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Diamond madness

Paying three months’ salary for a diamond is insane, argues MELISSA CHRYS.

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Diamonds: are they a measure of love or just a scam?

27 April 2009

A friend told me he was planning to propose to his girlfriend. It’s always exciting news, but when I asked when he was planning to pop the question, he replied, “Well first I have to save up and take out a loan to get the ring she wants.”

The ‘ring she wants’ is from Tiffany & Co., and comes with a $40,000 price tag. I felt sick!

$40,000 could pay for a phenomenal overseas holiday, a fabulous wedding, or it could even be the deposit on a house!

What motivates a woman to requesting such a ring? And more importantly, what will happen if she doesn’t get it?

Will she refuse to marry him? How has this seemingly intelligent man been “hoodwinked” into this scenario?

I understand that celebrities like Beyonce flounce about with $ 7million dollars worth of “bling” on their fingers, but I also understand that Beyonce doesn’t exist in the realm of normal people.

Somewhere along the way, women have been brainwashed into believing that the amount a man loves you is somehow tied to the size and price of the rock on their finger.

And somehow, your own worth as a woman is summed up in that piece of jewellery.

It wasn’t always this way. In fact, it’s only over the last 50 years that diamonds have become popular for engagement rings, and it’s all thanks to a very successful marketing campaign.

In 1947, the South African  De Beers’ advertising agency came up with the slogan, “A Diamond is Forever” and from then on, diamonds became entrenched as a symbol of unbreakable and eternal love.

Similarly, the ridiculous rule about spending ‘three months wages’ on an engagement ring was another clever invention by the De Beers marketing team.

Jewellers were under instruction to recommend this amount to naive men who wandered into jewellery stores looking for an engagement ring.

Actually, I don’t have a problem with diamond engagement rings, only with women who demand that men buy them an overpriced ring in order to marry them.

In this day and age where women and men have equal earning and spending power, there is no need for women to whore themselves out to the man with the biggest rock.

So, why do they do it?

I wonder about my friend’s girlfriend. Why is she demanding this ring?

It’s not unique, or individual, so does she want people to see it and recognise that it is the Tiffany’s ring?

Is she hoping to see looks of envy on her friends’ faces?

Does she want the ring so that every time she looks down at her finger she feels validated, secure in the fact that this giant rock somehow ensures a successful marriage?

Getting engaged is the first step towards marriage - which is meant to be an equal partnership.

It’s not the size or the cost of the ring that proves how much your partner loves you - it’s the fact that he asked in the first place.

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