How does a diamond get from the mines to the stores?
Finding the rough diamonds is only the first step. Once diamonds have been mined and processed out of the 'overburden' (that is, the kimberlite rocks in which they are imbedded), the rough crystals are sorted and categorized according to their size, color, shape and other characteristics.
The most common route is through the channels of De Beers' Central Selling Organization (CSO). The majority of what is bought through the CSO is sent to London to be offered to buyers through De Beers' marketing arm - the Diamond Trading Corporation (DTC).
The DTC holds ten week-long selling sessions called 'sights' each year. These sights are by invitation only, and only a handful of diamond manufacturers from around the world (called 'sightholders') are allowed to attend. These sightholders may cut the rough diamonds they buy themselves, or they may sell some of the rough diamonds to smaller manufacturers. These smaller manufacturers cut the rough diamonds and sell to jewelry manufacturers (who set the diamonds into finished pieces of jewellery and then sell the jewellery to jewellery retailers), or to diamond wholesalers (who then, in turn, sell the diamonds to diamond retailers).
We buy cut and polished diamonds directly from a sightholder, eliminating the middle men and ensuring our customers get the quality they deserve for the right price.
In the less common route from mine to market, some independent miners elect not to sell their mine production to the DeBeers cartel. Instead, they offer newly mined diamonds directly to other world buyers.