The Diamond Empire

1994 ,    »  -   27 Comments
Ratings: 9.23/10 from 106 users.

What we think about diamonds, is in fact, a myth. At the center of that myth is an illusion, that diamonds are valuable because they are rare. When writer Edward Epstein set out to investigate the diamond trade, he discovered that diamonds aren't rare at all. Second only to Christmas, Valentine's Day is the holiday when diamonds are most often given as the ultimate token of love. Central to the diamond's role as a romantic symbol is the belief that diamonds are one of the rarest, most precious gifts for a loved one. But it's only a myth--diamonds are found in plentiful supply.

FRONTLINE examines how the great myth about the scarcity of diamonds and their inflated value was created and maintained over the decades by the diamond cartel. This report chronicles how one family, the Oppenheimers of South Africa, gained control of the supply, marketing, and pricing of the world's diamonds. (Excerpt from

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27 Comments / User Reviews

    Not Rocket Science
  1. Not Rocket Science

    $5000 worth of diamonds cost them what? 50 bucks? The Oppenheimer family understands that there is a sucker born every second. How do I get in on this racket?

  2. fk
  3. fk

    ask ur parents

  4. jj
  5. jj

    the faggot oppenhimers assisted the Germans and hittler with the world war 2. the should b arrested for war crimes.

  6. Phil Atio
  7. Phil Atio

    Well the most obvious way to get in on the diamond racket is to go to a war torn country like liberia or congo where de beers doesn't control every mine. The problem is the new kimberely process makes it very difficult and legally impossible to transport any diamond that does not come from a country where de beers already controls all of the mines (canada, usa, south africa, most of europe, and southern africa).

  8. Joey
  9. Joey

    Oh man, it seems like every company is corrupt these days. This deBeers stuff is shameful

  10. Habler
  11. Habler

    Monopoly is always the goal for any business, De Beers isnt the only monopoly in the world sadly.

    If there were no restrictions we would all have abundant food and resources.

    Instead what happens is that we are taxed a large part of our incomes in order that we can continually feed the machine.

  12. dallas
  13. dallas

    Who directed this?

  14. iedm
  15. iedm

    keep in mind the monopoly was broken up around 2000...

  16. Rolf Verschuuren
  17. Rolf Verschuuren

    Yes indeed but the fact is that it wont be possible now since in the current system ppl are only trying to make money for themselves (how many ppl who earn more than they can spend are willing to give up the money they cant even spend, since they already got everything?). But maybe one day in the future Jacque Fresco's dream will come true and it'll all happen.
    Check out The Venus Project

  18. Morgan Andresen
  19. Morgan Andresen

    Your very wrong, the only time a monopoly can exist is WHEN there are restrictions. Only the governments of the world can maintain monopolies and cartels. If there was a free market there would be free entry and thus constant competition.

    I agree taxes are theft, governments are just criminal gangs on a grand scale.

  20. Morgan Andresen
  21. Morgan Andresen

    You are very wrong, the only time a monopoly can exist is WHEN there are restrictions. Only the governments of the world can maintain monopolies and cartels. If there was a free market there would be free entry and thus constant competition.

    The Venus Project is nothing but communism repackaged. It replaces the central comittee with the central computer and thats it.

    You can't have their mysterious and misleading "resource based economy" because without money there is no way to gauge value or efficiency.

    People only fall for this because we are woefully underedcuated about free markets and economics in general. In a free market, which is the goal and essence of capitalism, the only way to become wealthy is by HELPING OTHERS.

    If I offer you a job, the only way you will accept it is if it benefits YOU more then ANY of your alternatives as judged by YOU. Free exchange in free markets is the only moral way of interacting, all other interaction involves coercion and force which NECESARILY means harm to one side or the other.

    Even minimum wages have the effect of unemploying all people who'se jobs aren't worth paying the minimum wage too. Having a low paying job is better then no job at all, especially when you consider that it might lead to promotion.

  22. Morgan Andresen
  23. Morgan Andresen

    These days? This racket goes back to imperial Britain! Just like most of the cartels do...

  24. Clay Dawson
  25. Clay Dawson

    @Morgan Andresen:

    "You can't have their mysterious and misleading "resource based economy" because without money there is no way to gauge value or efficiency" I believe you are, yourself, mistaken.
    --Obviously; because in this case, the "value and efficiency" that you speak of presuppose money. Remove the currency and the value is inherent to the actual product; the efficiency, to its accessibility. Neither of these two concepts need to presuppose money, unless your frame of reference is limited to that state of mind.

    It seems your entire worldview depends on the presence of a capitalistic system. You believe that regulation is futile, as you have intense faith in free markets.

    Consider: the philosophy behind capitalism is minimum input, maximum output. i.e minimum cost input, maximum profit output. If a company can make and sell a product cheaply it will; regardless of any possible negative health consequences on the consuming public. This is a truth that history tells us in America. Before the FDA restricted trans fats, foods were made for decades with hydrogenated materials because this gave them a longer shelf life (More cost efficient for the company). This was done for thirty years after there had been conclusive published scientific evidence that hydrogenized food products had potentially unlimited adverse health effects. Before the EPA, companies had no economic interest in preserving water and air quality standards. There is no shortage of these examples.

    Ideally, it would be great if companies felt the moral obligation to uphold humane production standards, but history has shown us that many cannot be trusted to do so, as doing so often means less profit.

    as a side note, regulation does not discourage competition. Companies discourage competition. Do you know that ultimately, there are a sum of three corporations that supply food to American grocery stores? The present power balance makes it virtually impossible for a company to find success independently of a few giant corporations.

  26. ordinaryLEE
  27. ordinaryLEE

    as it should do..we taught you and rule you from london 100%americans lmao creating our wealth for us and believing its yours...Oh dear such a lie you live in

  28. iPhi
  29. iPhi

    Nukka.. you don't have any money.

  30. Guest
  31. Guest

    -KanyeWestShrug.. I'm from Japan.

  32. Al Candelaria
  33. Al Candelaria

    Unbelievable BS. The footage shown here is old the statistics don't match. Total fiction.

  34. Prabhu Ram
  35. Prabhu Ram

    simply amazed by the effort - rich world is all together !

  36. Jarrod Armstrong
  37. Jarrod Armstrong

    the jews are at it as usual

  38. manfruss
  39. manfruss

    I feel your view of this is also problematic. Free market is misleading. In theory, just like communism, free markets work. There are many factors that don't allow it to work functionally. Look at the tactics used by Standard Oil to squeeze out their competition in a free market. Free markets can only work when everyone has all the information to make informed decision and the desire to dominate all is out of the picture. Wal-mart enters a new town. Their corporate income allows them to take a massive loss at one store (supported by the other nationwide stores), which means they out price everyone else. Mom and pop are out of business because they can't compete with such tactics and your "free" market falls apart. Welcome monopoly, and then lack of incomes for people. Wal-mart refuses to offer full time jobs because they cost more. "Sixteen tons and what you get? Another day older and deeper in debt. St. Peter don't call me 'cause I can't go, I owe my soul to the company store."

    Humanity needs a new definition of profit (which today is generally measured in $$). Well being for all people on earth. Universal education (still not happening), shelter clothing, food. If we're going to use 'money' to gauge society, then everyone should have the right to a job that allows them a good livable wage (minimum is not liveable).

    Here's the kick to the nuts in this free market. I work for a company, which has cut my hours to 24 from 40. It doesn't bother me too much since there was not always that much to do, and I'll find work elsewhere in whatever way I want. What the kick is, some kid of the owner, gets a nice cushy job doing less than I do, getting paid six figures. He even got to start collecting salary six months before he lifted a finger to work. Free market my left nut. RBE is nothing but communism repackaged? Maybe you're right. Our current version of a free market is serfdom repackaged.

    We don't have economic justice because we don't treat strangers as we would our brothers. We need to find away for all to have opportunity, and currently our systems gives that opportunity to the wealthy, while the rest fight over the kitchen scraps.

  40. ninzaginza
  41. ninzaginza

    racist prick

  42. Marko Marjanovic IV
  43. Marko Marjanovic IV

    All you say is true, except for the idea of RBE, it is very real. It changes the human nature when there is no power to pursue(money). It however needs several other more political changes to happen. But one follows another, and hopefully we will live to see it.

  44. Jabranpin
  45. Jabranpin

    Only a devil would profit from the suffering and death of Africans, who have wronged nobody in the history of man, since the beginning of time.

  46. pedro
  47. pedro


  48. rgris
  49. rgris

    your argument makes sense. What government restrictions does the diamond cartel use to maintain there cartel?

  50. bobsuruncle
  51. bobsuruncle

    Rediculous Comment. Sold Their Own Into Slavery, Cutting The Arms Off Of Opposing Tribes Peoples, Forcing Children To Murder Their Parents To Join A "Freedom Fight s".
    I Agree That Mining On That Whole Continent Is Done Without Thought For The People Of It, But To Paint A Whole Continent As Full Of Saints Is Bs. Also I'mSure Someone In there Is Making Bank.

  52. Truffi
  53. Truffi

    White people are criminal and have built a system to control every resource in the world

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