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Roger Weller, geology instructor

wellerr@cochise.edu

Diamonds
by Kandise Craig
Physical Geology
Spring 2015
  
 

                                                                                 Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend           

                            

 

Faceted Diamond

Photo Credited to R.Weller/Cochise College

 

         Have you ever wondered why Diamonds are a girl’s ‘best friend’?  Marilyn Monroe sings “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, and it became a stamp in the romantic expectations women have held as their standard in relationships.  Diamonds have taken over the jewelry industry, and have become the expectation for engagement rings.  They have been mass marketed with watches, necklaces, earrings, rings, and all other types of jewelry.  They have maintained popularity even though there are many other jewels, and gems that are used when creating shiny trinkets.  So, why is it that diamonds have seemed to have set the precedent, and hold a higher weight, metaphorically, and financially, than their equally as aesthetically pleasing counterparts?  Is it the strength, colors, shine, advertisement, or simply the constant reinforcement that every woman needs to have that rock on her finger.
 

         The strength of a diamond is one of its most predominant factors.  Being 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, it is the hardest mineral.  Diamonds have the ability to scratch any other material  without taking any damage.  This ability makes diamonds useful in polishing, drilling, cutting, and grinding; all of which prove diamonds durability.  This durability may be reason for the popularity, because the mineral can be banged, bashed, and dropped without shattering.  There are other minerals that have similar strength though, such as Carbonado, which is equally as hard just not astatically pleasing .
 

          Another mineral that is almost as hard as a diamond, a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, is corundum, which includes rubies and sapphires.  With their crystalline structure and multitude of colors, these gems are more expensive and rarer than diamonds, but do not carry the same popularity.  Additionally, they do not experience the same marketing that diamonds do.  Sapphires, can be equally as pricy as a diamond, but are less commonly advertised than their counterpart, Rubies. With these other options on the table, what is it that holds the buyer in the jewelry monopoly?
 

Rubies and Sapphires

Photo Credited to R.Weller/Cochise College
 

          The clarity of a diamond is also one of its distinct characteristics. This feature makes it a beloved treasure, and desired by many. Aside from rubies, though, there are other gems with similar clarity, such as lab grown moissanite, which is more than ¼ less expensive than your average diamond.  The big issue here, though, is diamonds appear to be significantly rarer, though they are not as rare as they seem to be.  Could this perception of having a rare and precious gem be why diamonds are so coveted?


          There is a huge monopoly over diamonds. Therefore, even though diamonds are extremely pricey initially, the moment you pay for the diamond it instantly loses a large chunk of its value. This is because the rarity and value is granted mostly by the marketing.  A large difference between the gems is the fact that diamonds are made naturally, and there is a stigma about the superiority of a diamond.  This stigma is held because of the socially construed mentality that one gem is better than the other.  Also, aesthetically there are other comparable diamonds, such as topaz, or morganite, which are as beautiful, but are underrated.
 

                                   








 Morganite                                          Topaz

Photo Credited to R.Weller/Cochise College
 

          Advertisement is undoubtedly one of the biggest factors that make diamonds as high in demand as they are.  There are constant commercials, photos in magazines, radio advertisements, and ads online insisting that diamonds are a necessity.  They emphasize that if you don’t propose with a diamond, you might as well not propose at all.  They also imply the only way to make an impression on your social group is to “wow” your woman with a diamond.  These advertisements are much more aimed at diamonds than any other gem, leading to the mass use of diamonds.  Marketing also is used to make less attractive diamonds still valuable, labeling brown diamonds as ‘chocolate’ or yellow diamonds as ‘champaign’, giving even the least attractive, and borderline flawed diamonds the special treatment and demand that the clearest and shiniest hold.
 

          If it wasn’t for the immense marketing of diamonds, their status would deteriorate.  It’s the idea that they are rare, special, and a borderline necessity that keeps their claim to fame.  Unlike gold, which has a value that is constantly increasing, diamonds deteriorates immensely.  This advertising is what sets the idea that if you don’t have a diamond engagement ring, or diamonds embedded into your watch, then you are not keeping up to the social standard expected of you.

When a woman gets engaged, it is more common than not that she posts a picture of her ring online, sends pictures to her friends, and makes it publicly noticed.  She tells the cut, carat, and men brag about the price.  There are standards set for the amount of paychecks a ring should cost, all because of the mentality that in order to maintain a type of social status, you must keep up with your neighbors.  This mentality also deeply stems from the advertisers that implement such ideals. Though there are equally as good jewels all around, diamonds are what set the precedent for what a person should own.
 

          It seems as though perception is one of the biggest reasons that diamonds are at a constant peak of popularity.  Their strength is comparable to other gems, as well as their aesthetic.  Their rarity is not as prominent as advertised, making them not as high in demand as they appear to be.  This leaves advertisement and expectation to their popularity and expensive prices, which is ever growing.


          These diamond expectations will continue to increase and the consumption will constantly continue as the monopoly grows.  Though ‘unique’ rings are constantly gaining popularity, diamonds will always be seen as the classic, and sophisticated jewel it has been perceived as, and marketed as for years.  Though there may be other gems that would do the job just as well, the diamonds hold is sold in billions of dollars’ worth of engagement rings, and are the component of the mass majority of jewelry that will be sold this upcoming year.

 

Works Cited

 

Gold, Calla. "White Sapphires vs Diamonds for Wedding and Engagement Rings." Calla Gold

Jewelry. Calla Gold Jewelry, 6 Sept. 2016. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

"How to Buy Emeralds | The Diamond Pro." The Diamond Pro. 2016 The Diamond Pro, Dec.

2012. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

Kolowich, Lindsay. "The Engagement Ring Story: How De Beers Created a Multi-Billion Dollar

Industry From the Ground Up." The Engagement Ring Story: How De Beers Created a

Multi-Billion Dollar Industry From the Ground Up. HubSpot, Inc., 13 June 2014. Web.

13 Apr. 2016.

Rosan, Seth. "Are Diamonds Really Rare? Myths and Misconceptions about Diamond  #diamonds." International Gem Society. 2016 International Gem Society LLC, 4 Dec.  2014. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.