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De Beers And The Diamond Industry

Decent Essays
The De Beers Group of Companies established itself in the diamond industry in the late 1800’s and it was only a matter of time until De Beers owned virtually every diamond mine in South Africa. Diamond distributors joined up with De Beers because of similar interests: they wanted to create a scarcity of diamonds, so that high prices would follow. Eventually, De Beers would establish exclusive contracts with suppliers and buyers, making it impossible to deal with diamonds outside of De Beers. For the remainder of the 20th century, the business model was the same: A subsidiary of De Beers would buy the diamonds and De Beers would determine the amount of diamonds they wanted to sell, and at what prices. In turn, De Beers funneled all of the…show more content…
However, there is an incentive for them to work together, as they would be able to maximize their profits across the industry rather than competing amongst one another. This way, a cartel can be established to fix selling prices, purchase prices, and reduce production using a variety of tactics.

In the case of when De Beers was the sole producer of diamonds in the market, they were the gold standard of monopolies for the better half of the 20th century. Essentially, De Beers could choose to produce at any point on the market demand curve. They found it to be profitable to drive others out of the industry by purchasing competitor’s production of diamonds. The company exercised its control of the industry, establishing barriers to entry, by convincing competitors to join its single channel monopoly. When rivals opted to try and coexist with De Beers, they flooded the market with diamonds to make it unprofitable for the competition to remain. Additionally, De beers would purchase and stockpile diamonds produced by subsidiaries to control prices by limiting supply.

While other commodities have seen their price fluctuate over the years, De Beers was able to establish a continuously rising price for diamonds since the Great Depression. Throughout the 20th century, De beers used their dominant position to manipulate the diamond market. They maximized the price consumers were willing to pay through strategic marketing that suggested
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