Touted as the « invisible hand » of the diamond industry, De Beers is one of the very few companies in history that was successful in monopolizing an industry for more than 100 years. Its involvement in various controversial issues, and its legal proceedings by the early 2000s diminished its market share, and yet it held the top position in the industry. However, the Oppenheimer family, the mastermind behind De Beers’ success quit and gave up the ownership to Anglo American Corporation by 2011. At the same time, competition was getting fiercer and keeping in tab with the fall in the demand in the commodities market, the market for rough diamonds was also slowly diminishing.
De Beers now had to change its strategy to match the current market, roll out new marketing campaigns and regain its lost share of the market.
The case discusses (a) the changing landscape of the diamond industry (b) the restructuring of the once monopolistic diamond business (c) moving from creating controlling the value chain through demand-supply gap to that of retail strategy (d) shifting of focus to emerging markets such as China, India and the Gulf countries (e) rise of players from emerging markets such as India that control part of the value-chain.
SOM, A. (2016). De Beers: Aren’t Diamonds Forever? ESSEC Business School.