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:
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.
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.
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!)
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.
Diamonds with strings attached. Did you know that only 11 percent of U.S. jewelry stores practice a conflict diamonds policy and 67 percent 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.
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…
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.)
Each week here at EcoSalon, the editors choose a post from the archives that we think you’ll love. The original post can be found here.