Quick and Easy Buying Guide

Carat weight: 1 carat = 200 milligrams = 6.5 mm diameter. Doubling weight doesn't double diameter.

Diamond clarity: FL/IF/VVS/VS = super expensive, near perfect. SI = best value if you can check a photo for obvious inclusions (defects).


Color: D-G = colorless, expensive, only if you have money to burn. H-J = best value. Can go lower in gold metal settings than white metal.

Cut: Better cut ratings let more light into a diamond, making it sparkle more. Very important property, don't skimp here.

Set a budget and minimum cut (Premium). Go J color for gold and I/H for white metals. Go searching for SI1/SI2 clarity diamonds at James Allen. Pick a diamond with small/no inclusions. Choose a ring setting and buy it risk-free (60-day returns).

De Beers Diamond Company

De Beer is a truly huge company involved in every aspect of the diamond industry. They do diamond mining, trading and manufacturing. Their mining activities for diamonds are quite broad and include underground, open-pit, coastal, deep sea and alluvial mining. Most of this mining takes places in a few primary countries - Canada, South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

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The company was founded by the famous Cecil Rhodes in the later part of the 19th century. After initially providing supporting services to miners in Africa, Rhodes started a company in 1888 and negotiated deals with purchasing houses in London. By the time Rhodes died in 1902, the De Beers company controlled 90% of diamond production in the entire world.

De Beers has somewhat of a negative history of conducing monopolistic practices to maintain an advantage over potential competitors. They have at various stages either saturated the diamond market with diamonds offered by their competitors, or at the opposite end of the spectrum stockpiled diamonds in order to affect prices through supply control.

Much of this anti-competitive practice has been changed over the last couple of decades due to increasing pressure and the realities of trading in the modern world. Now De Beers has approximately half the market share that it used to (now roughly 40%) and is still a very profitable company. De Beers has also had a bad history of buying conflict diamonds up until 2000, at which time the United Nations pressured De Beers into cleaning up their purchasing process. The "Kimberley Process Certification Scheme" is now used to ensure that De Beers diamonds are 100% conflict free.

Distribution of diamonds

De Beers employs technicians in London, Kimberley and other locations to sort diamonds into categories. These categorized diamonds are then shown to a large number (a little under 100) "Sightholder" companies. These Sightholder companies buy the diamonds from the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) arm of De Beers.


De Beers has done some famous marketing of diamonds over the last century, including coining such phrases as "A Diamond is Forever". This particular phrase was first said in 1947 and has been so popular that it is still widely known and said today.

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