"...In chemistry, the diamond, being pure carbon, is one of the most common elements. Yet it fashioned by nature into a magnificent crystal with the most dramatic history of all gems..." -- C.W. de Kiewiet.
Diamond substitutes and simulants can be a smart choice for a newly formed family saving up for education or housing. Not to mention the money pit of childbirth and baby stuff.
Alternatives will allow breathing room for your overstretched budget without the need to rebel against society's conventions in a moment of a financial bottleneck.
Any gemstone used in an engagement ring is a permanent token of eternal love or just a temporary placeholder that is called a “Diamond Substitute.” A diamond look-alike, whether it’s used to fool others or just a stand-in waiting to be replaced by a diamond is referred to as a “Diamond Simulant.”
Let’s take another look at the stone many are trying to find a replacement for without much success - a natural diamond. In the very beginning an engagement ring was conceived as a beautiful symbol of love and commitment. Just like any other symbol it quickly mutated to acquire a different meaning as a symbol of wealth, vanity and bondage.
What started as simple grass braids tied around one’s soul mate’s wrist or ankle had deteriorated by the Middle Ages into a tag system for sultans and sheiks to keep track of their wives and concubines by using puzzle rings. Spiritually a diamond’s power is used to restore the true meaning of the engagement ring ritual and purify it’s corrupted Karma.
Having said that, a diamond’s DURABILITY and it’s LACK OF COLOR are the real reasons why diamonds have taken over other gemstones in almost every engagement ring since the discovery of the vast diamond deposits in Africa on October 13, 1867.
Now we will proceed to examine the occasional desire to avoid diamonds and the even stronger desire to own them. True to the Leon Mege contrarian mind we will argue whatever is directly opposite to the given point of view.
“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” ? Robertson Davies
Media attention has been drawn to the issue of a fraction of the world's diamonds extracted from war-torn geographic regions, so-called "conflict" or "blood" diamonds that are sold by rebel forces to fund insurrection.
The heinous acts of violence committed by the bands of thugs must be condemned. However, we all know that throughout all human history any valuable resource was a cause of vicious pillaging and murders. Diamonds are not unique triggers of violence and horror, they are simply more recent ones.
When people question the ethics of buying diamonds, they cannot escape a contradiction of a selective logic: even today more people are harmed in the quest for good old gold, yet a brainless “do-gooder” eagerly rejects a diamond in favor of a gold ring.
It is not possible to distinguish conflict diamonds from diamonds produced in other regions once they have been polished. US legislation banned the stones from the trade through an international system of certification known as the Kimberley Process. Today all diamond imports and trades must conform to the Kimberley Process system.
People suffer and die all around the globe at the hands of ruthless criminals vying to rob them of any precious resource: oil, art, lithium, antiques, postal stamps, silver, gemstones, gold, money, etc. It makes very little sense to single out just one commodity out of a plethora of blood-soaked things people are killed over every day.
Familiarity breeds contempt. We live in a world where diamonds are common and familiar to all. One must look deeper into a diamond’s soul in the quest for a diamond with a matching personality.
It’s not the diamond itself, it’s the shape and form that is crafted by an artisan diamond cutter that makes it so special. Yes, round ideal cut diamonds are boring, like a monaural stream of Kenny G in an office building elevator, but let’s not forget Asschers and Emeralds, Cushions and Pears...
$1,000 spent on a 5-carat diamond 10 years ago would have returned $1,645 in 2011. That’s a better return than Yen, Euro, Nasdaq or Dow Jones.
Can you name another luxury item that is not only extremely enjoyable to indulge but also will cost more should you decide to sell it? Do I hear fine art, antiques, real estate? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that you will be using it 24 hours a day, every day… Suddenly the list is shrinking… And the winner is -- A Diamond!
No, I am not suggesting selling your municipal bond portfolio and investing your IRA in a fabulous Antique Cushion (that would be nice though), what I am suggesting is that no matter how high the initial price seems to be, diamonds can be a smart purchase.
Just remember to buy quality stones and use service to locate them:
Ye-e-a-ah, I am going to go ahead and disagree with you on this one.
Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights Archduke Maximilian of Austria is known to be the first to present a diamond engagement ring, which was in the year 1477. How ironic is it that even centuries ago a rap-star-like name was a prerequisite for starting a fad! As far as we know, before that diamonds were NOT used in engagement rings. In fact, a diamond engagement ring is such a recent development that we are not even sure whether or not it will last to the end of this century.
In 1852 aluminum was so rare that it was considered a precious metal, valued higher than gold or platinum. Now, look at your beer can. The one you are holding in your hand right now. Yes, the one made of aluminum. Uh-oh, sorry, didn't see it from here, of course it is the Diet Coke.
How do we know that diamonds are as scarce as the Diamond Cartel wants us to believe? We simply don’t. The six most common elements in our galaxy are Hydrogen 74%, Helium 24%, Oxygen 1.04%, Carbon 0.42%, Neon 0.13%, Iron 0.11%. Diamonds are pure carbon. Statistically speaking the iron that the Brooklyn Bridge is made of is more rare and therefore valuable than all the diamonds in the world! Still not convinced?
A recently discovered diamond star 3,000 miles across in the Centaurus constellation is made entirely of 10 billion trillion trillion carats of crystallized carbon.
Don’t believe me? Google it. Our own Sun's core will crystallize into a solid diamond some 7 billion years from now. I am curious what De Beers is planning to do at that point to protect diamond prices…
Carbon in it’s purest form is so rare that only a tiny fraction of all diamonds found are void of inclusions that are easy to see in a transparent gemstone. Diamond inclusions should be viewed not as flaws but as unique textures that are typical to other natural resources such as exotic wood or granite.
When inclusions do not interfere with the diamond’s optical properties they should be considered to be a part of the stone’s beauty.
Until synthetic diamonds become a cheap and a plentiful commodity (a development that is bound to happen) the demand for eye-clean stones will far outstrip the production. However, in the future the most sought after diamonds will be stones with tiny inclusions proving their natural origin.
There are parallels to this; for example, an emerald is much more valuable once a “three phase inclusion” indicating it’s Columbian origin is located, or demantoid garnet price increasing dramatically at the presence of a “horsetail” inclusion.
“What you see …. depends on what sort of person you are.” C.S. Lewis
Until the 1930’s nobody cared too much for a diamond engagement ring - diamond popularity was on a downward trend. It was then that De Beers operatives, prohibited by antitrust laws from doing business in US, hired the N.W. Ayer & Son advertising agency.
The advertising campaign for proliferation of a diamond standard succeeded in turning consumers into diamond-seeking zombies. Later in the 1950s the agency started the repugnant tradition of lending important stones and “over the top” diamond jewelry to socialites and starlets for such mass gathering of egomaniacs as the Oscars or the Kentucky Derby.
A thick mustache in South-West Asia is a sign of a man's power. To the average American a surgical relocation of men’s body hair (a natural resource as plentiful as the oil in the region) to the upper lip would seem bizarre, yet it’s commonly done at few thousands dollars a pop.
Just like a dense mustache flapping in the hot desert wind, your diamond is there merely to broadcast your social standing to complete strangers. With no lack of status symbols around us - our dress, our cars, our cell phones covers, etc…. it seems vain and pathetic.
"Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye" - Shakespeare
According to Aristotelian physics and metaphysics, causation can be divided into formal, material, efficient and final causes. The material cause of beauty is “smallness, smoothness and delicacy,” while the efficient cause is the calming of nerves, and the final cause is God's providence - sounds like a De Beers commercial, doesn’t it?
There is no universal consensus on the nature of beauty. Leon Megé holds the view that beauty is a personal perception of reality, moderated by cultural traditions and personal network standards. It could be felt or expressed but not measured or quantified. It can not be evaluated objectively but rather exhibited as a statistical value when judged by a group of people.
In short, a diamond’s beauty is simply a probability, a statistical assumption that could be agreed upon by a majority of people, but never everyone. The beauty of a diamond is a load of empirical fog plastered upon the wall of reality by the crafty masons of De Beers fame.