Bought A Diamond? Get A Piece Of $135,432,500 DeBeers Lawsuit

Ever bought a diamond? You may be eligible for a piece of a multi-million class action lawsuit alleging that diamond giant DeBeers conspired to monopolize the diamond industry by fixing, raising, and controlling diamond prices, and by issuing false and misleading advertising. The class is open to anyone who bought any diamond from anyone from January 1, 1994 to March 31, 2006. $135,432,500 will be divided amongst all the approved consumer claimants.

Here’s where you go to file a claim. Find out more details at diamondsclassaction.com.

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  1. JPropaganda says:

    Now I wish I had invested in Diamonds instead of…food. And rent.

  2. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    false and misleading advertising

    It is misleading to put the diamond necklace around a shadow’s neck. It defies the laws of physics!

  3. Yeah when I bought the engagement ring in 2007 I knew that was 8 grand that I’d never see again… when I read the title of this post I thought there might have been some hope to get some back… dashed.

  4. cobaltthorium says:

    Indeed, Diamonds occur plentifully in the earth, it is only by artificially limiting the supply of them that they can demand such a high price. They’re a commodity that only has value in our society because they are limited, and we want them.

  5. char says:

    I just missed the deadline, I bought a diamond engagment ring (bought into the marekting blah blah blah) last march.

    Though really how much money will this actually be? “Sweet I get 15 dollars, and the laywers get 4 million!”

  6. cobaltthorium says:

    @AngrySicilian:
    $8000 for an engagement ring? Jesus – I don’t want to even here about how much the wedding rings are going to cost. As students, we can only afford a $400 engagement ring (but she’s happy with it, and I guess that’s the point).

  7. Abusiveelusive says:

    Well buying that engagement ring and diamond necklace is finally paying off!

  8. BuddyHinton says:

    $135 million is chumpchange to deBeers. There is a very good documentary out there on the deBeers monopoly. Interesting stuff. I avoided all the hype by buying my wife CZ’s. (shhhhhh….)

  9. Luftvier says:

    I am glad to get anything back from the two diamond pieces of jewelry I wasted on a previous girlfriend.

    I love our torts system!

  10. Falconfire says:

    @char: actually seems like its a lot

    someone who bought a 4000 dollar engagement ring is looking at around 900 dollars back.

    And I too am screwed, I got my ring Dec 2006.

  11. Luftvier says:

    …and I am glad that my current lady understands that diamonds are a total scam and wants nothing to do with them. I win in two ways!

  12. ArtlessDodger says:

    @cobaltthorium:

    wedding rings typically cost much less than a woman’s engagement ring.

  13. Shadowfire says:

    I’ve always been thankful that my soon-to-be-wife doesn’t want real diamonds. Her ring is an old one from my grandmother, but she always said that she would rather have a manufactured diamond than a real one (in her words, they sparkle more, and aren’t overpriced bullshit).

    She also doesn’t like gold. I scored a winner. ;)

  14. darkened says:

    Not that i’d encourage fraud but you only need to provide document proof if you claim a purchase over $10,000 according to the end of the submission. Take that for what you want it.

  15. cobaltthorium says:

    @alexak:
    I didn’t actually know that. Fortunately, she doesn’t really care about the ring – it’s more about what it means.

  16. BuddyHinton says:

    @alexak: Are you kidding? Then again, I live in crazy california. Weddings run $15k-50k depending on your need to impress….

  17. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    People who spend large amounts of money for one of the raw forms of one of the most common elements on Earth (carbon) are morons.

  18. BuddyHinton says:

    @BuddyHinton: Nevermind. I’m an idiot and cant read….

  19. misstic says:

    So I wonder what the final amount will be for each person. $41 or some other token amount?

  20. Myotheralt says:

    @BuddyHinton: But honney, that whole “diamonds cant be scratched” idea is a lie.

  21. char says:

    @Falconfire: I was quite happy believing this wasn’t worth it, you’ve ruined that fantasy now :-p.

    @BuddyHinton: Weddings are pretty overpriced to begin with, the average nupttials runs about 25 grand, and a large guest list can easily send it higher. It’s worse in places like NY or CA, where a catering hall alone can run that much.

  22. joeblevins says:

    Paid 3k+ for the wifes ring. Then 50 bucks for a wedding License. Ceremony was free on mondays at the Juaquin County Courthouse.

    Instead of blowing money on a wedding, we had a nice down payment available for a house.

  23. fizzyg says:

    @Shadowfire: Some of the diamond substitutes/manufactured diamonds aren’t cheap themselves. I was looking at moissanite for a while and found it to still be several hundred to several thousands of dollars. Other gemstones can be as expensive or moreso than diamonds, as I found out when I tried to track down a nice (non-lab created)alexandrite for a center stone.

    ( cherry picked is great for drool-worthy unusual stones.)

  24. ClayS says:

    @darkened:

    It all depends on how you value your integrity. Mine isn’t for sale.

  25. Falconfire says:

    I tried hard to get my fiance to come over to the idea of not using a diamond. In the end I popped down 5k for one because DeBeers had done a wonderful job making her think there was actually something behind a diamond engagement ring, and that it wasnt in fact invented by the company themselves.

  26. bohemian says:

    Meh. We spent $60 each on our silver wedding bands, they had a design we liked. We got married in a park. The whole diamond and wedding industry marketing thing was wasted on us.

  27. ucdcsteve says:

    Where’s the class action suit against resellers who buy wholesale and add 200% to the value? The resale offer I got for my $6500 stone – “appraised” at $10,500 (at least I didn’t marry the crazy bi+ch) was $3500 because that’s what they buy it for. And, no I didn’t get ripped off…that’s par for the course. Try reselling one sometime.

    Present girlfriend knows she’s getting someone that loves her and can pay the rent because his credit card isn’t full of false promises.

  28. @cobaltthorium: I bought it at Blue Nile, so at least I didn’t have to pay sales tax or deal with those D-bags at the jewelery store.

    I just set up an elaborate spreadsheet for the reception. It’s an Italian style wedding, so I’ve got the guest list down to 250 (from 300s before) and I’m trying to convince my fiancee that don’t necessarily need to have a Seafood table, a Sweets table, and a maned Espresso bar… or at least not all three of those! With taxes and fees I’m looking at 31.6 thousand. So much for that downpayment on the house. She says we’ll get it all back and then some.. but I don’t count my chickens before they hatch.

    The Chicago area is expessive for a wedding.

  29. darkened says:

    @ClayS: I didn’t have that knowledge available to me until i submitted my actual cost. Figured i’d just make it available for others consideration.

    Everyone knows big portions of these class action lawsuits go unclaimed and goto the lawyers or some random “charity” that most likely the lawyers or company has plenty of paws in.

  30. IrisMR says:

    Darnit! I knew I shouldn’t think that diamonds are ugly. Now I don’t own one!

    Why am I such a picky woman?

  31. econobiker says:

    I guess DeBeers now wishes they had sold the diamonds with a “mandatory arbitraion” clause….

  32. martyz says:

    I missed the cutoff date by two weeks! I bought mine in mid-April 2006!!! YARRRGH! Damn you, DeBeers. You DeSuck.

  33. lockdog says:

    My (then girlfriend…now wife) and I went back and forth a number of times over whether to buy a diamond or some other gem, an old ring, a new ring, or nothing at all. She’s a sociologist and I’m sentimental, so traditions (even if they are manufactured traditions) carry some weight with us. We opted for an old diamond in a new setting. We were advised against an old ring entirely because they tend to be weaker from old welds or old alloys. The cool thing is that unlike every modern diamond, the cut is imperfect. The net effect is that instead of reflecting back white light (the brilliant cuts) her ring refracts the light. It is not as bright as a brilliant cut, but the rainbow effect is dazzling, and noticeable. By virtue of being “used”, it was significantly cheaper. Plus its a lot like us; imperfect, but colorful.

  34. North of 49 says:

    we’re thinking of eloping because we don’t want a certain family member to know about the wedding. She’d ruin it for everyone.

    Mother in law from hell? Hell doesn’t want her!

  35. ClayS says:

    @darkened:

    I believe the way this works is that $135,432,500 has been allocated to settle the lawsuit. The lawyers have already been taken care of (no surprise there). The $135M will be split between the claimants. If there are people cheating the system, legitimate claimants, such as yourself will get a smaller piece of the pie.

  36. starrion says:

    Is this really, really true? Because that would be a huge financial relief. And more than pay for some work that had to be done to the house.

  37. jurisenpai says:

    @AngrySicilian: $8000? Jeez! My fianc̩ paid about $1500 for my ring and I feel bad that he spent so much. I do recommend Blue Nile for engagement rings Рthe ring (platinum) is beautiful and we got a great deal on the diamond.

  38. Buran says:

    @Shadowfire: Where can you find a reputable seller of the manufactured ones? I’ve been hinting at the bf that manufactured is OK with me (and I think it is, I’m a geek and how they make those is really interesting) plus platinum is nice…

  39. Buran says:

    @North of 49: I love my ex-inlaws. Seriously. They’re some of the coolest people I know. Still talk to them pretty often — it wasn’t a contested divorce or anything.

    Did I just get lucky?

  40. Chaosium says:

    [www.theatlantic.com]

    For the classic, if a bit outdated article on DeBeers.

  41. Buran says:

    @Jaysyn: You got something against tradition? I like the tradition but you don’t have to spend thousands adhering to it.

  42. siskamariesophie says:

    @ North of 49: I feel your pain. It’s your wedding and you should invite anyone who will ruin the experience for you. My husband and I had a low-budget, low-drama wedding on the beach in Hawaii 6 years ago and we made sure to only let his mother know a week out (which was the amount of time it took us to plan) so she wouldn’t be able to make it. She’s still sore about it.
    To stay on topic, I’m thrilled about this lawsuit. Since we didn’t spend much on the wedding (less than $600 including limo and my non-dress), we felt it was worth it to splurge a bit on my engagement ring.

  43. JayXJ says:

    @cobaltthorium: Pawn shops are a good place to get jewelery. Many of them don’t even try to evaluate the stones and just buy by weight of the gold.
    I bought my wife’s wedding ring trading a sweet, sweet pistol for it. I took the ring to another jeweler to have it evaluated before purchase (made an arragement with the pawn shop) to make sure I was getting a good deal. I wound up getting a very nice ring for several hundred dollars cheaper than from a jewelery store.

  44. MightyPen says:

    Thanks for the notice, I’ve submitted my claim. :)

  45. backbroken says:

    So this means that diamonds are going to be dirt cheap from now on, right?

    Right?

  46. kimsama says:

    @darkened: Probably not a good idea to file a false claim. If they ask for proof, the possibility you’ll get entangled in a fraud lawsuit is always there. I generally follow the rule that if it asks for a Social Security number, you don’t want to fraudulently file a form.

  47. homerjay says:

    Wow, this is a big deal. I didn’t realize how much I blew on diamonds over the years until I pulled out the receipts… Aww, she was worth it. According to the ‘long form’I stand to get back well over a grand… Maybe I’m reading it wrong??

  48. demonradio says:

    @Shadowfire: Your girl is smart. Gold is so tacky! Yuck.

  49. North of 49 says:

    The milfh is Ms/Mrs No49′s mother. Let’s just say that the less we see of her, the happier Ms No49 is.

    As for diamonds – this stinks cause we’ve bought several in the last few years and since we’re Canadian, we can’t get a penny.

  50. @cobaltthorium: Yeah, I got a cheap gold wedding band for about $40 when I used to travel alone a lot in college. It saved me a lot of trouble. :)

    My real wedding ring, which I felt was a little on the spendy side, cost about $600. My husband’s was about $500.

    @AngrySicilian: “She says we’ll get it all back and then some.. but I don’t count my chickens before they hatch.”

    I definitely would not count on it. (And I definitely wouldn’t mention that expectation in any way to your guests or you’ll end up in Miss Manners. :) )

  51. darkened says:

    @kimsama: It didn’t and at the end it only said you were required to send in proof for over $10,000. It’s always easy to say well I lost the receipts and I gave it to a bitch ex gf and didn’t ask for it back.

  52. beavis88 says:

    Um, sweet. I love getting money back that I have long since spent and accounted for. Hopefully the payouts won’t be cheapened by a million people falsely claiming they bought $9,999 worth of diamond jewelry…

  53. courtneywoah says:

    It’s about time people caught on to the diamond scam!!! Diamonds represent tradition for millions of people, but the darker reality is that diamonds represent exploitation and death (blood diamond anyone?). The diamond campaign was one of the most successful advertising campaigns in history because it managed to make a worthless commodity into a very profitable and lucrative industry. Women have been brainwashed into thinking that their boyfriend/fiance doesn’t love them unless they are willing to shill out two months salary for them. The two months salary gimmick is perfect too, because no matter how much you make you are really showing you care by spending two months worth of your salary on her.

    I wonder if they are going to have a bottle water lawsuit next though, seeing as most of it comes from the tap…we’ll see…

  54. picantel says:

    Here is the best part. Obviously if too many people sign up then everyone gets a very small piece of the pie. If tons sign up then everyone gets a big fat 0.

    Please be advised that if your pro rata share of the Settlement Fund is a payment of less than $10.00, no check will be sent to you as a result of prohibitive administrative costs.

    If they get this out to everyone and can get those checks less than $10 then the lawyers and their administrative lackeys get it all.

  55. redkamel says:

    shoot, you have to buy a wedding ring AND an engagement ring?

  56. @redkamel: Welcome to Engagement Incorporated. “Leave your Wallet on the Altarâ„¢”

  57. JollyJumjuck says:

    I bought a pair of wedding rings and an engagement ring at Meyers in Port Huron, Michigan in early 1994. But because I lived (and still live) in Canada, I’m excluded from the lawsuit. Shafted again, no fucking surprise there >:(

  58. moosetoga says:

    I’m stunned that this is real… it sounds like it’s right out of the same playbook as the Nigerian bank account phishing schemes.

  59. pete7919 says:

    @JollyJumJuck and all you others from up north:

    Get you own legal system! Don’t you all have lawyers that want loads of money, too?

  60. cmdr.sass says:

    When can I expect my check for $0.25 after all the freeloaders submit their false claims for $9,999 rings?

  61. rhombopteryx says:

    @kimsama:

    Yeah, probably not a good idea, especially when the signature line says “It is a crime to submit a false Claim Form and sign the penalty of perjury statement.” Ah, criminal perjury – for when common sense just doesn’t get through to people.

  62. mthrndr says:

    I wasn’t going to submit a claim, but then I read on the site that the max payout for a $2000 claim would be $640. That’s quite a bit, though I assume that if they get massive numbers of claimants, that may well go down to $10, which is the minimum amount. I went ahead and submitted a claim (I bought $4,300+ of diamond jewelry in 2003). Assuming the max goes up the more you bought, I could potentially get $1000 back. I’m not holding my breath though, since it didn’t require proof of purchase or SSN. I assume this will be like other Class Actions, such as the CD one a couple years back, where I DID get a check, for $15.

  63. rhombopteryx says:

    @picantel:
    Or, more accurately, the lawyers DON’T get it all… They’re limited to 25% of it all, regardless. “Class Counsel will ask the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees in an amount no greater than 25% of the Settlement Fund.

  64. ELC says:

    @cobaltthorium:
    Actually, the wedding ring is the deal. It’s the dumb diamond that’s outrageously priced. Didn’t you always think diamond-studded saws sounded crazy? They aren’t b/c as one other commentor pointed out, they really aren’t that rare.

  65. magdelane says:

    @Buran: Geek diamonds are fab. Best friends got one of their first back in oh, 2005? Pink. Shocking! They bought from the lab itself, Takara [www.takaradiamonds.com]

    Another good source would be Gemesis [www.gemesis.com]

    Enjoy!

  66. 0x12is18 says:

    I love the way some people feel sorry for themselves that they didn’t buy their diamond during this time period. Relax people. By not getting ripped off like the rest of us, you either saved yourselves the money being reimbursed to us, or you were able to buy a better ring.

  67. Earth2Kim says:

    For lab-grown diamonds, Chatham [www.chatham.com] based out of San Francisco also has very nice stones. They come in pinks, yellows, and blues (rounds only). Gemesis has other shapes, but they just do yellows and yellow-orangy/golden colors now.
    Don’t look for white man-made diamonds – they don’t exist yet in large sizes. Instead go with a simulant like Lannyte [www.lannyte.com] which are lovely and very inexpensive, stay away from CZs… and I don’t much care for moissanite either.

  68. CMU_Bueller says:

    Great, now let’s sue because aren’t forever since they are unstable at surface pressures and can be destroyed in other ways as well.

  69. pegr says:

    @alexak: wedding rings typically cost much less than a woman’s engagement ring.

    Because her value is much less married. When engaged, she’s at least considered “marryable”! ;)

  70. ClayS says:

    @pegr:

    Makes sense. Its like when you drive a new car off the lot, the value instantly decreases.

  71. UpsetPanda says:

    I was watching this inane how-to video on Yahoo about saving money on your wedding. The how to woman said the average cost of a woman’s wedding band is $1600 and the average for a man is $800. Crazy, but it’s all relative to what you make…I just bought a wedding band (we bought bands for each other) and it was about $800. No diamonds. So anything with diamonds would be about $1000 +.

  72. Nothing in the wording of the settlement appears to exclude estate jewelry. My wife’s engagement/wedding rings, anniversary pendant and a Christmas gift ring all came from Dianne’s Estate Jewelry in San Francisco–the Christmas gift ring dates to 1885. But they’re all diamond and purchased in the specified time period, so I filed.

  73. Davezter says:

    If you read through all the small print, the attorneys for the consumer class are going to ask the court for 25% of the award in order to “cover their expenses”. The total for consumer subclass is only $135M to compensate US consumers for all their diamond purchases between 1994 and 2006. According to MSNBC [www.msnbc.msn.com] the U.S. RETAIL diamond market is 50% of the entire world’s retail sales and was a whopping $33.7 Billion just in the year 2005. So here’s the deal: The attorneys get $33.75M, leaving $101.25M as compensation for consumers to share for all their diamond purchases over the last 12 years. And DeBeers will no longer have to worry about any future litigation! That sounds pretty rosy for everyone EXCEPT consumers. An engagement ring is supposed to equal 3 months’ salary — isn’t that what they’ve been saying since they started pushing diamonds on us in 1938? How about DeBeers cough up AT LEAST 3 month’s worth of annual U.S. diamond sales??? That would be $8.43 Billion. Instead, consumers will only receive about 0.3% of a year’s sales (the retail sales over a period of 24hours) to somehow compensate us for the last 12 years of collusion and price-fixing! This is just a scam for the attorneys to get rich quick and for Debeers to screw Americans into giving up their right to sue in the future when more legitimite attorneys are serious about taking DeBeers to task. I bet the final settlement payment is less than $25 bucks/consumer who signs up for this offensive agreement. Don’t fall for this crap, take action and write the court to tell them you don’t approve of this agreement: ” To be valid, your objection must be postmarked on or befeore March 4, 2008, and mailed to: Diamonds Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 9432, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55440-9432. ” You can still sign up for the class action if you really want to and your objection will not keep you from receiving whatever tiny settlement this is going to get you, but by agreeing to sign up for the settlement and not opting out then you are giving up your right to sue DeBeers or be part of any future class action lawsuit — when one might actually be worth something.

  74. uricmu says:

    @AngrySicilian: 8k ring? I’m impressed.

  75. uricmu says:

    @JD: Wedding bands rarely have diamonds in them. They’re just gold. I’ve bought mine at a fairly fancy shop and they were 350 per person.

  76. DoctorMD says:

    Some good slogans DeBeers should use.

    Nothing says F$&K the third world like a diamond!

    15% chance its a blood diamond. But 100% your are getting ripped off.

  77. iamme99 says:

    De Beers is a cartel (like OPEC). Diamonds are not particularly rare but are managed to appear to be so by De Beers. Through crafty marketing over the years and peer pressure, they have convinced many that giving a diamond ring to a woman means something lasting. And this in a world where at least 50% of the marriages end in divorce within 5 years! There’s “a sucker is born every minute” works well for De Beers.

    While diamonds look good new, most woman don’t take good care to keep them sparkling after the first few months. They get grungy and dirty, often looking dull and ugly on woman that continue to wear them. OTOH, particularly in big cities, a lot of woman fearing undue attention from potential thieves and worse, deposit that expensive piece of carbon in a safe deposit box, only taken out to wear on special occasions.

    “Synthetic” large carat diamonds are being made and are readily available these days. There are absolutely no differences between true synthetic diamonds and nature made ones in terms of hardness, brilliance, etc. What can be different are trace impurity markers and the lack of fractures and such internally. This is generally how De Beers and the jewelry industry are able to tell man-made from natural stones. But diamond manufacturing companies are learning to mix the right impurities in to their diamonds to eliminate this tell.

    Synthetics cost something like $5/carat to make. But the jewelers who market them often sell them at near mined stones prices. Why? Because De Beers has done such a good marketing/indoctrination job, that they can get away with this. Greed is eternal, right?

    Save yourself a lot of money and buy a simple gold wedding band. If your fiancé MUST have a real diamond, buy a real synthetic one. It will be at least a little cheaper than a mined diamond. Or capitulate to the marketing and buy a mined diamond. Help support managed artificial scarcity, environmental damage, some degree of slave labor and pay for the jeweler’s new Mercedes or BMW.

    Some links to check:
    [www.wired.com]
    [www.wired.com]
    [moneycentral.msn.com]
    [en.wikipedia.org]
    [www.amnh.org]
    [www.apollodiamond.com]
    [www.gemesis.com]

  78. @uricmu: She sorta picked it out… built online at blue nile. Here’s the picture
    [bp2.blogger.com]

  79. Illusio26 says:

    Lol, bought my wife her diamond in april 2006. Figures…

  80. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    One of my friends bought his wife a 26,000 engagement ring. Best part is he only makes 40k a year. 3 Months salary my ass.

  81. @JD: Mine has diamonds and ran about $600. Yeah, they’re small, but we bought from a small local jeweler with designers & makers on site, so we got much nicer stuff for less bucks. (Ours were recreations of designs from a particular jeweler in London in the 1800s; I just wanted a plain band but my husband could not be satisfied until we found his historic band … and then of course I fell in love with one by the same designer!)

  82. Jesse in Japan says:

    Misleading advertising? You mean even if I give her a diamond she won’t love me forever?

  83. mthrndr says:

    @Davezter: Dude, don’t hold your breath. The agreement is offensive, sure, but I’d rather get $25 than nothing. There won’t be another, “better” settlement later on. Diamonds don’t cause cancer; there isn’t the impetus for a big-tobacco like maelstrom against deBeer’s.

  84. savvy999 says:

    Just an update, I submitted my claim online on Friday for $3800 in diamond expenses. Easy enough form, we’ll see what happens.

  85. medic78 says:

    I STILL can’t file a claim. I enter my name and address and the system just hangs and times out.

    I’ve tried everything, Firefox-IE-Home IP-Work IP.

    Anyone else having the problem or know how to help?