Diamond History


Early days of Diamonds



In the 1900 loose diamonds used to be found in riverbeds in India and Brazil until, two brothers D.A. and J. N. De Beer sold their farm to Diamond seekers. The farm was located in Kimberley a city in South Africa.

The brothers Boer war settlers were only interested in farming and simply moved on.

A little time after that in 1870 Cecil John Rhodes and his brother Herbert set off to the diamond fields, with a shovel and some other mining items. What they found was the diamond rush some 30,000 to 50,000 people digging and mining there plots and living in tents.

After a while Rhodes realised that his money wasn't going to be made in mining diamonds as he and his brothers didn’t find enough to satisfy his grand desires.

By this time thousands of diamond hunters were arriving at the site so he turned his attention to importing ice crème for the other miners then to water which he sold to thirsty diamond diggers.

Around this time Cecil realised that water was his way to get rich, but not in selling it. He worked out that as the mines got bigger and deeper they would need water pumps to pump out the water from the mines. So Cecil got to work and invested his money in a water pump the only one in the country. Then he started importing steam pumps from England and soon found that he had the monopoly on pumps in all of Kimberly.

Cecil got to work driving up the hire prices for his pumps and found that as he increased his charges the mine owners couldn’t afford to pay him and instead have him shares in there mines. By the age of 29 he was the largest mine owner.

He later merged his mines with two mining syndicates and formed the De Beers mining company named after the brothers who owned the farm. He held the controlling stake in the company.

As the mimes kept turning out tons and tons of diamonds, the price started to fluctuate and soon the prices began to drop, Cecil stated to buy up the mines as they were willing to cut there loses with some form of payment rather than loose it all. So the De Beers Company started to take over all the other mines. However one mine owner who wouldn’t sell to Cecil was Barney Barnato.

After both Cecil and Barnato tried to out manoeuvre each other, they formed a pact and together with some other shareholders formed Kimberley Central mine. After some board and shareholder issues they both liquated the company and De Beers bought it for over 5 million pounds which was framed and hung in the board room of De Beers.

By 1905 both Cecil and Barnato died.


Ernest Oppenheimer



Cleverly Ernest Oppenheimer bought up property that De Beers needed to maintain its control on the Diamond industry. Using his wealth from gold mining and his knowledge of the diamond industry he started buying mines in Namibia which De Beers needed and created a company called Consolidated Diamond Mines.

He then offered his company to De Beers in for a substantial number of shares in De Beers and every opportunity he had he bought up more De Beers stock.

By 1929 he had become a major diamond force. But the worldwide depression lead to a grave problem and Ernest moved to take control of De Beers and called the new company in the London Diamond Trading Company.


Industrial Diamond Industry



With the worldwide depression in full swing he found it difficult to sell his stock of diamonds and Ernest was in trouble.

He was saved from going broke and losing his company when in the 1932 Krupp Company in Germany developed tungsten carbide, which was much stronger than steal, for manufacture. But the carbide dies needed to be shaped and Diamonds were strong enough for grinding the carbide dies in to shape.

This was the start of the Industrial Diamond Industry. Oppenheimer found that he could crush diamonds and supply the powder for supplying the automotive aircraft, ship and machine tool industry.


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