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From the first discovery in 1869 by a native boy in South Africa to the recent discovery in 1999 by three small-scale miners in Brazil, a fascinating foray into the enigmatic, beautiful, and obsessive world of the diamond traces the history of the much-sought-after jewel, revealing the true nature of the diamond trade and profiling the many individuals responsible for the largest diamond finds. Reprint.
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Matthew Hart is a correspondent for the New York trade magazine, Rapaport Diamond Report, as well as the magazine's former mining editor. His articles on diamonds have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, W, and The Financial Post.From Booklist:
*Starred Review* Hart's fascinating account of the glittering business of mining and marketing diamonds is also a story of avarice, theft, aesthetics, monopoly, and war. Hart takes readers to the Amazon Basin, Botswana, Namibia, and the Canadian Arctic, where diamonds are mined, and then explains the all-important marketing mechanisms of the De Beers cartel. Hart describes how the power of De Beers has been eroded by the rise of Bombay as a marketing center, but De Beers is still the biggest player and its story the backbone of this work. Named for Boer farmers on whose land the great South African diamond strike began in the 1870s, De Beers was the outcome of buccaneering imperial-capitalists who knew that an uncontrolled supply would lower prices and ruin business. And Hart, with colorful descriptions of people and places, relates how the De Beers cartel has, with various successes and failures along the way, attempted to control the discovery of new diamond fields. Warlords in Sierra Leone and Angola thrive on rough diamonds, and thieves prey on them. Pilferage, according to Hart, adds up to hundreds of millions per year. So the story of the diamond business is rife with history, price-fixing, prospecting, and warfare. A consistently entrancing account. Gilbert Taylor
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