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De Beers Diamond Settlement Explained

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend! And if you bought into the marketing slogan and got your sweetie a diamond (or anything with a diamond in it), you may be able to recoup some of the cost in a settlement. De Beers was charged with cornering the diamond market between Jan 1, 1994 and March 31, 2006 and recently settled for $295 million. Of the $295 million, $135 million was earmarked for consumers with the balance going to wholesalers. Check out their press release statement [3] on the issue.

How Much Do I Get

Unfortunately, because it’s unclear how many people will make a claim and because the lawyer fees haven’t been published, the table (published on MSN Money [4]) is just a maximum value and not what you’ll likely see. $135M spread across all the diamond purchases over the course of eight years is not going to amount to much. In fact, if your prorated share of the settlement is under $10, they won’t even send it to you because of “prohibitive administrative costs.”

The minimum payout is $10 and the maximum is $640 (the Recognized Claim Amount). If you bought a lot of diamonds, the maximum you can receive is the Recognized Claim Amount of $640.

Should I File?

Considering the $10 rule, you may want to reconsider whether to spend the time to file. This is what they recommend: “As a general guideline, if your total purchases consist of Mixed Stones Jewelry with combined purchase prices of $165 or less, or Diamonds Only Jewelry with combined purchase prices of $95 or less, your claim will not reach the payment minimum amount of $10.00.” Now, is that just the lawyers wanting a bigger piece of the pie? Is it just there so people don’t dilute the pool? Who knows, that’s up to you to decide.

How To File

To file a claim, visit the online claim form [5] or fill out the PDF form [6] and mail it back by may 19th.

If you claim less than $10,000, you don’t need to provide proof right now but you might need it later. If you claim more than $10,000, you have to include a copy of a document that shows the specs of the diamond (what’s essentially in an appraisal). Good luck!

(Photo: tambako [7])