(Bloomberg) — De Beers has cut off some of its long-term diamond buyers, marking one of the biggest shakeups in the way the miner sells gems since the end of its monopoly 20 years ago.
De Beers staff spent Wednesday calling its 80-odd handpicked customers, with some told they will be losing their seat at the industry’s top table, according to people familiar with the situation.
The world’s biggest diamond supplier has spent more than a year mulling the changes, which are designed to funnel more stones into fewer hands, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks were private.
The industry produces about 15,000 different categories of diamonds, and De Beers wants a smaller number of companies specializing in each one, giving them more pricing power and greater resilience to downturns.
It’s not yet clear how many buyers have lost their status, but it’s probably about 10, the people said.
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