The Russians Are Throwing Diamonds At The World

Some 80% of the world's uncut diamonds flow through the fortress-like building in London identified only as 17 Charterhouse St. This is the headquarters of the Central Selling Organization, one of the world's last great cartels. Controlled by De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. of South Africa, the CSO buys diamonds from producers all over the world, sorts the stones into 5,000 categories, then packages them and sells them off, one box at a time, to authorized dealers called "sightholders." They in turn arrange for the polishing and cutting that transform rough stones into the dazzling adornments coveted around the globe.

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