The Diamond Empire

Title The Diamond Empire
Director(s) Gavin MacFadyen
Date   released (year) 1994
Production   company Laurie Flynn
Length 102 mins
Location Africa
Keywords/tags Diamonds, colonialism, mining, natural   resources
Link to   film
Synopsis How an advertising slogan invented by Madison Avenue executives in 1948   has come to define our most intimate rituals and ideals around courtship and   marriage is the subject of this devastating documentary. THE DIAMOND EMPIRE,   which sent shockwaves through the world diamond industry when it first   appeared, systematically takes apart the myth that “diamonds are   forever,” exposing how one white South African family, through a process   of monopoly and fantasy, managed to exert control over the global flow of   diamonds and shape the very way we think about romance and love is an   achievement all the more stunning given that diamonds are in fact neither a   scarce nor indestructible commodity. Zeroing in on how “the diamond   empire” managed to convert something valueless into one of the most   coveted commodities in history, the film provides a riveting look at how   marketing and consumer culture not only influence global trade and economics,   but also burrow down into the very core of our identities. Most of the major   diamond producers belong to, or have cooperated with, the De Beers led   marketing cartel, formed to maintain the price of diamonds at a high level.   De Beers, under Harry Oppenheimer’s leadership, maintained its dominant   position in the industry by using its numerous worldwide companies to buy up   new sources of diamonds and to control distribution of industrial diamonds   and production of synthetic ones. In the last decades of the 20th cent.,   however, De Beers’ hold over the unpolished diamond market decreased, and in   2000 the company announced it would end to its policy of controlling diamond   prices through hoarding and shift its focus to increasing sales.


Reviews/discussion “In all my years of teaching,   this is the single most important video I have ever shown. No film has proven   as successful in showing students how a major part of their identities has   been constructed by a corporate, commercial culture. This movie changes the   way we see the world.”
– Sut Jhally | Department of Communications | UMass AmherstSource:
Links to   other resources
Madihlaba, T.   The Fox in the Henhouse: the environmental impact of diamond mining on   communities in South Africa. In McDonald, D. (ed.) Environmental Justice in South Africa,   University of Cape Town Press, CT, pp.156-167Diamond Mining and the Environment Factsheet:

The Greener Diamond:

Zimbabwe diamond circuit:

Blood diamond” regulation system broken   – but where to look for blame? By Khadija Sharife and Nick Meynen,