THE DIAMOND WORLD by David Koskoff


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If you've already acquired Timothy Green's The World of Diamonds (p. 263), you have nothing to gain from this latest report on De Beers and other elements of the far-flung, suddenly ubiquitous diamond trade. Koskoff perhaps got around more, and conducted more interviews, but essentially the story is the same: De Beers' control over nearly 80 percent of the total supply of uncut stones (including a healthy proportion from captive sources); its land-office business, notwithstanding its South-African base, with dozens of black-ruled states, plus nations as ideologically alien as India and the USSR. It's in the interest of all to cooperate with the ""Syndicate,"" Koskoff observes, since scarcity values are minimal: GE can synthesize perfectly good industrial stones at a reasonable price, and the globe abounds with untapped fields (including a prospective Golconda in northern Australia). As a practical matter, he maintains, diamonds are neither stores of value (on a par with, say, precious metals) nor particularly effective hedges against inflation. Serious matters aside, he offers some dandy yarns--about smuggling in Zaire, income-tax evasion on New York's 47th Street, the bribing of Nazi border guards during World War II. Industry greats, celebrated and obscure, are profiled too: you'll be especially taken with Jamil, an engaging Afro-Lebanese who's apparently the man to see in Sierra Leone. So it's a more-than-adequate job--but with no substantive edge on Green's (and somewhat less style).

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1981
Publisher: Harper & Row