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Founded by Cecil Rhodes in 1888 as a water pump rental business to miners during the diamond rush in South Africa, De Beers quickly grew to become the dominant player in the diamond industry, still to date.
De Beers actively mines in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Canada. In Namibia and Botswana, its operations are in partnership with local government. It is a leader in diamond mining and controls about 40% of world rough diamond production.
De Beers is an important player at every stage in the diamond pipeline, with rough sales, brands, jewellery outlets, synthetics, etc... It sells its diamonds through the DTC sightholder system in London and producing countries, with Botswana soon to become the main hub. This includes the NDTC.
De Beers is credited with having created the marketing behind the emotional demand for diamonds with its famous "diamonds are forever" campaign, amongst its many others.
A historic change took place in 2012 when the Openheimer family exited De Beers, after nearly 90 years of control, by selling its shares to the current majority shareholder Anglo American with 85% stake. The remaining 15% belongs to the Botswana government.