How many of you women out there have a diamond ring on your hand? Probably a lot — myself included. When my boyfriend-at-the-time asked me what kind of ring I’d like, I was totally clueless. My mother and aunts had never made a big deal out of them, so I’d never paid any attention to them before. I started to look around and quickly settled on a nice one from a local jeweler – a funky, slightly chunky design with a little sparkle set in a wave of white gold.
As soon as that ring was on my finger, much to my surprise, it became the focal point of conversations with all female friends and acquaintances. Girls would squeal, “Oooh, let’s see the rock!” and out would come my hand, with me suddenly feeling rather self-conscious about whatever dry skin and unkempt nails I’d failed to take care of. I began giving myself manicures on a more regular basis in the weeks following engagement because “Show us the ring!” was such a common request.
Why are women so obsessed with diamonds? Why on earth do women seem to calculate a man’s love based on how much money he’s willing to spend on a single, entirely frivolous item? (Honestly, girls do talk like that in private.) That’s why I was interested when my husband sent me a link to this article, called “7 Reasons Why Diamonds are a Waste of Your Money,” written by a guy who has sold diamonds for over a decade. It offers an interesting look into the history of diamond company DeBeers’ campaign less than a century ago to convince all young women that having a diamond engagement ring is a necessity. So, it’s not some age-old tradition that we’re honouring after all, but the result of brilliant advertising.
Reading the article makes me wish I’d resisted conforming to the whole diamond tradition, but I won’t deny I love the flashy sparkle on my hand. It’s something beautiful and elegant to wear every day without needing an excuse. It’s meant to be worn and used, so it comes off only to wash out dirty diapers in the toilet and to knead bread dough. Despite loving my ring, it is a weird concept – this one-sided giving of a hugely expensive engagement present. It’s basically an inverse dowry; instead of the woman’s family paying a man to marry her, a guy ‘proves’ his commitment based on how much he’s willing to spend on a sparkly rock.
Oh well, sometimes it’s nice to buy something for the sake of beauty, but I think girls have a responsibility to be realistic about it, too. A huge diamond does not equal eternal marital bliss. It cannot measure your partner’s level of commitment. It’s not necessarily the healthiest way to start off a relationship by demanding a gigantic financial expenditure right off the bat in order to satisfy one’s urge for sparkle. And, quite frankly, it’s sad if a diamond ring truly is your best friend – which it might well be, if your girlfriends all feel way too intimidated by its size! Girls are funny that way…