Powerful, emotional and consistent branding helped to create the De Beers diamond monopoly. When it was threatened in the 1990s by conflict diamonds and producers such as Russia distributing diamonds outside the De Beers-controlled channel, De Beers again turned to branding to save the day 求婚戒指. They repositioned themselves in a market they no longer control and are now more profitable with a 40% market share than when they had an 80% market share in the 1990s. Let me bring you into the picture.
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.
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 Beers’ best practice principles, which set out various objective standards of conduct in three main areas: business, social and environmental responsibilities.
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.
Consider this: a diamond – the rarest and hardest natural mineral known – is worth no more that half its retail value. There is no hard-and-fast rule for the pricing of polished diamonds, but professionals in the polished-diamond industry use a worldwide market price list, the Rapaport, based on the four Cs, which are carat, cut, colour and clarity, as a general guideline for evaluating polished diamond prices. And a jeweller usually adds a 100% mark-up to the Rapaport quoted price.
In 1999, I experienced this first-hand while prospecting for diamonds (just like the diamond diggers did at the turn of the century) along the Orange River, a stone’s throw away from where the first diamond was found in South Africa. There are no words to describe the feeling when you find your first diamond: a flash of brilliant white light coming from among grey-black gravel on the sorting table after days of backbreaking labour, processing tons of gravel.
I was once told by a diamond diver in Port Nolloth on the remote Diamond Coast of the South African West Coast: “Men arrive in planes and luxury cars looking for diamonds and leave looking for a lift home, left only with a pair of jeans and the shirt on their backs. ” Wise words which sum up the power that prospecting for diamonds holds for men.