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For decades, De Beers has been the preeminent name in diamonds.
Thanks to a stockpile of the world's rough diamond supply, indelible marketing schemes and even negotiations with foreign governments for their diamonds, De Beers — owned by the Oppenheimer family since the 1920s — has been the most important name in one of the world's most lucrative businesses for almost a century.
But with recent news of the Oppenheimers selling out to fellow mining company Anglo American, it's time to look back at the billion dollar rise and fall of a monopoly that has crushed competitors and cash-strapped governments since the 1800s.
Diamonds became a symbol of love thanks to De Beers, which is fitting, since De Beers became what it is today because of a love story: the love of money.
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