1940s >> 1943 >> no-465-may-1943

Money in Diamonds

The Evening Standard of April 18 states that the prices of “gem” stones in Hatton Garden have gone up 20 per cent. in the last few days. Also that it is expected, that more than £10,000,000 will be spent on gems this year. De Beers (the chief South African diamond concern) shares have risen from £7 last year to well over £17, and are still soaring.

Thus, in spite of Sir Kingsley Wood’s exhortations, quite a number of capitalists (unless it can be over-paid munition workers, at £4 a. week), instead of lending all their money to the Government, prefer to have something handy and portable like diamonds, in these troublesome times, which can quickly realise a respectable sum anywhere.

Funnily enough, although everybody is supposed to be tightening belts, and “austerity” is the order of the day (its got something to do with winning the war), the most fabulous sums ever known have been spent on racehorses (£70,000 by one man) wines (£7 a bottle), rare orchids, old books, prints and carpets.

Perhaps it is because “austerity” for the lower orders is the counterpart of opulence for the few.