Blood Diamond Research

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Hendina Riyadi
Blood Diamond Research

For thousands of years, diamonds have been highly regarded by everyone from kings and queens to ordinary people. Diamonds are a symbol for wealth, elegance, love, and power. Centuries ago, they were also a symbol of courage, invincibility and strength. What is less commonly known is that these stones are also a symbol of terror and death. Conflicts arise from the mining of these gems; many people have died and many are perhaps still dying because of the mining of these precious stones.

The Discovery of Diamonds
Although the exact date in unclear, the first diamond discovery in Africa was sometime between late 1866 and early 1867. The discovery of these precious stones began when a 15-year old farm boy by the name of Stephanus Erasmus Jacobs found a sparkling white pebble on the grounds of the De Kalk farm along the southeastern part of the Orange River, an area formerly known as the Cape Colony. Jacobs gave the pebble to his friend, Schalk van Niekirk who later gave it to a travelling trader named John O'Reilly. The stone was passed from hand to hand after that. It was later discovered that the pebble was not merely a stone but a "Eureka" diamond. In 1867, the diamond was displayed at the Paris Exhibition.

The Diamond Rush to Africa
In 1869, approximately two years after the discovery of the "Eureka" diamond, another brilliant white diamond was found near the banks of the Orange River. This time, the diamond was found on the farm of the De Beers brothers: Joahannes and Diederik. Niekirk bought the diamond from the person who found it and sold it to the Lilienfeld brothers, who later sold it to the Earl of Dudley. This diamond was named the "Star of Africa". The discovery of the "Star of Africa" sparked the beginning of the diamond rush to Africa.

De Beers Group and the Diamond Mines
The De Beers farmland were turned into diamond mines. It has at least two diamond mines, namely, the Premier and Kimberly mines. There were too many diamond seekers trying to find diamonds in their land and eventually, the De Beers brothers were not able to handle the stress of constantly protecting their land from the great number of diamond seekers. They sold their land to Cecile Rhodes, who later merged diamond mines as one corporation called the De Beers Consolidated Mines. There were other diamond mining companies but the De Beers Group was the biggest. The Diamond Monopoly

The biggest share of diamond mining was controlled by the De Beers Group. Its chairman, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, initiated a single-channel marketing campaign. To keep the value of the diamonds at a high level and to keep the stability of the diamond trade, they controlled the stone's availability. The company was said to have been involved in shady dealings such as price fixing. They also managed to have a stranglehold on the diamond supply and production. They were known to be ruthless to their competitors, stomping out any competition that came their way. They prevented the rise of competition by convincing people that diamonds are most precious when left untouched by others. The company launched a marketing campaign which helped prevent the rise of secondary markets for diamonds. The rarity of the diamonds made the gems more precious and in demand. And with the high demand for these precious stones came terror and death to people working in the diamond mines.

A Diamond is Forever
In the 1930s, the Depression rocked many countries of the globe. This situation affected the diamond market greatly, causing sales to plummet dramatically. The 1940s did not bring much improvement in the diamond market while World War II was raging. To improve the sale of diamonds, the De Beers Group launched a marketing campaign bearing the slogan "A Diamond is Forever." This was meant to entice women to buy diamonds and keep the stones with them forever. The marketing campaign was a success and, subsequently, the De Beers Group was...
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