De Beers is a London and Johannesburg based diamond mining corporation. It has historically held a near total monopoly in the diamond trade. However, recently Israeli interests have captured 20% of the market. De Beers has been for many years under indictment in the United States for antitrust violations.
It has been alleged that De Beers uses its monopoly to create an artificial scarcity of diamonds, thus keeping prices high.
De Beers distributes diamonds to favored customers (called site holders) by selecting batches of diamonds themselves and offering them as is. Following the distressing use of diamond revenues by African revolutionaries engaged in diamond smuggling (blood diamonds), De Beers now sells only diamonds mined from their own mines, most of which are in South Africa and Botswana. They are currently involved in a joint venture which is developing a diamond prospect in Canada.