Diamonds Aren't a Girl's Best Friend

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Who am I to argue with the Madison Avenue suits who coined the phrase “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”?

If only diamonds were all we believe them to be. The violence resulting from the diamond mining and trading industry is, in a word, tragic. And, as it turns out, diamonds aren’t even as valuable as we’ve been told.

First, a little primer:

The U.S. happens to be the largest consumer of conflict diamonds, purchasing over $33.7 billion dollars’ worth of the rocks in 2005. Wondering what conflict diamonds are? I’m no fawning fan of DiCaprio, but the film “Blood Diamond” is nowhere near as fictional as we’d like it to be. Conflict diamonds involve abuse, corruption and death. There goes that gorgeous, shimmery, sparkling stone set in platinum I’ve been dreaming about.

Here are several important reasons you should never, ever buy (or accept) a diamond:

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- We’ve been conditioned to want a diamond. Pavlov much? Who isn’t tired of the advertising and marketing ploys used to brainwash us into believing our value as women rests on the size of our…gem? (Toss that in with measurements and marital status and we’ve got an endless supply of not-good-enough.) Marketers have thrown us a giant, glittering bone, and watched the profits pile up as we’ve chased, fetched and rolled over in order to conform to what we’ve been conditioned to believe is the only acceptable standard.

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-Diamond prices have been artificially inflated by the diamond cartel. The average diamond sold in the U.S. has been over-graded in quality by 2 grades, and the average U.S. couple pays twice what they should for an engagement ring. Do you really want to enter into a lifelong commitment with a man who’s willing to waste his hard-earned cash on a diamond, especially when said diamond is ridiculously overpriced? Okay, well, me too. Forget number 2 and let’s move on to the third reason to avoid diamonds.

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-Diamonds are anything but an “investment”. A 1-carat diamond will set him back about $5,000, which amounts to $710,000 per ounce. Worse even than a car once it’s driven off the sales lot, a diamond will never be worth what you’ve paid for it. Try to trade it or sell it or pawn it and you’ll be sorely disappointed. Do you know why? Because their “worth” has been artificially inflated! Diamonds aren’t scarce or rare.

Just don’t tell him this until after it’s on your finger. (Kidding!)

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-Conflict diamonds. Any lover shallow enough to buy you a diamond to “make up” for misbehavin’ ways is indeed dumb enough to think that the name “conflict diamonds” refers to relationship issues. Ditch that man and his diamonds…fast. Blood diamonds have resulted in over 4 million deaths in Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Ivory Coast. One shiny rock, 4 million lives.

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-Diamonds with strings attached. Did you know that only 11% of U.S. jewelry stores practice a conflict diamonds policy and 67% won’t even discuss the topic when asked if they have one? Just because he bought you dinner, I mean a diamond, doesn’t mean you have to marry him. Presents aren’t promises, and kisses aren’t for keeps.

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-Diamond mines damage the environment. This is important, even though it’s true of all types of mining, not just diamond mining. Mines are dangerous for workers (including children) and threaten our planet, too. I wish there were a way to dig that deep without so much damage.

And last but definitely not least…

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-A diamond is not forever. Nothing is forever, my friends. Engagements, marriages, jobs, you name it. If they happen to last a long time, then you are indeed a very lucky person. Why do we kid ourselves into believing that a sparkling rock, delivered to us on the backs of the abused, purchased for more than it’s worth, marketed for more than it means and obtained at the expense of our own dear planet will keep love alive?

And please tell me why I still melt, just a little, at the sight of a beautiful, shimmering diamond ring perched on a shelf in a store window.

(Lastly, did you know? There are some great alternatives: you can buy vintage diamonds – at a fraction of the cost! – and retailers like Brilliant Earth and Green Karat are eco-friendly and cruelty-free, too.)

Images: fashionjewelry, stephend9, ruby-jade-sapphire-pearl, smh, nyinquirer, starryskies, hairdecor, hourglass diamond

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DISCUSSION

24 thoughts on “Diamonds Aren't a Girl's Best Friend

  1. Pingback: Diamonds Aren’t a Girl’s Only Best Friend

  2. Pingback: Diamonds a girls best friend? I think not! - Page 2 - Religious Education Forum

  3. Girl’s best friend is…. .Of course the boy.If the girl want to buy some diamonds,who will pay the bill?

  4. All diamonds are conflict diamonds and just becasue grandpa was duped by sly marketers into buying one doesn’t mean the dirty past is erased when you pass it down…sorry folks, but this is the reality. Do you really want something with that kind of bloody karma to express your love? Of course not. A hundred plus years ago a natural (not force cultured) pearl was the engagement ring of choice. A beautiful and truly rare gem from an irritant.

    Even when you buy Canadian diamonds remember you are showing support for the overall industry and charging you a lot more than it is truly worth (they are not rare) is imperialism too. We are smart aware people with access to lots of information.

    Start a new trend and wear something which truly reflects your love and devotion. Maybe a locally mined gem (check out conditions) or a plain band. No amount of jewelry will ever truly represent the intangible which is love.

    I am a jewelry who has always believed in American mined and cut gems which are not part of a price controlled cartel.

  5. Pingback: Alex and Ani: Eco-Conscious Jewelry Made in the USA + Giveaway | Your Daily Thread - YDT

  6. Pingback: …Or Are They? « My World

  7. I was a diamond buyer for a long time until I started having some financial problems and wanted to pawn some of my jewelry to find out that they were going to pay me pennies for something I spent thousands on. I say that to say this, most people buy diamonds because of what society says, most women probably wouldn’t mind buying moissanite or any other stone if they didn’t have to worry about what other people thought. Diamonds were based on status quo. I now buy moissanite because it gives off a sparkle that i cannot refuse and it is eco/green, no one is getting killed to produce these stones, so on that note I will tell the ladies that if you see someone wearing a beautiful piece of jewelry let that person know that you admire their jewelry, you should never asked a person if their stones are real of fake. I’ve learned why waste money on something that has no real value just to pour money down the drain. My husband knows that he means the world to me and that diamonds come and go but the real value is in him and how he supports me,loves me, and to me he’s the best investment i ever made and no piece of jewelry can compare to that.

  8. Who’s to say that other gemstones are exempt from the same qualifying factors that would make a conflict diamond? At this very moment we have an import ban on gemstones from Myanmar (Burma). Some of the most beautiful rubies (now simply called “pigeon blood” rubies) and spinel ever discovered are from that region; yet that government participates in the same corrupt, murderous activities as “conflict diamond” countries. And really, for all intents and purposes, the mining of any material (be it a gemstone, metal, oil, etc) is not a ‘pretty’ process. In many many countries all around the world miners are fraught with poor living conditions and low wages.

    While it is true that diamonds can be made by man (as can ANY other gemstone), that doesn’t necessarily make them a viable ‘competitor’ for natural diamonds. There is a great deal of expense involved in the growing of them; as well as a general disinterest in synthetic stones from the public at large. In time, they may become considerably more popular as views change and the process becomes more accessible, but I doubt that day is very near at hand.

    As far as diamond simulants are concerned; I have yet to see one that actually looks and acts like a diamond. There are actually quite a number of simulants including, but not limited to (in loose order of actual closeness to diamond characteristics): colorless topaz, white sapphire, cubic zirconia, white zircon, Y.A.G. (yttrium aluminum garnet), G.G.G. (gadolinium gallium garnet), and moissanite. You will often hear that you can’t tell the difference between them, and that moissanite “looks just like a diamond.” But the reality is that they don’t. Once you’ve seen a few diamonds, you can quite easily pick out a simulant from a bunch.

    I will not argue the point of fairly commonly seeing diamonds that are incorrectly graded. There are a number of gem labs that offer certificates that, really, aren’t worth the paper on which they’re printed. Labs such as GIA, EGL, and HRD are reputable and consistently provide accurate certs. Of the hundreds of diamonds labs, those are the only three I believe are worth trusting.

    As far as being conditioned to want diamonds…it isn’t any different that any other ad campaign that has ever existed, ever. Think about it in depth. Think of what grocery and department stores, automobile dealers, jewelry stores, or any other retail industry, tries to get you to think you need. In a society so driven by gross consumerism, is it really a surprise that a company with a particular product wouldn’t try to develop a desire for it? Any person who has ever tried to sell something has done this. From garage sales, to eBay, to diamonds; it’s no different.
    I think that people really don’t like the fact that a particular ad campaign was so successful. As a species we do not like to see others succeed; so seeing a campaign that has been wildly successful for over 100 years must send people into fits of rage.

    Some of you may think I’m crazy…but my views come from being accidentally involved in the jewelry industry. I became a jeweler because I needed a job; not because I had an inflated view of the industry, or really any interest in it at all. To be honest, that has made me able to view the industry objectively and stay emotionally detached. Having a thirst for knowledge helps considerably as well. There is an unmeasurable amount of emotional attachment to jewelry. It does not matter whether it is a ring purchased for $5 at a pawn shop, or a $100,000 custom made work of art. They are equally valuable to their respective owners. Time and time again I see people buy jewelry because it brings joy either to themselves or to others. Even in this recent time of economic turmoil people still bought jewelry. The store I work for sold more diamonds this year than any other. No matter their financial shape, people still put money aside to buy their loved ones jewelry for Christmas.

    On a parting note. It gets old hearing about conflict diamonds so often. As Reaper so sarcastically stated “where can you buy one?” The Kimberly Process is a powerful movement, and a growing number of diamond dealers are involved in it. As a retail store buying a diamond from a dealer, I would guarantee that there would be a good bit of difficulty in even trying to find a conflict diamond (colored stones are a whole different matter).
    So really it boils down to consumer knowledge and trust. Find a local jeweler. Don’t put your trust in a large chain. Find a local, independent jeweler who will work with you. Buy what makes you happy. If conflict diamonds are a threat to the industry; the industry will fix itself.

    There is a good saying in this industry. “If you don’t know your jewels, know your jeweler.” Find one you can trust.

  9. Why diamonds when there are so many more interesting coloured stones out there? I’d much prefer a stone with colour and character than a diamond. Antiques are good too, as you’re recycling jewellery.

  10. I think you’re going to want to make one exception.
    http://www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com/
    It’s a place in Arkansas where you can dig up your own diamond and keep it. If you find a guy who goes out there and finds you a diamond himself, that’s a keeper ladies.

  11. I applaud your sentiments – diamonds are really just over hyped tat. Shame other precious stones are not held in such high regards.

  12. Australian diamonds are not conflict diamonds – so all is not lost . If you purchase Argyle diamonds in Perth , Western Australia , you are guaranteed conflict free diamonds .

  13. YOU FORGOT THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON WHY DIAMONDS ARE WORTHLESS —> DIAMONDS CAN BE EASILY MADE BY MAN —-> GOOGLE ARTIFICIAL DIAMONDS —-> THEY CANNOT BE TOLD APART FROM DIAMONDS FROM THE GROUND

  14. Anyone know where you can buy conflict diamonds? The article states that most are sold in the states, but I can’t find where. Please help — I’m planning to propose to my gf soon & I have to get the best ring possible!!!!!

  15. I was going to hotly contest this post, until the last sentence… But still, one sentence is not enough to recover from that assault on diamonds, so I guess I’ll contest it anyway. :O) I happen to be one of those women who loves diamonds, but I have *never* paid full price for one, nor do I ever intend to. Puh-leeze. It’s called a pawn shop… Pawn shops are fantastic places to *buy* jewelry. Just don’t ever make the mistake of selling jewelry to one of them. They are in the business to make money, and that means knowing you’re desperate and therefore knowing that you’ll take their offering of FAR less than the actual value of what your diamonds/gold/whatever is worth. Or even better, go to a jewelers exchange, where you know that something marked at $20,000 will usually cost you around $5,000, and if you need to sell or trade something, you can usually get a more fair deal. As mentioned in the post, who buys a car at full price at the dealership? And what’s wrong with a pre-owned stone, (much like a pre-owned car) so long as it wasn’t your schmoopy-darlings ex-wife’s ring? My engagement and wedding rings are antiques and the center stone was cut around the turn of the century, and I LOVE them. So many women turn their noses up at the idea of an antique or pre-owned ring, but to me, it just adds to the charm and romance, because then you can create a story about the woman (or women) who owned the ring before you… Of all my beautiful, high-end jewelry (antique and otherwise), only one piece was purchased at retail price, and that was by my mother-in-law who doesn’t know my feelings on the subject… Not a single other item, diamond, pearl, sapphire, anything, was purchased at retail or at even at half or the retail “price.” Anyway, given those options, there is no good reason why a woman shouldn’t own and enjoy as many diamonds as she wants and can afford, unless she really just doesn’t like them (I know a few :O). And I don’t think that a man who presents a woman with a beautiful stone should be degraded for doing so, either, because if the couple is close enough to get engaged, then they should be close enough that when he goes to pick one, he should know her feelings on the subject and should be able to choose an antique, pre-owned, or conflict free stone. And on another note, it is possible to contact (usually through jewelry exchanges) diamond dealers directly who will not only give much better prices on their stones than commercial (crap quality) retail jewelry stores will give, as well as (if they are a reputable dealer), including a certificate showing that the diamond you purchased from them is not a conflict diamond. What is not possible, however, is to convert someone who doesn’t care either way and will buy a stone just because they think it’s pretty, not because they know anything about it or whether it’s a good price or not. Most people don’t really do their research before purchasing jewelry and therefore are not only scammed out of money they shouldn’t pay, but are also furthering the conflict diamond trade because of it. While I have the utmost sympathy for those who have been harmed because of the diamond trade, I have a very hard time with those who get up in arms about the purchase of diamonds because if one spent any time researching the subject at all, they would easily see that blood diamonds are relatively easily avoided, and the “inflated” prices are just as easily avoided, so money is not wasted… If more people actually did do that, then it would be likely that conflict diamonds would become a thing of the past and diamonds would actually be worth the prices that are on those retail price tags. Anyhoo, just my two cents on the matter.

  16. Wow, great post gal! REALLY informational and well written – good job!! Miss ya!

  17. Fantastic Post! I had heard diamonds aren’t as rare as much as they have simply been well marketed as being such. I heard diamonds are more plentiful than quartz crystals but I have not done the research on that to know if it is fact. The point that 4 million people die for the diamond trade is the one fact that takes a lot of sparkle out of a little bling!

  18. This makes me very glad indeed that my beautiful engagement ring with emerald centerpiece offset by sparkly diamonds is antique. I hope it will last forever and give someone else (maybe my own daughter or granddaughter?) joy when I’m gone.

    Caitlin’s last blog post..Final hours for Passports with Purpose

  19. Great post! I’m not a fan of diamonds, part because of the conflict and part because there are stones (moissanite) that look just like diamonds but are prettier and much more affordable.

  20. Great post, Kim! I agree there are many old diamonds to go around. I don’t think a man who presents you with a diamond is a cad, just someone who is attempting to follow a long tradition. He should get the family stone from his mother, instead of buying new. Or, as you suggested, seek out a conflict-free stone.

 

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