The De Beers were Free Staters and the diamond fields, a mere 160 kilometres from Bloemfontein, lay between the rivers that formed the natural boundaries of the Free State. Great Britain and its Cape Colony had no presence and no claim in their own right. British interests therefore concealed themselves behind the somewhat dubious claims of Nicolaas Waterboer, the chief of Griquatown many kilometres away. The charade was fronted by a clever lawyer named David Arnot, himself almost a Griqua, but the real decisions were taken behind the scenes, and when the lieutenant-governor of Natal was appointed as mediator, the result was a foregone conclusion. The Keate Award of 1871 confirmed the claims of Waterboer.
In Early 1871, a diamond was found on a small hill, a mile away from the farm house owned by De Beer brothers (whose names were immortalized in the misspelled form of De Beer) in the town of Vooruizicht in South Africa and soon another was found on the farm. The word soon spread and by 1870 more than 10 000 diggers of all colours and nations were busily engaged along the banks of the Vaal River searching for the precious little stones. But the wealth in the river was as nothing compared to the treasure underground. A throng of diggers came, and the place quickly developed into a tent town. Canvas shops, offices, canteens and hotels sprang up overnight and the place was called "New Rush" (Read - The Diamond Magnates by Brian Roberts, 1972).
In 1874, Cecil B. Rhodes, an Oxford student was sent by his father to join his brother in South Africa for a healthier climate. After trying his luck at faming unsuccessfully, he made winnings at dry digging and became financially independent at the age of 19. He bought more and more claims in the De Beers mine and finally amalgamated the De Beers Mining Company and Kimberly Central into De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. It was incorporated on March 12, 1888 in the province of Good Hope and it is now based in Kimberly, South Africa. On April Fool's Day, 1880, with assets of 200,000 British Pounds, Cecil John Rhodes, then 28, formed the De Beers Mining Company, merging his own interests with two other syndicates and taking over a major part of the mine on land that had once been the farm of the De Beers brothers. From its inception, however, the De Beers Company and Cecil Rhodes were interested in more than diamonds. The company's charter - with not a little arrogance - allowed it, among other things, to take steps for good government of any territory, raise and maintain a standing army, and undertake warlike operations'. Warlike operations.
Today, De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. is a business organization that has been controlling the diamond trade world wide for the last century. Many people tried to compete such Harry Winston for New York and the Argyle Diamond Company of Australia but the Oppenheimer family that controls De Beers has prevailed in keeping a tight control over the mining and flow of diamonds for as long as diamonds are sought after and is likely to continue in the years to come. The various companies within the De Beers "family of companies"; are responsible for around 40% of world diamond production by value. De Beers is active in every category of diamond mining: open-pit, underground, large-scale alluvial, coastal and deep sea. De Beers is not involved in informal small-scale diamond mining, which is rarely economical for large mining companies.