Love and Diamonds

“There was a time when love didn’t equal diamonds,” I explain to a girlfriend whose boyfriend is all but guaranteed to be her fiancée soon. She’s freaking out about whether he’s going to pick the right ring. I’m freaking out because I didn’t think my girlfriends did this.

“But everyone asks to see the ring,” She protests, “It’s the first thing they ask.” This is a disgusting and true statement.

“That’s totally untrue,” I lie. “Not all women like diamonds. Not all women should like diamonds. They’re not exactly good for the environment. The diamonds,” I clarify, “or the women.”

She shakes her head. I’m hopeless. She turns back to the Tiffany ad, which started the argument.

If my friend would listen to me, if what I could tell her would calm her mind, or change her perspective I would have said something like this…

There was a time when love didn’t equal diamonds. Diamond engagement rings weren’t common before the beginning of the 20th century. Before the diamond boom fiancées sometimes gifted a thimble as a promise to wed in the near future (albeit not an exciting choice - quaint none-the-less). But when large diamond mines were discovered in South Africa in the late 1800, diamond giant De Beers had to figure out how to increase the demand for diamonds or watch the price of the once rare jewel plummet.

“Big girls need big diamonds.” – Elizabeth Taylor

In 1937 De Beers hired N. W. Ayer one of the most successful advertising agencies in the U.S. to rehash the diamond’s image. N.W. Ayer attacked on multiple fronts including... Read Full Article