The Diamond Empire

The Diamond Empire

1994, Economics  -   32 Comments
Ratings: 9.14/10 from 147 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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32 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Anonym

    Nice video...looks like someone set up an old video camera in front of the TV. Buzzing noise on audio playback too distracting. Another TDF flop....

  2. DustUp

    @Truffi: I see your propagandists have you. Even Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. realized later on that skin color doesn't matter when it comes to the evil or advantage takers. If you want to improve the world, ALL the good folks have to be included and ALL the bad folks have to be contained, until they realize good is better than bad.

    It is the propagandists that desire for you to think as you do; to keep us fighting among our selves while the evil elite of all colors and levels get away with what they do.

    Regarding Capitalism and free market competition: Corporatism is NOT Capitalism. Corporations were a weasel attorney evolution of making a legal fictional wall evil people can hide behind. Nor is Corruption capitalism. True Capitalism is merely the ability to freely trade among ourselves without the interference of anyone, especially govt.

    Socialism-Communism-Progressive or Collectivism is inherently Corrupt because it FORCES inherently corrupt people in between my trading with you. Under central planning I cannot compete with their friends. All the silly rules and regulations are designed to drive the small biz out of biz. That is why the major corporations favor socialism and pay to propagandize as many as they can towards socialism-communism.

    If you think capitalism is so bad, why not talk to those who escaped socialism and communism to find opportunity with capitalism? If you don't like capitalism, MOVE to where those people came from. You are free to go. Please go. It is the incremental socialism-communism that IS the root cause behind the corruption and the problems in govt.

    The old Standard Oil was not a "free market" problem. Govt is the only entity which Rockefeller could buy to allow all that to happen. Rockefeller funded the anti Alcohol ladies group to get alcohol banned by congress or he never would have gained such a foothold. How did the alcohol ban pass congress? The same way so many things do: Bribes and/or campaign funding. Corruption is the fault of the voter not seeing to it the right people are in place. Expecting someone else to do that for you gets you what you got. However, we CAN vote them out. In a Socialist or Communist or other Collective system, they are so power hungry, they cannot bear to lose power and will not allow a capitalist to run and get rid of them. We are seeing this play out now with Trump vs. the Progressives of both parties. Clearly they don't care about the law, right or wrong, just their power.

    If you need any govt to keep you in line and fearful of getting in trouble for doing wrong things, then you are the problem. Just how many would take advantage of others if there were no consequences? We see what the barbarian old world muslims do when the police are told to do nothing. Rape and pillage and consider themselves justified. Yet they would consider it death worthy if I did it to their family. Brilliant propagandized mentality that one is. We see what the African warlords do to their own. We see what the western elites do to their own. Except they don't consider the non elites "their own". They consider you as cattle or sheep. Until you put them in a cage, you will be in their target sights. Not just the white elites, the upper level minions such as Obama have the same mentality while committing many a crime towards us and of course while telling you they care. And you believe it is the sad part.

    Here is a suggestion to all those who complain about a company they work for or know of: Start your own. Much easier to point fingers at others than at the mirror. Unions have been doing it for many decades; when they could have joined forces and competed. No they found it easier and less risky to shout, destroy, hurt, and corrupt.

    The comments have bogus excuses. Only 3 companies rule the food markets... The owner's son does nothing and gets paid a lot, ...blah blah blah. Yet no doubt they still use the stores which use those 3 companies. Guaranteed there are independent stores which don't. For that matter I can buy anything I need direct from those who grow it fresher and better than the commercial crap. And if you had a company and a son what exactly would you do? Kick your son to the gutter and pay some snot you don't care about a lot just because he thinks he is worth a lot even though he can be replaced tomorrow? That is the point of the free market, if you can do it better, why don't you?

    If you think diamonds are a scam, which I always did since you can't eat them, then DON'T BUY THEM! I have never purchased one unless a saw blade had some industrial diamond. When no one buys, the price will drop. If the woman you choose requires a diamond, maybe you ought to look for a different woman. Maybe one that understands reality better.

    Know I will get the shaft for this truth: You can show this docu to a number of women and plenty would still want a diamond on their ring. That is the power of propaganda and selfishness. And for some reason animals like shiny stuff. Fish get drawn to lures, bugs to light, however, people have a choice if they stopped long enough to consider such choices.

    1. Daniel Friesen

      Well said. Key points: folks like shiny stuff. Like crows, for one. Secondly, there is a glut
      of diamonds on the planet. Some of the highest quality are now being 'harvested' in northern Canada. So what. There are a lot of women on this planet who would rather
      have a relationship they could trust, and had integrity..but hey, I suppose the diamond is
      backup. Cutting tools with diamond-encrusted blades are in fact, far more useful. I'll
      shut up now. You said it best. Instead of acquiring actual wisdom, as a species we instead
      pursue shiny baubles, and kill each other for something there is no lack of on this planet.
      Hey, who cares about clean water, when you can sport a spiffin' rock a crow would peck
      your eyes out for? Deep thots. .. Thank you again for your comments, just reminded me
      again why there is zero need for me to watch another show about diamonds. I just don't
      give a rat's ass about that game. The irony is , there is a glut of diamonds on this little
      planet, and folks act like they actually have value. It has been noted that cats are the
      second most delusional species here. Guess which species is #1

  3. Truffi

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

    1. Hugo

      They have an advantage obviously - smarter.

  4. 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.

  5. pedro


  6. 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.

    1. Hugo

      Of course there are no African politicians and tribal leaders making money out of this. Like pets they are all innocent.

  7. Jarrod Armstrong

    the jews are at it as usual

    1. ninzaginza

      racist prick

  8. Prabhu Ram

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

  9. Al Candelaria

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

  10. iedm

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

  11. dallas

    Who directed this?

  12. 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.

    1. 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

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. rgris

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

  13. Joey

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

    1. Morgan Andresen

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

    2. 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

    3. iPhi

      Nukka.. you don't have any money.

  14. 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).

  15. jj

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

  16. fk

    ask ur parents

  17. 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?