i used to listen to the ipod on the way to work in the morning but i need to keep track of the traffic so i’ve taken to listening to the radio. this has subjected me to all manner of commercials but the ones that got me thinking are the jewellery stores. and that got me thinking about diamonds.

call me cheap, but i find the thought of paying the equivalent of three months’ salary on a rock more than a little ridiculous. actually the whole concept is kind of ridiculous, especially when you consider that most couples that get caught up in the hype are just starting off their lives together and of all the things they could spend that amount of money on is an over-inflated rock. pause for a moment and ponder on this –  40% of the world’s diamond production is controlled by de beers and approximately 50% of all rough diamonds in the world are processed though dtc ( a de beers subsidiary). so either through production or distribution de beers controls most of the diamonds that make to the retail environment, no matter who you’re buying from.

let’s take a brief look at the history of de beers. the company was founded in 1888 by cecil rhodes and if there was ever a man that turned a profit on the backs of others it was cecil john rhodes. he was an ardent believer in colonialism and before the ayran nation was but a glint in adolf’s eyes purported the superiority of the anglo-saxon race. he made his fortune by controlling south africa’s natural resources through his implementation of african forced labor. currently de beers owns 70% of the diamond mines in africa either outright or with partnerships with various african governments.

a few years ago i was in an airport reading a copy of wired about a company that manufactured synthetic diamonds and how freaked out the industry was by it. the basic premise is that a company in florida can produce what looks like a $10 – $15k yellow diamond for a few hundred dollars that’s good enough to pass muster with a diamond dealer in antwerp. the very concept has the diamond industry in a tizzy, so much so that the dtc has developed a special screen machine. interestingly there is a company called lifegem, that creates high quality diamonds from the carbon of your loved ones. now there’s a thought, when you that family heirloom on her finger it could actually be family. i find that concept a lot less distasteful.

remember items only have value based on demand and availability.

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