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Diamond Sale Message by De Beers at New Year Represents Expansion of Industry

2002: Diamond Sale Message by De Beers Highlights De Beers Recovery

Jan. 2002

Nicky Oppenheimer, the chairman, and now part-owner, of De Beers, in his annual New Year’s message to the diamond industry called 2001 a "testing year for all of us." Here are excerpts of his comments:

"After the heady birth of the new Millennium when the industry enjoyed a record year and polished exports from the cutting centers rose by 18 percent, the past year has served as a salutary reminder that economies which expand can also contract — before they expand again ...

"The cycles may be so long that each phase can persuade us that it is here to stay, or may be as brief and hectic as a roller-coaster ride. Long or short, these fluctuations produce both pain and prosperity in equal measure. Certainly, the bursting of the dot-com bubble in America, followed by the dreadful events of Sept. 11, have produced aftershocks around the world to which the diamond trade has not been immune ...

"Market reports from America in the last three months of the year suggest that, although consumers are cutting back in luxury purchases, diamonds — especially those pieces that celebrate love and commitment — are not seen as a luxury. As people turn to each other in difficult times, so they continue to turn to diamonds to symbolize their partnership …

"The specter of ‘conflict diamonds,’ with its obscene link between the brutality of war and the ultimate symbol of love has hung over the industry since the end of 1998. In November this year the Kimberley Process, mandated by the United Nations to deal with the problem, ended in an historic agreement which should banish that specter forever … The industry has achieved — and deserved — the surprised plaudits of many it would not three years ago have regarded as friends or allies and who are today promoting the partnership of the Kimberley Process as an example to other industries."

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