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How A Rare Piece Of Carbon Changed Our Culture

Are diamonds really worth their price and value?


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Diamonds have always been perceived as a beautiful and perfect symbol of the eternal bond between two people in love. Over decades of advertising this perception, it has become hard for society in the present culture to imagine an engagement or a wedding without a diamond ring. Despite negative headlines about blood diamonds and the dangerous working conditions for miners, consumers have not turned away from this jewel with its increasing demand. According to the Jewelry Industry Research Institute, 75% of brides in the United States wear a diamond ring.


It all started in 1870 when British financiers behind a South African mining plant realized that the diamond market would be over-saturated if they did not take control of the reserves. So in 1888, the De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd was established to oversee the diamond industry, and they would stockpile diamonds and strategically control the prices of the pieces. Their next step was to advertise these diamonds to be as exclusive and expensive as we know it today.


De Beers’ tagline “a diamond is forever” spearheaded the company’s mission and the genius behind their marketing idea was De Beers chairman Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. He marketed the idea that the only way to profess one’s love for another is through a rare diamond ring. Today, a diamond cost an average of $4,000 and could be worth up to three months of salary. However, as expensive as it is, the value will be worth 50% less once owned, and that’s the true cost of a diamond.


The Engagement Ring Story: How De Beers Created a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry From the Ground Up