Perspective: Rock of Ages

Diamonds are nothing more than allotropes of carbon. Leave it to a marketer to make them all about a love that lasts forever

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Harry Oppenheimer had a problem. It was September 1938, and with war smoldering in Europe, market prices of diamonds—a commodity that had been cornered by his father’s company, De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd.—were plummeting. Concluding that the company’s survival lay in penetrating the American market, Oppenheimer came to Philadelphia and looked up the N.W.

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