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This is a story of two men who created a company that would rule an industry and an age They forged the image that diamonds are forever in order to promote the carefully constructed illusion of value These two men are Barney Barnato and Cecil John Rhodes who together through their exploits in Africa created the diamond and mining company of De Beers Consolidated Mines This company cartel really controlled 95 of all diamond trading in the world The only other entity history has ever seen that may have rivaled De Beers in power and influence was the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages However even this analogy falls short of the sheer authority and dominance that De Beers possesses not just in its industry but in all fields Two very different men created this empire and this is their story Barney Barnato was perhaps one of the greatest South African legends He found his fortune and fame as a young man in the quest for the diamonds of Africa Born Barnett Isaacs on July 5 1852 in the East End of London he was the son of a poor second hand clothing salesman Barnato was not very well educated dropping out of school at age 13 However he was incredibly intelligent and shrewd and thus a perfect businessman He could change his personality to fit any situation playing the role of either a powerful man or a helpless fool in order to make a deal From the time Barnato entered school he would trade anything that could bring him a profit He amongst his schoolmates would trade any number of things including licorice lace toffee brass buttons and beer bottle labels Due to his lack of education however he did not enter the professional world directly His first job was as a bouncer and tapster at a bar owned by his sister Kates
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