. Married black miners are forced to stay in separate facilities from their spouses. If a black, female worker gets pregnant she is required to leave her job for 3 months and return WITHOUT her child if she wishes to keep her job. White workers are never placed under these policies. If a white miner has a family, they are immediately given family housing.
…Meanwhile, just a little higher up the food chain, in West India (NOT the West Indies) hundreds of thousands of diamond cutters, many of them children under 13, cut low quality diamonds for inexpensive catalogue jewelry. At times they are required to place more than 50 cuts, the size of pencil tip, on a diamond. They are paid 4 cents per stone and work 12 hour days, 6 days a week. I doubt that comes with any health benefits.
…diamonds are not naturally very rare. Diamonds are made from carbon under high pressure, and on Earth we live in a carbon based environment. Most of the major diamond producing countries are in Southern Africa, but diamonds are also produced in Sierra Leone, Russia, Australia, and Canada. The diamond industry is more about controlling and restricting what comes out of the ground than the actual mining of diamonds. DeBeers controls approximately 75% of the world's rough (uncut) diamonds through its marketing arm, the Central Selling Organization (CSO). It mines 50% of the world's diamonds in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. The rest are vacuumed up through contracts made with other diamond producers, and by sending their buyers to clean up diamonds that leak onto the market from places like Congo and Angola. Since DeBeers is a foreign based company they are not subject to American monopoly laws, so they artificially keep the price of diamonds high by monopolizing supply. Trying to keep control of the diamond supply has forced DeBeers into business dealings with borderline terrorist and other shady characters, though they deny having dealings with most of these groups.
The lie that diamonds are extremely rare and valuable has been being built since the 1930s. During the 1930s and 1940s DeBeers paid to have diamonds placed favorably in movies. In 1947 DeBeers invented their famous slogan “a Diamond is Forever” which sells 2 dreams: (1)that diamonds bring eternal love and romance (2) that diamonds never lose their value. DeBeers spends no less than 200 million a year on marketing diamonds in 34 countries. Today the United States accounts for more than 33% of the worlds diamond jewelry sales. It sells the dream to every new generation of gullible young men and women. They sponsor women's magazines, host celebrity auctions and design competitions, and work to have diamonds placed on TV shows. As if the 1st gaffle wasn't enough they reinvent the dream for those who have already bought it once. The “eternity ring”: a band of diamonds bought to celebrate the tenth wedding anniversary. Is being sold using the slogan: "Show her you would marry her all over again". These fantasies are aggressively sold oversees also. In the 1960's, before DeBeers muscled in, barely 1 in 20 Japanese brides wore a diamond engagement ring. Today, diamond engagement rings are sported by 70% of Japanese brides. The fact that America's love affair with diamonds is the result of a marketing campaign is pretty bizarre, but even more amazing is that diamonds can be made synthetically. It requires some expensive equipment, but if a company or person has the resources, they can manufacture flawless diamonds in most sizes and colors, even the more expensive pink or yellow shades. In the 1980's General Electric was making these synthetic flawless diamonds though they weren't selling them commercially. When former, GE executive Edward Russell suggested that GE begin selling these diamonds to the public he was promptly fired…
From ‘Bling, Bling’ by Eyecalone at http://www.playahata.com/pages/eyecalone/blingbling.html
Diamonds were not always so popular with the American public, and they were not always so pricey. A diamond placed in a mounting on a ring has a markup of about 100 percent to 200 percent. The only reason why we pay so much more for diamonds today than for other precious gems is because the diamond market is controlled almost entirely by a single diamond cartel, called De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd., which is based in South Africa. De Beers stockpiles diamonds mined from countries around the world and releases a limited number of diamonds for sale each year. De Beers produces half of the world's diamond's supply and controls about two-thirds of the entire world market, according to a Washington Post report. At times, just to keep prices up, De Beers has bought tremendous numbers of diamonds from countries attempting to inject large quantities into the market. If De Beers were a U.S.-based company, it would be in violation of antitrust laws for fixing the prices of diamonds.
The secret to De Beers' success is a marketing campaign that convinces women that they should receive a diamond ring from their fiancee and convinces young men to pay "two-months salary" for that ring to show how much their love is worth. Prior to the 1930s, diamond rings were rarely given as engagement rings. Opals, rubies, sapphires and turquoise were deemed much more exotic gems to give as tokens of one's love, according to the book "Twenty Ads that Shook the World," by James B. Twitchell. Twitchell goes on to describe how De Beers changed the world diamond market. This idea of connecting diamonds to romance was captured in a brilliant ad campaign begun in the 1940s, causing demand for diamonds to increase. Surely you've heard the De Beers advertisement telling you that "A Diamond is Forever." This ad campaign, which was created by the N.W. Ayer advertising agency in 1947, changed the diamond market. In 2000, Advertising Age magazine named the ad campaign the slogan of the 20th century. De Beers infiltrated Japan with the same ad campaign in the 1960s, and the Japanese public bought into the idea as much as the Americans did.
Later ads by De Beers told consumers to hold onto their family's diamond jewelry and to cherish them as heirlooms -- and it worked. This eliminated the aftermarket for diamonds, which further enabled De Beers to control the market. Without people selling their diamonds back to jewelers or to other people, the demand for new diamonds increased. There are fewer than 200 people or companies authorized to buy rough diamonds from De Beers. These people are called sightholders, and they purchase the diamonds through the Central Selling Organization (CSO), a subsidiary of De Beers that markets about 70 percent to 80 percent of the world's diamonds. De Beers sells a parcel of rough diamonds to a sightholder, who in turn sends the diamonds to cutting facilities and then to distributors.
There are rough diamonds sold outside the CSO. These diamonds come from small producers in Australia, Russia and some African countries. The cost of these diamonds is still largely influenced by the prices set by the CSO. Diamonds are the most coveted of all precious gems, as is witnessed by the extremely high demand for them. While this has not always been the case, diamonds are nonetheless exquisite gems that go through a long, tedious refining process from the time they are pulled from the ground to when you see them in the jewelry store. And, while some of the mystique of diamonds may be gone -- they're just carbon, after all -- the diamond will likely continue to be a highly coveted jewel, because, well, "A Diamond is Forever." From ‘howstuffworks.com’
For more detailed info: http://www.edwardjayepstein.com/diamond/prologue.htm
Especially Chapter 8 THE JEWISH CONNECTION