Are Diamonds Really “A Girl’s Best Friend”?

by Thembi Ford

Swiss luxury jeweler Shawish has revealed what it’s calling “the world’s first diamond ring”, an all-diamond 150 carat blingtastic thing of gaudy beauty that’s valued at $68 million. You gotta look at it, gasp, sigh, and wonder how long it’ll take for Claire’s to make a costume jewelry version that will probably give you some kind of rash but achieve the same effect for $4.99.

I’m not sure who this ring is intended for at that price, but as someone who has never owned a real diamond, $68 million sounds almost as ridiculous as $20,000 or $10,000 or any amount that could buy me a car instead of a little shiny ring. I’m sure that the day will come when the man of my dreams pops the question with a ring in hand that will be too small for my ideal liking or placed in my less-than-favorite setting, or cut into an unappealing shape, but I’ll be so happy to have found the man of my dreams that I’d ever object to any expression of his commitment to me. When it comes down to it, diamonds are pretty to look at and everything but I don’t get the big deal. And I definitely cannot wrap my head around women who insist on having a ring of a certain size or measure the worthiness of a proposal by the size of the rock. At least, that’s what I like to believe about myself.

Very few of us openly admit that we’re shallow, so sometimes we let pop culture do it for us. Do you remember when Aidan proposed to Carrie on Sex and The City and she was upset because the ring was pear-shaped? Or did you catch last week’s Real Housewives of Atlanta when Sheree hovered over her future son-in-law vetoing any ring in the jewelry store that she deemed too small for her little princess? These people are particularly shallow examples, but is there a part of us that understands where they’re coming from? Or is the cultural cliché about women and our love for diamonds overblown?

What do you think?

  • LAD86

    Some women LOVE diamonds, I don’t. I actually don’t care too much for wearing jewelry and have had women and men concern themselves with my lack of jewelry. Whatever.

  • CurlySue

    I do love diamonds, admittedly. But that sh*t is just tacky lol. It says “I have tons of money and couldn’t buy an ounce of taste”

  • PJ

    No diamond required! :)

  • lostluv224

    That ring would look SICK upon a finger. like stop in your tracks

  • Zaza

    emperor clothes or what?no matter how many millions it cost it looks like plastic to me!

  • mamareese

    I could care less….looks like glass to me….Whew were are the blood diamond comments at cause to carve this to fit a ring finger means this was HUGE!

  • mahogany

    The price is as ridiculous as the ring!

  • http://afrikanmami.blogpsot.com African Mami

    I openly admit I am shallow as all hell! Let me tell you, there are rings made from beads, kente cloth, you name it from the motherland, if dude presented me with one of those-guess what I would NOT accept the proposal to me that is utterly disrespectful to present me with a cheap ring. I don’t curr, if I come across as materialistic, but I want a ring that will knock em blind-who is they?! all the vain people across the world.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    too much blood on the diamonds……….

  • Monique

    It cant be resized

  • http://cupofjo-jo.blogspot.com bk chick

    I hate diamonds. To me they are bland looking and uninspiring. I am not anti-jewelry I’m just more into things that catch my eye…diamonds are not one of those things.

  • The Taker

    I actually really dont care for diamonds. They are beautiful but I LOOOVEE and very much prefer gold. If I ever get married, I would want my engagement ring to be a simple beautiful gold band or something artsy. But that’s just me. And NO to that ring. I cant fathom any justification that even the wealthiest person in the world would use to buy such a ring. I will be for once, one of those people who believe you should do something much more useful and thoughtful with $68 million.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogpsot.com African Mami

    oh mi gosh me 2! Love gold rings May be it’s a cultural blondie moment, but gold is more precious in Africa……..oh

  • OSHH

    I love jewelry, all kinds from costume to precious stones and metals.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    I’m a fan of coloured stones myself (in the red, yellow-green, and orange ranges). Not diamonds – I find them over-hyped and over-priced. When I see solid proof that Expensive Well-Cut High Carat Diamond Ring = Long and Happy Marriage, then I’ll ride the ice bandwagon. Throw in the fact that you can’t be certain whether or not the diamond is conflict-free (if I’m a diamond seller, you think I’d say otherwise?), and it ends up being a mood killer.

    Where precious metals are concerned? Sterling silver, gold and platinum.

  • Isis

    Never had a diamond ring but I love them. So beautiful and I love what they symbolize.

  • Whatever

    “Now, the biggest culprit in this scam is the De Beers company, who basically created the tradition of diamond engagement rings out of thin air with brilliant marketing campaigns in the early to mid-20th century. They also created the so called “standard” that the ring should cost two to three the man’s monthly wage. To add insult to injury, De Beers fixes the price by creating an artificial scarcity of diamonds. They are able to do this because they are a monopoly. Unfortunately, the UK’s antitrust laws are not quite as robust as those of the US. The founders of De Beers are some totally worthless bastards that have made life worse for men everywhere.”

    http://www.inmalafide.com/blog/2011/07/27/the-diamond-ring-scam/

  • Whatever

    FOREVER DIAMONDS
    A powerful company, a catchy slogan, and how they forever changed the way we value diamonds.

    By Barry B. Kaplan

    Birth of a Legend

    The prestigious US magazine, Advertising Age, in its January 1999 edition, proclaimed “A Diamond is Forever”, the most recognized and effective slogan of the twentieth century. Today, diamond engagement rings are commonplace, but were it not for a single company and its drive to dominate the diamond industry, history would have turned out differently.

    Diamonds are not as rare as many people think; they are certainly not the rarest of gemstones – that honor goes to rubies – but they are the hardest. The illusion of diamond scarcity and its instant association with the concepts of romance and affluence can be traced back to a successful meeting in New York between Harry Oppenheimer and the president of N.W. Ayer & Son, Gerold M. Lauck, in September 1938.

    Harry Oppenheimer was the son of the founder of the company that would become the most successful cartel of the twentieth century – De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. The South African company incorporated in 1888, during the burgeoning local diamond rush. At its formation and over the ensuing years, De Beers would successfully acquire countless interests in diamond mines and production facilities throughout the world.

    The gift of love

    N.W. Ayer & Son, a leading advertising agency in the United States, and the young Oppenheimer,encouraged by his bankers, sought to reverse the declining price of diamonds with a well-funded advertising campaign. Europeans were not yet taken with the idea of purchasing engagement rings featuring diamonds as the gemstone of choice. Moreover, impending war in Europe forced Oppenheimer and his bankers to promote their interests in their biggest market – the United States. At the time of the meeting with Ayer, three quarters of the cartel’s diamonds were being sold there. But difficulties beleaguered this market too; diamonds were of an inferior quality to those sold in Europe, and prices were low – an average of $80 per stone.

    Oppenheimer told Ayer that De Beers had not approached any other agencies and that if Ayer’s plan was accepted, it would become the exclusive agency for promoting De Beers’ interests in the United States. This shrewd tactic proved to be a strong motivating factor for N.W. Ayer, and after extensive research, the agency proposed a campaign to “channel American spending toward larger and more expensive diamonds”.

    To achieve this goal, Ayer further recommended strengthening the association of diamonds with romance. Young men, who purchased 90% of engagement rings, would be bombarded with the idea that diamonds were the gift of love. The first campaign aimed at men was launched in 1939 emphasizing the male’s business savvy. Women, too, would be targeted with the idea that no courtship would be complete without a sparkling diamond. Famous houses of worship were featured in follow up advertisements, establishing a link between diamonds and the sacred tradition of a religious wedding.

  • Whatever

    De Beers Blood Diamonds Article

    In a CNN article back in 2001, De Beers blood diamonds were defined as “conflict diamonds which originate from Africa controlled by forces fighting the legitimate and internationall recognized government of the relevant country.”

    These blood diamonds have started wars in at least three African countries and while De Beers refutes the rumors that they are involved, there is much speculation that they are.

    They are, after all, the world’s largest producer of diamonds. And they are in close contact with South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Tanzania, where they have always had diamond mines. De Beers has been mining diamonds for more than 100 years and those African countries are privvy to their involvement.

  • Whatever

    Ten Reasons Why You Should Never Accept a Diamond Ring from Anyone, Under Any Circumstances, Even If They Really Want to Give You One

    1. You’ve Been Psychologically Conditioned To Want a Diamond
    The diamond engagement ring is a 63-year-old invention of N.W.Ayer advertising agency. The De Beers diamond cartel contracted N.W.Ayer to create a demand for what are, essentially, useless hunks of rock.

    2. Diamonds are Priced Well Above Their Value
    The De Beers cartel has systematically held diamond prices at levels far greater than their abundance would generate under anything even remotely resembling perfect competition. All diamonds not already under its control are bought by the cartel, and then the De Beers cartel carefully managed world diamond supply in order to keep prices steadily high.

    3. Diamonds Have No Resale or Investment Value
    Any diamond that you buy or receive will indeed be yours forever: De Beers’ advertising deliberately brain-washed women not to sell; the steady price is a tool to prevent speculation in diamonds; and no dealer will buy a diamond from you. You can only sell it at a diamond purchasing center or a pawn shop where you will receive a tiny fraction of its original “value.”

    4. Diamond Miners are Disproportionately Exposed to HIV/AIDS
    Many diamond mining camps enforce all-male, no-family rules. Men contract HIV/AIDS from camp sex-workers, while women married to miners have no access to employment, no income outside of their husbands and no bargaining power for negotiating safe sex, and thus are at extremely high risk of contracting HIV.

    5. Open-Pit Diamond Mines Pose Environmental Threats
    Diamond mines are open pits where salts, heavy minerals, organisms, oil, and chemicals from mining equipment freely leach into ground-water, endangering people in nearby mining camps and villages, as well as downstream plants and animals.

    6. Diamond Mine-Owners Violate Indigenous People’s Rights
    Diamond mines in Australia, Canada, India and many countries in Africa are situated on lands traditionally associated with indigenous peoples. Many of these communities have been displaced, while others remain, often at great cost to their health, livelihoods and traditional cultures.

    7. Slave Laborers Cut and Polish Diamonds
    More than one-half of the world’s diamonds are processed in India where many of the cutters and polishers are bonded child laborers. Bonded children work to pay off the debts of their relatives, often unsuccessfully. When they reach adulthood their debt is passed on to their younger siblings or to their own children.

    8. Conflict Diamonds Fund Civil Wars in Africa
    There is no reliable way to insure that your diamond was not mined or stolen by government or rebel military forces in order to finance civil conflict. Conflict diamonds are traded either for guns or for cash to pay and feed soldiers.

    9. Diamond Wars are Fought Using Child Warriors
    Many diamond producing governments and rebel forces use children as soldiers, laborers in military camps, and sex slaves. Child soldiers are given drugs to overcome their fear and reluctance to participate in atrocities.

    10. Small Arms Trade is Intimately Related to Diamond Smuggling
    Illicit diamonds inflame the clandestine trade of small arms. There are 500 billion small arms in the world today which are used to kill 500,000 people annually, the vast majority of whom are non-combatants.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogpsot.com African Mami

    Thanks for the link…useful info….but eh, my focus was on the comment section, and this one dude was talking about his wife having bought him a diamond ring?! Wait what?! Isn’t it the man who buys the rings?! I mean…

  • RachPar

    I also would love to just have a simple gold band. Simple and classic.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    white people stole the land from black people.
    they force black people to mine the diamond.
    they ship the diamond to US.
    US oppressed black people buy the diamond.

    the entire thing is sick.

  • connie gail

    Me being kinda homeless lol! I guess 68,000 million would buy me a GREAT house!
    so no can’t be a diamond lover, I like white gold if I had my choice! The diamond I do have was my mom’s and so that’s good enough for me!

  • Beanie

    I love the look of diamonds but wear man-made diamond jewels. There are some very good high quality replicas out there now so there is no reason the either buy, give or accept a real diamond base on the principals Whatever has listed. Thank you for taking the time to do that, btw.

  • Kessie

    I bought my husband a pair of diamond cuff links after he proposed. It was a nice gesture and a thank-you in return for the diamond ring he brought me as my engagement ring.

    If he was the type I know who would wear a ring with diamonds, I probably would have bought him one. He went for a solid brushed titanium band instead.

    I know quite a few women who give their partners an “engagement” gift…sometimes it’s a ring or a watch or in my case cuff links. I personally think it’s a nice gesture.

  • binks

    I only like diamond studs, I am not a fan of rings in general but when I do get one I prefer it to look unique than the standard diamond ring.

  • msbklynqn

    I don’t know about you (call me shallow) but I am drooling. A finger could drop off from frost bite with so much ice around it! hmmmm. Nobody can’t tell me that just for one minute they wouldn’t want to wear it.

  • chanela

    its so goddamn childish when women are mad and throwing a hissy fit over getting the “wrong” engagement ring. bish be happy somebody actually wants to marry your foolish ass! honestly, its silly cause women only care about what the ring looks like just so they can show it off to their coworkers and friends and make them jealous. wtf?

    if you’re gonna talk shit then buy your own damn ring. that man obviously loves you enough to spend thousands on something so small and trivial as well as spend the rest of his life with you and all you focus on is the ring? SMH

    sorry to rant but this shit pisses me off about women.

  • J

    Diamonds don’t symbolize ANYTHING other than one of the most successful advertising campaigns in history. Diamonds have NO INTRINSIC VALUE. The notion of exchanging a diamond for love was not created organically nor through a real love story. It was made up by room full of greedy and imperialistic men.

    I personally refuse to be blinded (pun intended).

    In addition to the great information Whatever listed please read this: http://edwardjayepstein.com/diamond/chap13.htm

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    @chanela,

    It ain’t trivial….you make it seem trivial….but that ish is serious!

  • Isis

    A man giving a woman an engagement ring symbolizes his love, adoration and commitment to her. I think those are pretty great things. I’m sorry you don’t

  • binks

    +1000

  • rapheaL

    Yes they are!!! …………….WOMEN ARE STUPID!!!

    A women would pay thousands of dollars for diamond. However would not pay over a 10 for a cubic zirconia . They both look identical. If tomorrow the world told women that cubic zirconia is actual worth more than diamonds they would switch in a matter of days.

  • Zaza

    Is there really a need to be insulting like that?
    And with your logic aren’t men just as ‘stupid’ for buying the rings the women recieve? Are those cars worth hundreds of thousands that many men dream of driving really ‘worth’ that $250,000 or whatever they cost?Nope.
    Both men and women buy into societal values of what certain objects and products are ‘worth’.

  • Jaznea Brumfield

    I don’t need any ring to prove my mans love, so if we are poor with little money or just middle class all I care about is living my life happily and being loved by the man of my dreams broke or not ..

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