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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Diamond Fiction

Oh look, its Hallmark Holiday Day AKA Valentine’s Day. On this day you should be:
  1. Married or otherwise involved and truly, madly, deeply in love. (check)
  2. Going to an anti-Valentine’s Day/Celebrate Your Freedom event OR a Screw Cupid party or pub crawl.
  3. In a bad relationship, contacting a lawyer so’s you can sue the shit out of Eros (and that fucking, fat, baby archer too) and doing your damnedest to ignore the day’s bullshit hype.
  4. Dating, truly, madly, deeply in love and about to propose or be proposed to.
If you fall into category four, do think twice before you hit your local E.B. Horn or Cartier for the marital promissory note.

I’ve never been a diamond fan. Sure, sure, they’re pretty, sparkly things but I like color. In the, strictly speaking, precious realm, I’ll take rubies and sapphires over diamonds any day.
Semi precious is more my bag though—you know, garnets, amethysts, tourmalines to name just a few. Oh and I like sea glass and beach pebbles too. Why? They’re beautiful AND not so damn pricey. I just don’t get the whole spend-one-to-three-months-pay-on-an-engagement-ring bullshit. Never have. But then, I also don’t understand why anyone would shell out thousands on a dress that’s worn just once.

Best I can tell, most of us aren’t scions of mondo wealth. Is this really the best use of meager funds? Is this the smartest way to start out a life together—broke and in debt?

I’m not just being cheap or contrary here when I say diamond engagement ring, meh.

This didn’t become engraved-in-granite-tradition organically. Fuck no. Serious, Dark Arts Marketeers brought this wickedly extravagant practice into being.
The British businessmen operating the South African mines recognized that only by maintaining the fiction that diamonds were scarce and inherently valuable could they protect their investments and buoy diamond prices.
Meanwhile, the price of diamonds was falling around the world (ed. note: this was around the time of the Great Depression). The folks at Ayer (DeBeers New York marketing firm) set out to persuade young men that diamonds (and only diamonds) were synonymous with romance, and that the measure of a man's love (and even his personal and professional success) was directly proportional to the size and quality of the diamond he purchased. Young women, in turn, had to be convinced that courtship concluded, invariably, in a diamond.
It worked. With slogans like Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and Diamonds are forever demand skyrocketed. Last year, Americans spent almost $7 billion on the rings. Jesus!
Advertising is legalized lying.
~ H.G. Wells
 Do you honestly like diamonds because you find them more beautiful than every other stone on the planet?  Do you believe that only a diamond can adequately symbolize ’til-death-do-us-part, forever love?

If so, have at it BUT keep this in mind about the obscenely overpriced sparklers—the Blood or Conflict Diamond phenom.
Some diamonds have helped fund devastating civil wars in Africa, destroying the lives of millions. Conflict diamonds are those sold in order to fund armed conflict and civil war. Profits from the trade in conflict diamonds, worth billions of dollars, were used by warlords and rebels to buy arms during the devastating wars in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sierra Leone. Wars that have cost an estimated 3.7 million lives.
If nothing but a diamond will do, at least make sure it’s one that’s conflict-free and, for that matter, ethically sourced. Me? I’m sticking with my warm, deep wine colored garnet designed and created by Bill Butler of Artisans Hand in Montpelier Vermont.

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