The De Beers Corporation

Anyone who knows anything about diamonds has heard of the diamond giant, De Beers. (At the very least, you’ve likely heard their tagline: “A Diamond is Forever”). De Beers used to own 85% of diamond rough. Other companies such as ALROSA and Rio Tinto have now taken large cuts of the pie. Nonetheless, De Beers still retains control of 35-40% of the world’s roughs and determines a great deal of the market.

Sightholders

An event De Beers hosts helps set diamond prices every season. Diamond dealers compete to be one of 84 “sightholders” at De Beers’ “sights.” These companies are invited to view and purchase diamonds directly from De Beers ten times a year.

De Beers determines how much and what kind of diamond rough to sell to each company or sightholder and at what price. Dealers can only accept or reject boxes, each valued in the millions. They can’t negotiate. In addition, sightholders must obey strict rules and can’t sell to retailers who will lower prices. De Beers has the right to know the sightholders’ markets and inventories and can also audit the companies as well.

Sightholders who disobey the rules face serious consequences.…