These are the gendered “best friends” of men and women. Dogs are loyal, adorable, cuddly, dependable, help save lives and are sometimes totally disgusting. Diamonds are shiny, gorgeous, delightful status symbols, the strongest stone and sometimes totally disgusting.
I read an article on the Huffington Post (as I am known, quite frequently, to do) this morning about diamonds called “Diamonds are Bullshit.” The title intrigued me, which I’m sure was the intended reaction, but the article was quite fascinating, especially for someone like myself who has never been engaged or married. I haven’t had the unique pleasure of the search for “the” engagement ring, so never put an enormous amount of thought into diamonds that are out of my realm of reality (except to say that I’ve always loved vintage jewelry in general).
According to Mr. Dhar (author of said article), diamonds are not only a poor investment (unless you’re Liz Taylor, obvs), but also a decades-old marketing campaign by the DeBeers Bros. to encourage men and women to believe that not only are diamonds rare and precious, but also super necessary in order to properly gauge success in life and in love. Apparently, all of that is Don Draper-kinds of bogus. The DeBeers company, at the height of the Great Depression, decided that in order to sell these over-abundant rocks, they would begin an advertising campaign that has had many incarnations, but is ultimately summed up with “Diamonds are forever.” FOREVER, y’all. Like love! Just like your precious, everlasting relationship, which can never be whole or functional unless your man purchases the largest diamond he “can” afford. This will prove to everyone and God that you guys are for real in love until the end of time.
Now, written out in my delightful sardonic wit, this marketing scheme seems completely ridiculous, however, the trend continues 75 years later! The DeBeers Company really has this diamond monopoly under control, buying out competitor’s stocks and selling on an exclusive “take it or leave it” policy, they have managed to keep diamond prices high despite an abundance of these “precious” stones.
All of this is not to say that I don’t (eventually) expect a beautifully handcrafted, vintage diamond ring presented to me to compliment my pretty little hand. I totally do, and I look forward to that day with glee, but not exclusively because it will have diamonds on it. My cousin’s engagement ring has a giant sapphire in the middle of it, and I think it’s only made more gorgeous and unique because of it.
I know there are people out there who covet diamonds, and if that’s your poison, I say go for it (unless it involves blood diamonds, in which case, you’re really into homicide and need some help for your addiction). I’ve never been one to shun sparkles, although I am especially drawn to costume jewelry, I hope eventually I will be able to invest in higher-quality pieces for my collection. I appreciate jewelry for the beauty, craftsmanship, creativity and/or uniqueness.
My least favorite part of the revelations brought on by reading this article is that we are so easily (as a society) manipulated by shiny things and marketing. Making more old, white guys rich doesn’t help anyone but them, and it certainly doesn’t strengthen your relationship. So, if you already have your precious shiny, appreciate it for the love it represents, and if not, maybe you’ll go through a similar process as I have in terms of adjusted perception. Ultimately, I think we’re in much more danger of losing access to things like water and chocolate, and THAT is a truly terrifying prospect, ladies and gents.
How do you feel about diamond engagement rings? Do you think you (or your sweetheart) have been susceptible to this marketing campaign? Do you think it’s all bunk, and would swim in a diamond-encrusted pool given the opportunity?? (I totally would! Especially if DeBeers stopped hoarding them like dragons, then they would cost less than ceramic tile!)