Saturday 12 February 2005
Reasons for hating diamonds & diamond engagement rings
These are pretty much the main reasons why I don't like diamonds, and I don't believe in diamond engagement rings.
Personally, I would never accept diamond jewelery as a gift of any sort, and definitely not a diamond engagement ring. Chances are if someone knew me well enough to be proposing marriage to me, they would know how I feel about diamonds. If someone didn't know, or they offered me a diamond engagement ring anyway, I would question their suitability as my partner in life.
- It's a waste of money. As a form of jewelery, they serve no practical purpose, and there are plenty of other gems that look just as nice, if not better.
- They're not rare. So owning one isn't owning something rare or mysterious anyway, if that's the perceived appeal.
- It's not a good investment. The resale value isn't good. There's no collectors market. And De Beers controls large volumes of diamonds, and if & when that changes, and their stockpiles are let loose, diamonds will be worth only a tiny fraction of their current "value". The same will happen when the synthetic diamonds which are indistinguishable from real ones flood the market.
- Advertising campaigns & marketing schemes have duped people. And who likes to be duped?
- They could be used for vast improvements in technology, but they aren't, because De Beers favours making money off duping people who buy them for non-practical purposes.
- They have been used, and are still used, to fund nasty wars in some parts of the world.
- The people who mine diamonds often lack basic medical attention or adequate living conditions, never mind fancy baubles.
- There are other ways to declare your love, validate your relationship, and symbolize committment, without spending money in such a reckless, materialistic, and unconsciencious fashion.
- Diamond engagement rings are not an "age old tradition" - it's a rather new preference, propelled by an advertising campaign.
- Even in our modern, materialistic world, it's possible to live, exist, function, and be happy, without ever owning a diamond. And many of the world's most lovingly matched couples have never needed a diamond to validate their relationship, or prove their devotion to one another.
I also wouldn't want a synthetic diamond, but mainly on the grounds that I think there are other gemstones that are much prettier anyway, and because I just don't care to buy into the whole showing off materialistic social game crap.
For those who think I'm insulting them, for having given or received diamonds... I realize that much of the population is ignorant to the truth. Which is the bulk of the reason why this page exists. It exists to inform, not to insult. After reading all this information, there's no longer an excuse - if you still feel good about your diamond(s), and are still insulted somehow, there's not much I can do about that. Someone else's displeasure with the truth does not make me guilty of personally insulting anyone.
References and further reading:
Ten Reasons Why You Should Never Accept a Diamond Ring from Anyone, Under Any Circumstances, Even If They Really Want to Give You One
The Straight Dope: Is a diamond's price a true measure of its value?
"I bet if your wife knew the real story she'd prefer her next gift to be a nice socket-wrench set. Diamonds are a con, pure and simple. The topic is vast, so we won't discuss worker exploitation or for that matter "blood diamonds" used to finance African wars. Instead I'll focus on whether diamonds are worth the exorbitant sums charged for them. Answer: Of course not. Prices are kept high by a cynical cartel that preys on vanity and stupidity."
Wired 11.09: The New Diamond Age
The diamond industry fought back. Early last year, De Beers began shipping improved, even more sensitive DiamondSure machines to labs around the world. Meanwhile, industry groups led by the Jewelers Vigilance Committee have pressured the Federal Trade Commission to force Gemesis to label its stones as synthetic.
The tussle goes to the heart of the marketing problem for Gemesis or any maker of synthetic gems: How will consumers feel about them? The mystique of natural diamonds is anything but rational. Part of the allure is their high cost and supposed rarity. Yet diamonds are plentiful - De Beers maintains vast stockpiles and tightly controls supply.
Clever marketing may bring buyers around to manufactured diamonds. After all, there's no chance that they are so-called blood diamonds - stones sold by African rebels to fund wars and revolutions. And they aren't under the thumb of an international cartel accused of buying off foreign governments, despoiling the environment, flouting antimonopoly laws, and exploiting mine workers.
FRONTLINE: reports: the diamond empire | PBS
Second only to Christmas, Valentine's Day is the holiday when diamonds are most often given as the ultimate token of love. Central to the diamond's role as a romantic symbol is the belief that diamonds are one of the rarest, most precious gifts for a loved one. But it's only a myth--diamonds are found in plentiful supply. FRONTLINE examines how the great myth about the scarcity of diamonds and their inflated value was created and maintained over the decades by the diamond cartel. This report chronicles how one family, the Oppenheimers of South Africa, gained control of the supply, marketing, and pricing of the world's diamonds.
The History of the Engagement Ring
From 1880 De Beers were able to control the supply (and price) of diamonds but how were they going to control demand during a period when sales began dropping dramatically (up to 50%) in the 20s and 30s onwards through the great depression?
Just as platinum started to become popular in diamond engagement rings, diamonds were becoming less valued. Platinum was banned for all but war use during WWII and so the platinum diamond engagement rings as we know them today almost died out.
The answer to the problem was a new marketing campaign commissioned by De Beers that began in 1947.
The Holowach Blog: Diamonds are a girl's worst enemy
But, one might be able to forgive that. After all, it has become a sort of tradition, despite the origins. I would agree with that, except for the terrible way in which diamonds arrive at the shores of the U.S.
The South Africa-based De Beers cartel controls the diamond market overwhelmingly. By controlling existing sources of diamonds, limiting production, and if sometimes buying up surplus gems and stockpiling them, it can single-handedly control the price and market. So, the diamonds you're buying are worth a surprisingly shallow amount, but they have been overvalued hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars. You are being doubly duped.
After all this, if you still want that goddamn rock, then I can't stop you. But maybe the idea of thinking about child labor, AIDS-infected miners, and violent civil wars every time you look at that ring on your finger will give you pause to reconsider.
NEPA Whirl-Mart - Diamonds are a gullible girl's best friend
"But Donna Bergenstock, a marketing professor at Muhlenberg College, points out their scarcity is a myth, one created long ago by DeBeers, the South African company that's dug up most of the world's diamonds."
Diamonds are for everyone - Recently. A (We)Blog
Well I beg to differ, Iíd say itís not a symbol of eternal love if thereís a stockpile in a warehouse thatís collecting dust. Or if it is a blood diamond. I donít plan on giving De Beers any of my money.
Howstuffworks "How Diamonds Work"
"Diamonds are just carbon in its most concentrated form. That's it -- carbon, the element that makes up 18 percent of the weight of your body. In many countries, including the United States and Japan, there is no other gemstone as cherished as the diamond, but in truth, diamonds are no more rare than many other precious gems. They continue to demand higher market prices because the majority of the diamond market is controlled by a single entity."
ZachEverson.com: Diamonds are for suckers: How De Beers transformed diamonds into a symbol of love
"Contrary to popular opinion, diamonds can shatter, crack, discolor, and lose value. And they are not rare. In fact, diamonds have been plentiful since 1870, when huge deposits were discovered near the Orange River, in South Africa. 3 Diamonds are now mined in several African countries, as well as in Russia, Australia, and Canada. At first, De Beers controlled 90 percent of the diamond market and, by controlling supply, was able to maintain the illusion of scarcity ó and keep prices high. Now De Beers controls about 66 percent of the market. 4 The newer players have not challenged De Beersís artificially inflated prices, however, as they benefit from them too."
Harvard International Review: Dying for Diamonds
By selling diamonds, Africa's rebels have been able to resupply themselves almost constantly, prolonging their reigns of terror and brutality in countries like Angola that have not seen peace in years.
Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Deadly Path of the World's Most Precious Stones
"Blood Diamonds is not driven by ideological ranting or self-righteous outrage. What gives the book its compelling rhythm is the simple, grim symmetry that Campbell lays before the reader. He contrasts, for example, the image of diamonds glittering on distant hands with the severed hands of locals who have never even seen the stones they are suffering for."
AfricaFiles | Diamonds are a war's best friend
Since the end of the Cold War, the conflict in Angola has developed into a bloody political and ethnic war funded by diamonds and oil, resulting in over half a million deaths. The fourth richest country in the world in terms of mineral resources, Angola is also the fourth poorest in terms of standard of living. Angola's natural resources, which should bring it relative prosperity, have been at the centre of the country's devastation. This article examines the role of diamonds in the Angolan conflict in the 1990s. It focuses on UNITA's involvement in the diamond trade and the activities of transnational diamond companies, particularly in light of UN sanctions.
Majikthise : Greed is forever: De Beers cops a plea
"De Beers is a hardened corporate criminal with a long US rap sheet. De Beers first ran afoul of US authorities during World War II for refusing to provide industrial diamonds for the war effort. The Justice Department pursued price-fixing charges against the company in 1945, 1957 and 1974."
Dangerous Diamonds - Scandals Behind the Sparkle of the World's Most Desirable Gems
Diamonds are forever - the ultimate luxury good in the status stakes. They also grind out the tools and precisions parts on which our advanced civilization depends. Diamonds can add glamour to the most beautiful woman; they also finance the cruellest of civil wars. Ever since Cecil Rhodes imperial adventures in the late 19th century, a single company has stealthily extended its influence on the global market for diamonds until it achieved almost total control.
(Further links found in the future will be added in the comments.)
posted by Chloe | Saturday 12 February 2005 1:27 PM