Diamonds of Deception- Lies from the Diamond Industry
My Hartique Gems jewelry line promotes life. Luxury doesn't kill. I enjoy reading articles from others who share my opinion on diamonds. I hope my readers find this insightful and enlightening.
"People like to think that when they’re giving someone a diamond engagement ring, they’re harkening back to some glorious tradition passed down through the ages. In reality, they’re harkening back to a “tradition” that began less than a hundred years ago. A tradition created, conveniently enough, by a diamond cartel.
You see, in the 1930s, exactly no one was buying diamonds–what with it being the depression and all. People were ostensibly too busy hoarding tin foil and living in Hoovervilles to shower anyone with sparkly, overpriced gemstones. The DeBeers Corporation realized this was going to be kind of a problem for them, so they had to figure out a way to still sell some diamonds, what with the fact that they owned 90% of the world’s diamonds at that point and all.
In 1938, DeBeers hired America’s first advertising agency, N.W. Ayer & Son, to create what ended up being the world’s most successful marketing campaign in history. The strategy, first and foremost, was to link diamonds inextricably to the idea of love. Despite the fact that few Americans could afford such a luxury at that time, the firm insisted “It is essential that these pressures be met by the constant publicity to show that only the diamond is everywhere accepted and recognized as the symbol of betrothal.”
They put diamonds on the engaged hands of Hollywood celebrities, pushed stories in the gossip rags about how big so and so’s diamond was, got movie studios to include diamond engagement rings as plot devices, went to high schools to talk to young men and women about getting engaged and how very important a diamond engagement ring was to the future of their relationships. The bigger and better quality of a diamond, the more a woman was loved.
The campaign was more than successful. Whereas in 1939, only 10% of engagement rings were diamonds, by 1980, 90% of them were.
They invented the process of buying a diamond engagement ring. In America, they said the ring ought to cost two months salary–whereas in England, they suggested one month and in Japan, three. They invented the idea of the 4 C’s– color, clarity, cut and carats. They invented the scarcity of the gemstones, which were actually available in abundance. Thus, they were able to charge far more than they were ever worth.
Diamonds Are Forever?
In 1948, Frances Gerety, a female copywriter at N.W. Ayers, created the slogan “A Diamond is Forever.” Not only is it one of the best known slogans of all time (and my favorite thing to sing at karaoke– I do a killer Shirley Bassey impersonation), it’s also one of the most successful.
You see, diamonds have no resale value, so, when you get one, it really is yours forever. Unless you want to take a big financial loss.
Part of this is because they actually have no intrinsic value. While there are diamonds that are “investment quality”–you probably don’t own one. If you were to try and sell a diamond, you’d actually have to sell it at less than wholesale. When you buy a diamond, it’s marked up 100% to 200%, so in order for the retailer to not take a loss on it, they can’t pay you too much for it.
The other part of it is due to more fancy marketing. You see, if a diamond is forever, if it is something to be cherished as a symbol of one’s undying love, no one wants anyone else’s old diamond. They want their own diamond. A new diamond, untainted by someone else’s failed love affair. Thus, everyone keeps buying new diamonds, and the market will never be flooded by the old ones. It’s an incredible marketing scheme, when you really think about it.
All of a sudden, we’re seeing a ton of commercials featuring fancy “Chocolate Diamonds.” What’s not to like, ladies? You like chocolate and also shiny objects! It is a match made in heaven!
Except it’s just more marketing bullshit.
Brown is the most common color of diamonds. For years and years and years, they were considered totally unsaleable. They were essentially worthless. No one wanted anything to do with brown diamonds. Then, someone decided to market them as “Chocolate Diamonds” and sell them for the same prices as other diamonds!
Oh, and also all the slavery
While we have a ban on conflict diamonds in this country, unless a company is like Tiffany’s and actually owns their own diamond mines, it’s almost impossible to really know if your diamond was mined by a child slave or not.
Even if it wasn’t, it’s the demand for diamonds in general that keeps the blood diamond trade going–so whether or not you actually purchase a conflict diamond, you’re still kind of contributing to the problem."
By Robyn Pennacchia