For the first time in its 135-year history, the giant diamond company De Beers has a “global ambassador.” And for the first tine in 75 years, it has a new tagline. Bye-bye, “A Diamond Is Forever,” hello “Where It Begins.”
I take a look at the history of De Beers advertising in my latest story for Medium, “All That Glitters: Diamonds and the Cultivation of Desire” (friend link).
For an excellent overview of the worldwide diamond trade, I recommend The Heartless Stone by Tom Zoellner (2006), which remains relevant today. Thanks to Mike Pope for recommending it to me many years ago.
De Beers was founded in 1888 by the British capitalist and imperialist Cecil Rhodes, but unlike Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe and Zambia), Rhodes University, and the Rhodes Scholarship, the company isn’t named for him. Instead, it takes its name from two Dutch brothers named De Beer on whose South African farm diamonds were discovered. Rhodes, who had moved to South Africa in 1870. got his start in the diamond business by renting water to miners.