60 Minutes Takes on ‘Conflict Diamonds’

The industry's image took another beating after 60 Minutes took on De Beers and the "conflict diamond" issue in February. Industry executives who worked with the show's producers had hoped the story wouldn't be as negative as last year's PrimeTime Live episode on "conflict" gems, noting that producers attended a mine opening in Botswana and interviewed De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer. But the show's bent was decidedly critical—it compared diamonds to drugs and equated buying from De Beers with laundering. The story's first half covered De Beers' history of managing prices, ensuring media coverage for diamonds, and strong-arming Zaire when it bolted the cartel in the 1980s. It mentioned De Beers' 1995 indictment for price fixing but left the impression it was for gem, rather than industrial, diamonds. It showed a headline that originally read, "GE, De Beers Indicted on Price Fix
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