Business: Feverish Sparkle

Diamonds are a speculator's best friend

Got $4 million to spare? Then you could meet Liz Taylor's asking price for a 69.42-carat, pear-shaped diamond that Richard Burton paid less than half as much to buy for her nine years ago. That is one of the more modest price increases in a market that has gone berserk, especially at the wholesale level. Uncut stones, particularly those less than one carat, have in many cases doubled in price just in the past 18 months.

Supplies of new stones on the market are down, in part because mining in Angola has not recovered from a civil...

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