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Men grow cold as girls grow old And we all lose our charms in the end But square cut or pear shape these rocks don’t lose their shape..
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

~ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), Marilyn Monroe

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

A song that extols the virtue of the sparkly stone as a timeless, beautiful symbol of love. Also wealth, because diamonds are rare and precious. Or as the popular slogan of modern advertising claims, “A Diamond is Forever.”

It’s the stuff that the best capitalist exploitation stories are made of. If you sincerely believe that it would be romantic if, on a date, your man asks you to marry him, with a (big) diamond ring on offer, then congratulations, you’re formulaic.

It’s also the biggest eyewash ever pulled, especially upon those in love.

DIAMONDS ARE DEAD. LONG LIVE DIAMONDS.

While differing from popular opinion about the solitaire might almost seem like sacrilege, ask even a jeweller and he will tell you diamonds are just a dead end for your wealth. A car or a house has resale value. Gold does too. But the shiny stones studded in the yellow metal?

Diamonds are not liquid – even in monetary terms. Try selling one back and the jeweller will offer anywhere between 50% to 80% of the purchase price – and that too only if it is verifiable. You literally stand to get back only a fraction of the value you paid for it.

Allow us to jolt you some more out of your stupor – unlike what Bollywood films would have you believe, most jewellers will not buy it unless you bought it with them and have documentation to prove it. The age-old faith of our mothers and grannies in gold and silver isn’t quite misplaced. These precious metals can now be purchased even on financial markets. Their value appreciates and also holds in times of inflation. The market for gold is liquid and fungible – you can trade one large piece of gold for ten smalls ones. You can’t do that with a diamond!

RARITY IS ENGINEERED

When they were first discovered nearly 2,500 years ago, diamonds were indeed rare and accessible only to royalty. Before early 18th century India and Borneo were the only places where diamonds were found, but then they were discovered in Brazil and the supply increased. Then in the late 19th century, diamonds were uncovered in Africa too, and they came out of African mines by the tonnes. This surge in supply threatened the price of diamonds to fall To prevent that, in 1888 a cartel, involving the movers and shakers of the diamond mining world, was formed under the name De Beers. This cartel controlled over virtually all of the diamond trade in the world!

CLICHÉ LEVEL: A (SOLITAIRE IS ALL AIR)

To boost diamond sales, advertising agency N. W. Ayer & Son in the U.S.A. was hired by diamond producers to impact “social attitudes of the public at large”. This is where the motto “Diamonds are Forever” was born. With a sophisticated advertising and PR campaign, the cartel turned diamonds into symbols of undying love. The tagline also suggests that every woman is as unique as the diamond she owns and symbolizes her unique love. The price has been kept high because we’ve been told that it’s precious to hold on to a diamond.

The diamond industry has brainwashed a generation of people across the globe into believing that love is only expressed through diamonds, a material possession. You might want to listen to Madonna’s Material Girl about that, by the way.

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