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1990: Diamond Market Competition Is Waiting For Diamond Trade Reaction

November 1999

Has the European community suddenly discovered De Beers is a monopoly?

Apparently, since De Beers Chairman Nicky Oppenheimer told the Financial Times he is worried that the European Union will stop its plans to market branded stones on anti-trust grounds. The stones have been sold in England since last year.

“There’s a very good chance that the common market might say that this is an abuse of your dominant position, because you’re doing something for your sightholders which is not done or the world at large,” Oppenheimer said. “So there are legal issues with this, which we are busy struggling with. I’m quite certain that we’ll come to an understanding.”

De Beers has not yet talked with E.U. officials about the issue.

A Commission official said competition issues concerning the diamond market have arisen, but it was not investigating the company, as has been rumored.

De Beers also announced it won’t decide whether to go ahead with “branding” until the year 2000, Professional Jeweler says. The company is still gauging retailer and trade reaction.

But De Beers does say that the regular “branded” stones have gotten a 10% to 20% premiums. The De Beers Millennium stones have premiums of about 50% above the regular goods.

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