A Frontline show from ten years ago about one of the biggest scams of all time.
EDWARD EPSTEIN, Author, “The Rise and Fall of Diamonds”: Well, what I learned was that the diamond business wasn’t a business of extracting, as I originally expected, something of enormous value and then simply seeing how much of this object you could get out of the ground and selling it. That was what the business appeared to be when I started my venture. But their real business was restricting what came out of the ground, restricting what was discovered, restricting what got cut, restricting what actually found its way into the retail market and, at the same time, through movies, through advertising, through Hollywood, through the manipulation of perceptions, creating the idea that there was this enormous demand for these shiny little objects that they seemed to have in abundant supply. So I wound up on this voyage of discovery starting off with the idea that there was this object of great value, and it was just a question of how many could you get out, and I wound up discovering it was just the opposite.
NARRATOR: This is the story of how that grand illusion was created, and the story of how one family gained control of the world’s diamond trade and for nearly a century has maintained its hold on an empire that defines the very idea of what diamonds really are.
The Atlantic had a great article about DeBeers and diamonds several years back.