The hard facts on diamonds

The greatest story ever sold is a fantasy covered in blood

This is brilliant (ouch, yet another unintentional pun!)…

[quote]It’s just marketing. The whole “A Diamond is Forever” and the idea of a diamond engagement ring is not an ancient tradition to be revered and followed. It is Sprite’s “Obey Your Thirst.” It is Nike’s “Just Do It.” It is Gary Dahl’s “Pet Rock.” Not only did De Beers understand it had to control supply (buying up and closing down any diamond mine discovered), they had to control demand. They had to make it sentimental. And Americans were the perfect suckers. They targeted the US specifically for our marketability. This campaign is less than 70 years old yet has become so ingrained in our culture that the diamond engagement ring has become the ultimate symbol of how much the relationship, the girl, and love itself is worth.

As The Dilettante so poignantly put it, “For women, comparing jewelry is our phallic posturing contest: look at how big MY dic….er, I mean, diamond is.” It’s fun to show off for about 30 seconds. After that there is little to show for the debt incurred for the shiny piece of rock. That money could have gone into furniture, an amazing trip (or many nice ones), your future kids’ college funds!![/quote]

Farg. The most frustrating part is, while thanks to all those liberal college professors Fred Smith hates so much, there’s hope that North American women will wake up to this kind of brainwashing, there’ NONE WHATSOEVER that women in Asia - who have now swallowed the same hook - will, because they are so UTTERLY un-politicized and unconcerned about any issues whatsoever. My wife has a pretty nice rock on her finger, and I can just imagine trying to have proposed without one: “Sorry honey, I know this isn’t a diamond, but did you realize that the diamond trade is blatantly immoral? Now how about it?” I’d have been left there kneeling in the sand with an un-opened bottle of champagne chilling in the cooler…

Blood Diamond is currently in a theatre near you. Good Movie too.

Manufactured diamonds are now being graded just like mined diamonds.

Ohhh…such bitterness and rage…diamonds have been micro-marked since the mid-90’s. You might also check out who pushed for this marking to be done.
Looks like some nice lefty went to the movies and decided to write a puff piece based on hysteria and hyperbole.
By the way, diamonds are excellent in retaining value. A good diamond will always be a good diamond.
If ones conscience is wavering, just buy Canadian diamonds. Now those stones must be politically correct…right?.

What wrong with diamonds other than:

a) They are relatively common
b) Its a monopoly / cartel whose leading trading house is wanted by the US
c) the bidding process is rigged due to the above

What’s not to like?

I think this will probably put an end to the diamond business as we know it before the political/consumer awareness aspect does. As technology improves, and diamonds become cheaper and cheaper to make, it seems hard to imagine that the allure would remain the same.

I think this will probably put an end to the diamond business as we know it before the political/consumer awareness aspect does. As technology improves, and diamonds become cheaper and cheaper to make, it seems hard to imagine that the allure would remain the same.[/quote]
I suppose so. Silly, they’re just as pretty. Not such a status symbol, though. I can see them going the same way as silk. Nothing wrong with virtually everyone being able to own a piece.

[quote=“TainanCowboy”]If ones conscience is wavering, just buy Canadian diamonds. Now those stones must be politically correct…right?.[/quote]Why? You’ve never heard of nasty Canadian mining companies? Never seen photos of a diamond cut into the tundra? Nice try though.

The method cooked up for locating the pipes in which diamonds might be found–using magnetic scans from the air–was quite a piece of engineering, but getting them out of the ground is still a messy process, particularly when they can be cooked up in a day or too.

[quote=“Jaboney”][quote=“TainanCowboy”]If ones conscience is wavering, just buy Canadian diamonds. Now those stones must be politically correct…right?.[/quote]Why? You’ve never heard of nasty Canadian mining companies? Never seen photos of a diamond cut into the tundra? Nice try though.

The method cooked up for locating the pipes in which diamonds might be found–using magnetic scans from the air–was quite a piece of engineering, but getting them out of the ground is still a messy process, particularly when they can be cooked up in a day or too.[/quote]
Mining substances under the top layer of the earth does require removing what is called the “over burden.” This means digging into the ground to find & get something. The use of magnetic imaging lessens the amount of searching needed and the amount of over burden required to be displaced.
The extractions methods don’t have an odor to them do they? Perhaps there you may have an knowledgeable opinion on something. Doubtful though.
Contrarianism…how tiresome… :unamused:

Just one of many:
Polar Bear Diamonds™ are mined, cut and polished in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
Also:
polarbeardiamond.com/pages/faq.asp

:laughing: TainanCowboy, check out what extraction means in the arctic.
There’s nothing contrarian about preferring more ecologically-friendly methods.
(btw, all the major operations cooking up diamonds are located in the US. Should I prefer an ecologically damaging contribution to the Canadian economy over an ecologically friendly contribution to the American economy?)

Sorry to upset your feeble attempt at a drive-by smear.
Wait a sec… no I’m not. :roflmao:

Have you all seen the Dilbert take on this?
Dogbert “So you want me to pay this much for a shiny rock?”
Diamond seller “Oh god, he’s onto us. Here, take this bag of shiny rocks. Now your one of us.”

But wife expected one. I got the Canadian one. Don’t hate me because I am beautiful.

straightdope.com/columns/040903.html

[quote]Diamonds are a con, pure and simple. The topic is vast, so we won’t discuss worker exploitation or for that matter “blood diamonds” used to finance African wars. Instead I’ll focus on whether diamonds are worth the exorbitant sums charged for them. Answer: Of course not. Prices are kept high by a cynical cartel that preys on vanity and stupidity.

More than 20 years ago journalist Edward Jay Epstein wrote the definitive expose of the diamond business, initially published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1982 and subsequently as a book, The Rise and Fall of Diamonds. Epstein, it must be said, is a conspiracy buff, but his research on diamonds is pretty credible. His central contention is that diamonds have little inherent value; their perennially high price is solely a function of clever promotion and ruthless manipulation of the market. You ask: Isn’t that true of any high-value product? Nope. Take gold, a true commodity in the sense that it’s fungible, as the economists say–like quantities of gold are freely interchangeable. Gold’s purity can be readily assayed and it’s indestructible for practical purposes, making it a reliable store of value. Even now that the world has abandoned the gold standard, gold’s price has held up well on the open market.

Not so with diamonds. Despite the hype, diamonds aren’t forever; they can be damaged or destroyed. The value of diamonds varies widely depending on grade and, despite efforts at standardization, is basically arbitrary–experts often disagree sharply on the worth of a particular gem. Sure, the same can be said of paintings or other collectibles. The difference is that the world diamond market is largely controlled by a single private enterprise, the South Africa-based De Beers cartel. The geniuses behind De Beers recognized early on that a stable, profitable diamond industry depended on controlling both supply and demand. De Beers rarely discovers new sources of diamonds; rather, it focuses on controlling existing ones, limiting production, and if necessary buying up surplus gems and stockpiling them to prop up the market. It sets prices arbitrarily and cuts off supplies to dealers who buy through unauthorized channels. On the marketing side, De Beers hired advertising firms, starting with N.W. Ayer in the late 1930s, to render axiomatic the idea that diamonds = true love. De Beers and Ayer didn’t invent diamond engagement rings but did rescue a fading concept–in 1932 worldwide diamond sales had been only $100,000. Ayer’s ploys ranged from planting news stories about newly betrothed celebrities flaunting big rocks to positioning diamonds as heirlooms, preventing the market from being flooded with secondhand goods. (The market for used diamonds is dismal, by the way.) The campaign worked–U.S. wholesale diamond sales increased from $23 million in 1939 to $2.1 billion in 1979. The J. Walter Thompson agency performed a similar miracle in Japan in the 1960s, essentially creating a tradition of diamond engagement rings out of thin air.
[/quote]

Give the customer what they want.
Caveat Emptor.

[quote=“TainanCowboy”]Ohhh…such bitterness and rage…diamonds have been micro-marked since the mid-90’s. You might also check out who pushed for this marking to be done.
Looks like some nice lefty went to the movies and decided to write a puff piece based on hysteria and hyperbole.[/quote]

Fortunately the US government, WTO, and UN don’t share your dismissive viewpoint. All support the Kimberley Process and the US is an official participant.

As an article posted above already noted, diamonds are easily damaged, and resale value is shite. I would never invest in diamonds.

But I’m with you on the caveat emptor thing. Personally I love it when suckers pay thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for an artificially priced rock to convince some shallow girl of their undying love. :discodance: :roflmao: :roflmao:

I took Chinese with an American girl who was raised by Christian missionairies in Singapore. I have met many religious people, but I can say she was without a doubt one of the most pious, and most intelligent people I have ever met. She was majoring in electrical engineering, but her life’s goal was to go to China and become a missionary. In fact the only reason she was majoring in EE was so she could earn money for her missionary work and also provide herself with “cover” as her missionary work in China would have to clandestine. I admired her immensely, for her piety, her brilliance, and her courage.

One day after class I brought up the subject of diamonds on wedding rings. As someone who would work during the day to finance clandestine missionary activity at night, risking arrest and confinement in barbaric Chinese prisons, I guessed she was the kind of person who would see the hypocrisy and pettiness in the idea that the price of a wedding ring equals the value of the marriage. I was wrong. She said she would never marry a man who didn’t buy her a diamong ring. I asked why. She said that if a man buys an expensive ring for a woman, it means he really loves her. Otherwise, he probably doesn’t love her :astonished:

When the De Beers’ cartel can convince even fearless Christian missionaries a marriage without diamonds is a marriage without love, I must tip my hat to them. :bravo:

[quote=“gao_bo_han”][quote=“TainanCowboy”]Ohhh…such bitterness and rage…diamonds have been micro-marked since the mid-90’s. You might also check out who pushed for this marking to be done.
Looks like some nice lefty went to the movies and decided to write a puff piece based on hysteria and hyperbole.[/quote]Fortunately the US government, WTO, and UN don’t share your dismissive viewpoint. All support the Kimberley Process and the US is an official participant.[/quote]Yes…as I mentioned. Dimissive as to the tenor and tone of the article. Whiney libs are just annoying to me.[quote=“gao_bo_han”][quote]By the way, diamonds are excellent in retaining value. A good diamond will always be a good diamond.[/quote]As an article posted above already noted, diamonds are easily damaged,[/quote]No…they are not. That is a fallacy. The settings or mountings containing the diamonds may be subject to damage…the stones are not “easily damaged.”[quote=“gao_bo_han”]"… and resale value is shite."[/quote]No…this is not true. As posted - A good diamond has historically maintained its value. This is a simple fact. If you wish to dispute this, then show your reasons and sources stating otherwise.[quote=“gao_bo_han”]I would never invest in diamonds.[/quote]That is a personal choice of your own. Good for you. Millions of other people through-out history have decided otherwise…as it their right.

[quote=“gao_bo_han”]But I’m with you on the caveat emptor thing. Personally I love it when suckers pay thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for an artificially priced rock to convince some shallow girl of their undying love. :discodance: :roflmao: :roflmao:[/quote]Not sure I understand, or wish to, this sounds a bit high-minded, but go on…

[quote=“gao_bo_han”]I took Chinese with an American girl who was raised by Christian missionairies in Singapore. I have met many religious people, but I can say she was without a doubt one of the most pious, and most intelligent people I have ever met. She was majoring in electrical engineering, but her life’s goal was to go to China and become a missionary. In fact the only reason she was majoring in EE was so she could earn money for her missionary work and also provide herself with “cover” as her missionary work in China would have to clandestine. I admired her immensely, for her piety, her brilliance, and her courage.[/quote]Yes…but…[quote=“gao_bo_han”]One day after class I brought up the subject of diamonds on wedding rings. As someone who would work during the day to finance clandestine missionary activity at night, risking arrest and confinement in barbaric Chinese prisons, I guessed she was the kind of person who would see the hypocrisy and pettiness in the idea that the price of a wedding ring equals the value of the marriage. I was wrong. She said she would never marry a man who didn’t buy her a diamond ring. I asked why. She said that if a man buys an expensive ring for a woman, it means he really loves her. Otherwise, he probably doesn’t love her :astonished: [/quote]One example of a womans fickle wishes…dear Lad you sound a bit naive yourself…his was what she wanted. Her dreams…her life…not yours. Anyway, one anecdotal story does not a rule make. It is not about you or your judgment of her. Trust me, she is not the only one out there who has this dream. Men may want a big bosomed girlfriends or a red corvette, women have their own dreams and desires. Who are we to dismiss the dreams of others so lightly?

[quote=“gao_bo_han”]When the De Beers’ cartel can convince even fearless Christian missionaries a marriage without diamonds is a marriage without love, I must tip my hat to them. :bravo:[/quote]Well DeBeers is indeed a cartel, and IMO they have too long held control. However their control has lessened considerably over the last 10 tears or so.
Obne of the side effects of the break-up of the Soviet Union was the possibility of the market being flooded with diamonds - both industrial and jewel grade - that were in the former Soviet states. The USSR was one of the major sources of diamonds. They also have been diligently working on ‘man made diamonds’ over the years. It caused quite a stir in the diamond market and was/is a major reason the DeBeers stronghold has been lessened. DeBeers still is a powerful forces, but the opening of new stone sources and the increasing quality of man made stones has reduced their control.

Diamonds, like Krugerands and Gold Eagles, will always have a recognized value.

The hard facts are that once the cartel is weakened, daimonds will not hold thier value the same way. The only reason daimond hold thier value is the way that Debeers has managed the market.

Also, you need to be wary of the cut. If, for example, you came to inherit diamonds from the early 20th century, you’d be upset to find that at that time they cut them so they wouldn’t sparkle which very much reduces the value until that style comes back (if ever).

I don’t know, man. You’re up against Cecil Adams on this one. His articles are notoriously well researched, and when he does make the odd error he corrects himself.

Diamonds can be destroyed, as anyone who’s ever dulled a diamond tipped drill bit or a tile saw blade knows, whereas gold, being an element, can always be recovered via chemistry. The very fact that diamonds are cut into pretty shapes means they can be destroyed. Not really much point denying this one.

I agree with all of you who say the value of diamonds results from the DeBeers monopoly, many years of clever marketing, and generations of gullible saps who fall for the whole thing and believe if he really loves her he’ll buy her an outrageously priced little rock. I’m glad my wife doesn’t believe that hooey.

But, strangely enough, I find myself agreeing with TC on a couple of points. First, if your SO really is fixated on the idea of a diamond, and you can afford it, and you feel she/he is worth it, then there’s nothing wrong with buying a big rock for her. Some girls want a new car, or new shoes, or a ski trip, or a beach trip, or a membership at the gym, or good books or music or entertainment, or flowers, or cuddling at home in front of the TV. Some want diamonds. Everyone has different taste. Everyone falls for different marketing ploys. But in the end, if it’s reeeaaaaally important to her, fine, buy her a rock, silly as you may think it is. After all, it’s not for you, it’s for her. And, if it makes her happy it should make you happy.

Second, apparently TC may be right about this:

Perhaps it’s for nefarious reasons, but . . .

[quote]Diamonds to Outpace Metals as Scarcity, Asia Sales Boost Prices

Aug. 7 (Bloomberg) – For the first time in 25 years, diamond production is declining and that may make the world’s most coveted stones a better investment than copper, nickel and zinc, this year’s top-performing commodities.

Output from diamond mines worldwide is likely to fall 2 percent by 2015, says James Picton, a diamond analyst at W.H. Ireland who’s been following the industry for 35 years. . .

The drop in production comes as purchases of the stones rise, helped by the booming economies of China and India. China alone doubled jewelry purchases since 2001 and may buy 20 percent more this year, according to www Diamond Forecast Ltd., a London-based research firm.

Diamonds have the best fundamentals,'' said Evy Hambro, who manages the $6.6 billion World Mining Fund in London for Merrill Lynch. The gap between supply and demand is much bigger relative to other commodities.’’ . . .

Hambro, with 1.5 percent of his assets in diamond companies, said he will buy shares of Germiston, South Africa-based Gem Diamond Mining Corp., which goes public this year, and Toronto- based Aber Diamond Corp. Ian Henderson, who manages $2.5 billion in natural-resource assets for JPMorgan in London, said he has increased his diamond-share holdings to 4 percent from 1 percent in the past year. He declined to elaborate.

I am very positive about diamonds, given the overall supply-demand situation,'' said Henderson. Of the 170 diamond companies out there, only 25 are actually producing.’’

One of those is Dublin-based African Diamonds, whose shares almost tripled this year. Another is Sierra Leone Diamond Co., a Hemel Hempstead, U.K.-based company operating in West Africa, whose stock has also tripled. Shares of Petra Diamonds, a Jersey, U.K.-based explorer in Angola, South Africa and Botswana, have risen 52 percent. . .

The value of rough diamonds, as the uncut stones are called, is likely to increase 30 percent in the next six years, says Picton at Manchester, England-based W.H. Ireland. His research shows that diamonds provided better returns than gold since 1948. . .

Diamonds could very well outperform base metals'' in the coming years, said Andrew Ferguson, who manages about $313 million at New City Investment Managers Ltd. in London. Given the huge increases in demand and the imbalances in supply, I expect good returns.’’

. . . Diamond investments will enjoy ``above-average’’ returns in the next several years, according to Trevor Steel, who manages $600 million in natural-resource assets at Baker Steel Capital Managers in London. . .

W.H. Ireland’s Picton says falling production, led by declines at the biggest producers, including Rio Tinto Group’s Argyle mine in Australia, the world’s largest, will leave $10 billion of demand unfulfilled. . .

Global demand may rise 6 percent a year to $23 billion by 2015, Picton says. . .[/quote]
bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid= … dwide_news

I get annoyed when liberals whine and whine but don’t offer solutions. Well, the Kimberley Process was the solution the conflict diamond phenomena.

[quote] No…they are not. That is a fallacy. The settings or mountings containing the diamonds may be subject to damage…the stones are not “easily damaged.”

[…]

No…this is not true. As posted - A good diamond has historically maintained its value. This is a simple fact. If you wish to dispute this, then show your reasons and sources stating otherwise.

[/quote]

Here’s some info from a web-based business that actually sells diamonds.

24carat.co.uk/diamondsinvestmentframe.html

The Cecil Adams article already quoted is another source. Elegua and myury have also made good points.

Yes one anecdote does not a rule make, but are you seriously suggesting her mindset is the exception to the rule? On the contrary I think De Beers and its marketing firms have done an excellent job of convincing virtually all women that diamonds are indicative of a man’s sincerity and love. The story of the future missionary (in fact, I am pretty sure she did eventually go to China) was to illustrate the extend of De Beers’ success.

In my admittingly naïve way, I looked up to that girl. It was stories like hers that made me proud to be a Christian, back when I was still a believer. I think a convincing case could be that the purpose of Jesus’ ministry was to turn our attention to the next world. Sell everything you own and give it to the poor, or you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus said. Leave behind your family and everything you love and follow me, or you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus said. Reading such passages from the Bible made me feel like there was something so much greater than the material world, and more importantly, that to get there we had to recognize this fact while we were still confined to the material world, leave behind our possessions, and dedicate ourselves to Christ. For a time I was considering becoming a missionary myself. The American girl was the epitome of Christian piety in my view, and a personal inspiration. She was willing to risk her freedom and possibly even her life to spread the Word to others. And yet even this person believed that without an expensive rock love would not be present.

MT wrote:

Well…I guess my problem is that this particular marketing ploy does far more than convince you that Crest toothpaste is better than a generic brand, or this beach is better than all the rest, or this gym has better facilities, or this car handles better than that one, or these shoes are a better cross-training brand, or this ski resort is better than the one next door. De Beers has marketed the idea that diamonds are an expression of love, and a necessary component of marriage. I can’t back it up with statistics but I am convinced most American women believe that without a diamond ring, something is lacking in the engagement or marriage. Perhaps love, perhaps sincerity, perhaps care or attentiveness. As Vay said in his opening post, without a diamond on that ring he would have been left in the sand.

I suppose one could say that it’s just “a status thing”. That having a big rock is not important in and of itself, just the wealth it implies, kind of like a fancy car or that oh-so-expensive country club membership. But I don’t think that is usually the case with diamond engagement/wedding rings. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard both women and men talking about how much debt they incurred to buy their wedding rings. No doubt everybody else has too. It is a completely normal and accepted situation for a couple to lack the funds to buy a diamond ring, and yet is expected they incur debt to get the ring. Hence I do not believe we can pass this phenomena off as a simple status thing. There is some deeper belief that diamonds are a symbol of love. If I were still a religious man I would be thanking God now for giving me a wife smart enough to see right through such bullshit.

[quote=“TainanCowboy”]

I’m one of those women. In my 20’s I didn’t think it was all that important. Just the ‘love’ we had btw us :unamused: Then they both walked out the door. Diamonds won’t stop anyone from doing that, but the forking out of several thousands would make them think twice about thrashing a relationship easily or the idea of keeping their word. And after seeing how my parents handled their marriage when one of them was dying, I don’t take the whole process lightly at all.

Having a diamond is a bit of many things. Sure, I would like do the bragging. And sure it would be nice to have a shiny rock to make the gals jealous but at the end of the day, it’s not worth having if you can’t afford it. So, marriage isn’t a conversation I wouldn’t want to have with someone unless I knew that he and I were at a stage that it could be logically done.

So, why do I still want it? It’s a part of a ritual I would like to enjoy. While it doesn’t guarantee anything, it still says to me that the person is serious, has thought about marriage and the implications that are involved.

My 2 cts.

Don’t you think that there are better ways to say “I love you” than bribery?