De Beers Group is an international corporation that specialises in diamond exploration, diamond mining, diamond retail, diamond trading and industrial diamond manufacturing sectors. The company is active in open-pit, large-scale alluvial and deep sea mining, it operates in 35 countries and mining takes place in Botswana, South Africa and Canada. Until the start of the 21st century, De Beers had total control over the diamond market as a monopoly. Competition has since dismantled the complete monopoly, though the De Beers Group still sells 35% of the world's rough diamond production through its global sightholder and auction sales businesses; the company was founded in 1888 by British businessman Cecil Rhodes, financed by the South African diamond magnate Alfred Beit and the London-based N M Rothschild & Sons bank. In 1926, Ernest Oppenheimer, an immigrant to Britain and South Africa who had earlier founded mining company Anglo American plc with American financier J. P. Morgan, was elected to the board of De Beers.
He built and consolidated the company's global monopoly over the diamond industry until his death in 1957. During this time, he was involved in a number of controversies, including price fixing and trust behaviour, was accused of not releasing industrial diamonds for the U. S. war effort during World War II. In 2011, Anglo American took control of De Beers after buying the Oppenheimer's family stake of 40 percent for US$5.1 billion and increasing its stake to 85 percent, ending the 80-year Oppenheimer control of the company. In 2018, De Beers became the first diamond company to announce that it would track its diamonds using blockchain technology, though this technology has not yet been rolled out; the name'De Beers' was derived from the two Dutch settlers and brothers Diederik Arnoldus De Beer and Johannes Nicolaas De Beer, who owned a South African farm named Vooruitzicht near Zandfontein in the Boshof District of Orange Free State. After they discovered diamonds on their land, the increasing demands of the British government forced them to sell their farm on July 31, 1871, to merchant Alfred Johnson Ebden for £6,600.
Vooruitzicht would become the site of the Big Hole and the De Beers mine, two successful diamond mines. Their name, given to one of the mines, subsequently became associated with the company. Cecil Rhodes, the founder of the British South Africa Company, got his start by renting water pumps to miners during the diamond rush that started in 1869, when an 83.5 carat diamond called the'Star of South Africa' was found at Hopetown near the Orange River in South Africa. He invested the profits of this operation into buying up claims of small mining operators, with his operations soon expanding into a separate mining company, he soon secured funding from the Rothschild family. De Beers Consolidated Mines was formed in 1888 by the merger of the companies of Barney Barnato and Cecil Rhodes, by which time the company was the sole owner of all diamond mining operations in the country. In 1889, Rhodes negotiated a strategic agreement with the London-based Diamond Syndicate, which agreed to purchase a fixed quantity of diamonds at an agreed price, thereby regulating output and maintaining prices.
The agreement soon proved to be successful — for example, during the trade slump of 1891–1892, supply was curtailed to maintain the price. Rhodes was concerned about the break-up of the new monopoly, stating to shareholders in 1896 that the company's "only risk is the sudden discovery of new mines, which human nature will work recklessly to the detriment of us all"; the Second Boer War proved to be a challenging time for the company. Kimberley was besieged as soon. Rhodes moved into the city at the onset of the siege in order to put political pressure on the British government to divert military resources towards relieving the siege rather than more strategic war objectives. Despite being at odds with the military, Rhodes placed the full resources of the company at the disposal of the defenders, manufacturing shells, defences, an armoured train and a gun named Long Cecil in the company workshops. In 1898, diamonds were discovered on farms near Transvaal. One led to the discovery of the Premier Mine.
The Premier Mine was registered in 1902 and the Cullinan Diamond, the largest rough diamond discovered, was found there in 1905. However, its owner refused to join the De Beers cartel. Instead, the mine started selling to a pair of independent dealers named Bernhard and Ernest Oppenheimer, thereby weakening the De Beers stronghold. Francis Oats, who became Chairman of De Beers in 1908, was dismissive of the threats from the Premier mine and the finds in German South West Africa. However, production soon equalled all of the De Beers mines combined. Ernest Oppenheimer was appointed the local agent for the powerful London Syndicate, rising to the position of mayor of Kimberley within 10 years, he understood the core principle that underpinned De Beers' success, stating in 1910 that "common sense tells us that the only way to increase the value of diamonds is to make them scarce, to reduce production". During World War I, the Premier mine was absorbed into De Beers; when Rhodes died in 1902, De Beers controlled 90% of the world's diamond production.
Ernest Oppenheimer took over the chairmanship of the company in 1929, after buying shares and being appointed to the board in 1926. Oppenheimer was concerned about the discovery of diamonds in 1908 in German South West Africa, fearing that
A diamond cut is a style or design guide used when shaping a diamond for polishing such as the brilliant cut. Cut does not refer to shape, but the symmetry and polish of a diamond; the cut of a diamond affects a diamond's brilliance. In order to best use a diamond gemstone's material properties, a number of different diamond cuts have been developed. A diamond cut constitutes a more or less symmetrical arrangement of facets, which together modify the shape and appearance of a diamond crystal. Diamond cutters must consider several factors, such as the shape and size of the crystal, when choosing a cut; the practical history of diamond cuts can be traced back to the Middle Ages, while their theoretical basis was not developed until the turn of the 20th century. Design creation and innovation continue to the present day: new technology—notably laser cutting and computer-aided design—has enabled the development of cuts whose complexity, optical performance, waste reduction were hitherto unthinkable.
The most popular of diamond cuts is the modern round brilliant, whose facet arrangements and proportions have been perfected by both mathematical and empirical analysis. Popular are the fancy cuts, which come in a variety of shapes, many of which were derived from the round brilliant. A diamond's cut is evaluated by trained graders, with higher grades given to stones whose symmetry and proportions most match the particular "ideal" used as a benchmark; the strictest standards are applied to the round brilliant. Different countries base their cut grading on different ideals: one may speak of the American Standard or the Scandinavian Standard, to give but two examples; the history of diamond cuts can be traced to the late Middle Ages, before which time diamonds were employed in their natural octahedral state—anhedral diamonds were not used in jewelry. The first "improvements" on nature's design involved a simple polishing of the octahedral crystal faces to create and unblemished facets, or to fashion the desired octahedral shape out of an otherwise unappealing piece of rough.
This was called the point cut and dates from the mid 14th century. By the mid 15th century, the point cut began to be improved upon: a little less than one half of the octahedron would be sawn off, creating the table cut; the importance of a culet was realised, some table-cut stones may possess one. The addition of four corner facets created the old single cut. Neither of these early cuts would reveal. At the time, diamond was valued chiefly for its adamantine superlative hardness. For this reason, colored gemstones such as ruby and sapphire were far more popular in jewelry of the era. In or around 1476, Lodewyk van Berquem, a Flemish polisher of Bruges, introduced the technique of absolute symmetry in the disposition of facets using a device of his own invention, the scaif, he cut stones in the shape known as briolette. About the middle of the 16th century, the rose or rosette was introduced in Antwerp: it consisted of triangular facets arranged in a symmetrical radiating pattern, but with the bottom of the stone left flat—essentially a crown without a pavilion.
Many large, famous Indian diamonds of old feature a rose-like cut. However, Indian "rose cuts" were far less symmetrical as their cutters had the primary interest of conserving carat weight, due to the divine status of diamond in India. In either event, the rose cut continued to evolve, with its depth and arrangements of facets being tweaked; the first brilliant cuts were introduced in the middle of the 17th century. Known as Mazarins, they had 17 facets on the crown, they are called double-cut brilliants as they are seen as a step up from old single cuts. Vincent Peruzzi, a Venetian polisher increased the number of crown facets from 17 to 33, thereby increasing the fire and brilliance of the cut gem, properties that in the Mazarin were incomparably better than in the rose, yet Peruzzi-cut diamonds, when seen nowadays, seem exceedingly dull compared to modern-cut brilliants. Because the practice of bruting had not yet been developed, these early brilliants were all rounded squares or rectangles in cross-section.
Given the general name of cushion—what are known today as old mine cuts—these were common by the early 18th century. Sometime the old European cut was developed, which had a shallower pavilion, more rounded shape, different arrangement of facets; the old European cut was the forerunner of modern brilliants and was the most advanced in use during the 19th century. Around 1900, the development of diamond saws and good jewelry lathes enabled the development of modern diamond cutting and diamond cuts, chief among them the round brilliant cut. In 1919, Marcel Tolkowsky analyzed this cut: his calculations took both brilliance and fire into consideration, creating a delicate balance between the two. Tolkowsky's calculations would serve as the basis for all future brilliant cut modifications and standards. Tolkowsky's model of the "ideal" cut is not perfect; the original mo
The Millennium Dome referred to as The Dome, is the original name of a large dome-shaped building used to house the Millennium Experience, a major exhibition celebrating the beginning of the third millennium. It is the ninth largest building in the world by usable volume. Located on the Greenwich Peninsula in South East London, the exhibition was open to the public from 1 January to 31 December 2000; the project and exhibition was political and in spite of excellent customer feedback attracted half the 12 million customers its sponsors forecast, so was deemed a failure by the press. All the original exhibition elements were dismantled. In a 2005 report, the cost of selling the Dome and surrounding land and managing the Dome until the deal was closed was £28.7 million. The value of the 48 acres occupied by the Dome was estimated at £48 million, which could have been realised by demolishing the structure, but it was considered preferable to preserve the Dome; the structure itself still exists, it is now a key exterior feature of The O2.
The Prime Meridian passes the western edge of the Dome and the nearest London Underground station is North Greenwich on the Jubilee line. The dome is one of the largest of its type in the world. Externally, it appears as a large white marquee with twelve 100 m-high yellow support towers, one for each month of the year, or each hour of the clock face, representing the role played by Greenwich Mean Time. In plan view it is 365 m in diameter, it has become one of the United Kingdom's most recognizable landmarks. It can be identified on satellite images of London, its exterior is reminiscent of the Dome of Discovery built for the Festival of Britain in 1951. The architect was Richard Rogers and the contractor was a joint venture company, McAlpine/Laing Joint Venture formed between Sir Robert McAlpine and Laing Management; the building structure was engineered by Buro Happold, the entire roof structure weighs less than the air contained within the building. Although referred to as a dome it is not one as it is not self-supporting, but is, in fact, a giant Big Top, the canopy being supported by a dome-shaped cable network, from twelve king posts.
For this reason, it has been disparagingly referred to as the Millennium Tent. The twelve posts represent the twelve months of the year, another reference to time in its dimensions, alongside its height and diameter; the canopy is made of PTFE-coated glass fibre fabric, a durable and weather-resistant plastic, is 52 m high in the middle – one metre for each week of the year. Its symmetry is interrupted by a hole through which a ventilation shaft from the Blackwall Tunnel rises; the critic Jonathan Meades has scathingly referred to the Millennium Dome as a "Museum of Toxic Waste", apart from the dome itself, the project included the reclamation of the entire Greenwich Peninsula. The land was derelict and contaminated by toxic sludge from East Greenwich Gas Works that operated from 1889 to 1985; the clean-up operation was seen by the Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine as an investment that would add a large area of useful land to the crowded capital. This was billed as part of a larger plan to regenerate a large, sparsely populated area to the east of London and south of the River Thames, an area called the East Thames Corridor but latterly marketed as the "Thames Gateway".
The Dome project was conceived on a somewhat smaller scale, under John Major's Conservative government, as a Festival of Britain or World's Fair-type showcase to celebrate the third millennium. The incoming Labour government elected in 1997 under Tony Blair expanded the size and funding of the project, it significantly increased expectations of what would be delivered. Just before its opening Blair claimed the Dome would be "a triumph of confidence over cynicism, boldness over blandness, excellence over mediocrity". In the words of BBC correspondent Robert Orchard, "the Dome was to be highlighted as a glittering New Labour achievement in the next election manifesto", but criticised in the 2001 Conservative Party manifesto as "banal and rootless", lacking "a sense of Britain’s history or culture". However, before its opening, The Dome was excoriated in Iain Sinclair's diatribe, Sorry Meniscus – Excursions to the Millennium Dome, which forecast the hype, the political posturing and the eventual disillusion.
The post-exhibition plan had been to convert The Dome into a football stadium which would last for 25 years: Charlton Athletic at one point considered a possible move but instead chose to redevelop their own stadium. Fisher Athletic were a local team interested in moving to the Dome, but they were considered to have too small a fan base to make this feasible; the Dome was planned to take over the functions performed by the London Arena, after its closure. This is the function. After a private opening on the evening of 31 December 1999 the Millennium Experience at the Dome was open to the public for the whole of 2000, contained a large number of attractions and exhibits; the interior space was subdivided into 14 zones: Who we are: Body, sponsored by Boots, supported by L'Oréal and Roche Mind, sponsored by BAE Systems and Marconi Faith comprised 5 sections: History of Christianity, Making of Key Life Experiences, How Shall I live?, Night Rain and Faith Festivals Calendar (Eva Jiricna Archite
Mbuji-Mayi serves as the capital city of Kasai-Oriental Province in the south-central Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the third largest city in the country, following the capital Kinshasa and second largest city Lubumbashi but ahead of Kisangani and Kananga, though the exact population is not known. Estimates ranged from a 2010 CIA World Factbook estimated population of 1,480,000 to as many as 3,500,000 estimated by the United Nations in 2008. Mbuji-Mayi lies in Luba country on the Sankuru River; the name Mbuji-Mayi comes from the local language and translates as "Goat-Water," a name deriving from the great number of goats in the region and the city's location on the Sankuru, making it a prime watering spot. Despite its large population, the city remains remote, having little connection to surrounding provinces or to Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. Air travel is provided through the Mbuji Mayi Airport; the region where the city of Mbuji-Mayi now stands was once a cluster of villages on land owned by the Bakwanga clan.
Diamonds were first discovered in the area as early as 1907, but the true value of the find was not recognised until 1913. Following the discovery, a mining camp designed to house miners and company officials of the Societé minière de Bakwanga was developed in the area; the young city, known at the time as Bakwanga, grew but around strict planning by MIBA, which divided the community into labor camps, mining areas and living quarters. The city's growth was not explosive, planning was done with the needs of the mining company in mind, not the development of the region as a general population centre. In fact, fearing theft of the company's diamond resources, the MIBA discouraged building in the region and monitored who went in and out of the region; every person in the region needed a permit allowing them to be there, registration at a command post that monitored the population, which made indefinite residence in the area impossible to establish. There was limited economic activity besides the company-run mining, with limited agriculture, the city's population remained low, at 39,830 by the late 1950s.
As the city grew and more infrastructure needs required investment in roads, public works and hospitals. While several primary schools were developed for workers, until independence, there was no higher education available for the native population; the area around Mbuji-Mayi is one of the richest sources of mineral wealth in the world. In the 1950s, it was estimated that the Mbuji-Mayi area had the world's most important industrial diamond deposits, containing at least 300 million karats of diamonds; the city was constructed on top of the diamond deposits, while the city's reputation as a company town under tight control of Belgian economic interests meant it was neat and orderly, it meant that the city's buildings and homes, including those of top MIBA executives, were sometimes demolished to access the diamonds. In the earlier years, most of the diamonds mined in the area came from one large MIBA-controlled mine on the city's outskirts, but diamonds could be found in the area's streams and waterways, making it possible for anyone to collect them.
As of 1963, Mbuji-Mayi-based MIBA was the source of 80 percent of the world's industrial diamonds and 57 percent of all diamonds. Mbuji-Mayi grew upon Congolese independence in 1960 with the immigration of members of the Luba ethnic group from different parts of the country. Shortly after independence, Albert Kalonji, a Luba tribal chief, declared himself ruler of the secessionist Mining State of South Kasai on Aug. 8, 1960 and established the city, still known as Bakwanga, as his capital. In April 1961, Kalonji declared himself as emperor of the region in a traditional tribal ceremony and returned to Bakwanga, where he was "carried through crowds of chanting and cheering Balubas," and dancing continued outside his royal palace there for four days; the celebrating was short-lived, as the central government Armée Nationale Congolaise troops took control of the town and arrested Kalonji, by December 1961. After an escape from the jail in which he was being held, he re-established his government.
A second assault on the independent state was launched in the summer of 1962, with ANC government troops fighting poorly armed tribesmen outside of the city. Kalonji was captured again, on 4 October 1962, when ANC forces retook Bakwanga ending the region's independence. Soon after the end of the secession, Bakwanga was renamed Mbuji-Mayi after the local river in an attempt to signify a Luba intra-ethnicity reconciliation. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Zaïre and Mobutu paid little attention to Mbuji-Mayi, offering no money to build roads, schools or hospitals. In the political vacuum, MIBA stepped in. In the place of the federal government, MIBA invested in the region by repairing roads, paying soldiers and supplying water and electricity to the city from its own power station; the company set up a social fund of $5 to $6 million a year 8 percent of its annual budget. This money went to fund a new university; the investments and ita position as largest employer made Jonas Mukamba Kadiata Nzemba the chief executive officer of MIBA one of the most powerful men in the region, the de facto governor of Mbuji-Mayi.
Nzemba, appointed by Mobutu in 1986, was considered one of the more powerful players in Mobutu's political party, the Mouvement Populaire pour le Revolution, but he called himself a "brother" of Étienne Tshisekedi, a popular local political figure and Mobutu's most significant political opposition. Nzemba is credited with creating the Conference pour le Developpement Economique de Kasai