GOLD & DIAMONDS: Passing the Scepter

GOLD & DIAMONDS

From a massive, block-long building in Johannesburg last week came a discreet announcement that set the trading marts of the world buzzing. Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, the world's king of diamonds and its prime minister of gold, was giving up a bit of his vast suzerainty. At 70, he relinquished directorships in seven of his 30-odd gold-mining companies—a step towards turning over his empire to his son and spit & image, 41-year-old Harry Oppenheimer.

This did not mean that Sir Ernest, last and greatest of South Africa's great "Randlords," was going to...

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