Are Diamond Buyers ‘Scared’ of De Beers’ power?

New York: Diamond buyers are allegedly “scared stiff” of De Beers’ power as prices the company demands for rough stones were beyond their reach.

Bloomberg quoted Diamonds, Precious Stones and Jewelry Administration director Shmuel Mordechai as saying the money that buyers get for cut gems was failing to keep up with what De Beers was asking. “It (De Beers) dictates the prices. It dictates the market,” he said.

Mordechai said that although De Beers was not a monopoly, its market influence meant prices were “not realistic.”

De Beers supplied about 37 percent of the world’s rough diamonds a year, offering gems to a chosen group of the so-called sightholders who risk losing the privilege of taking part in future sales if they walk away, Bloomberg reports. “Its sightholders, there are around 80, are scared stiff of it,” said Mordechai.

“Some of the sightholders this year dared to say, ‘I may have to give up the sight. I don’t want it anymore. I’m sick of this’.”

However, De Beers spokesperson Lynette Gould was quoted as saying that the group keeps prices under constant review and believes they are right.