The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

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Diamond Engagement Ring: Why is this still a thing?

Beyoncé Knowles, famed singer and actress, once stated: “If you like it, then you should have put a ring on it.” But have you ever wondered why we put rings on things we like in the first place?  When a man decides that he wants to spend the rest of his life with a woman, he may walk right into one of the biggest scams in history.  No, I’m not talking about marriage; I’m talking about the ring that a man buys in order to get married.

The tradition of buying diamond engagement rings is not as ancient as some people may believe. In fact, this tradition was started in the 1930s by a diamond supply company.  According to their official website, De Beers Diamond Company was founded in 1888, and by the early 1930s, they had obtained a monopoly on the diamond industry.  According to the New York Times, De Beers needed to increase the sales of diamonds, so they hired an advertising company called N.W. Ayer.  De Beers and N.W. Ayer worked hard to find an industry where they could sell a large amount of diamonds and jack up the prices.  Finally, they decided on marriage.

Marriage was the perfect way for them to sell their diamonds, because marriage is supposed to last forever.  And after you buy a diamond, the resale value drops significantly, which means that diamonds last forever as well.  De Beers coined the phrase “a diamond is forever” and used it to launch their massive advertising campaign.

The years of advertising were incredibly successful, and it embedded the idea of diamond engagement rings so deep in our culture that the effects are most likely irreversible. Ms. Kristen Kuceyeski, a literature teacher at Libertyville High School, believes that instead of spending a large amount of money on a diamond ring, the money should be used for other purposes.

“At this point in my life, I would prefer to put the money towards something like a house or a vacation,” Ms. Kuceyeski said.  By spending the money on other things like a nice vacation, it allows for even more bonding time for the couple.

Mr. Matt Leone, who teaches earth science at LHS, believes that the best use for diamonds is in the field of craftsmanship.

“Their hardness makes them valuable for many industrial purposes,” Mr. Leone explained.  “I do a lot of tile work and a diamond blade on the tile saw makes all the difference.”

But despite diamonds having many practical uses in industry, their expensive prices for jewelry seem unreasonable.

“Any gem quality stone is rare, but as far as gemstones go, diamonds are one of, if not the most, common… The retail mark-up on diamonds is huge, in many cases over 100 percent,” Mr. Leone stated.

A diamond is the hardest mineral in the world, and they are incredibly useful for cutting through tough objects.  But as far as jewelry goes, there are many cheaper gemstones that could be used for engagement rings.

World history teacher Matt Thompson bought his wife a diamond engagement ring when he proposed to her.  He believes that diamonds are actually a great symbol of love and commitment.

“By giving the ring to a woman, and her accepting, it shows that the couple will be committed to each other forever,” Mr. Thompson stated.

I would have to agree that a ring is a great symbol of love, and I am not against the idea of buying a ring for a woman with whom you wish to spend the rest of your life.  However, a diamond just does not seem like a necessary stone to use for a proposal.

The “ancient tradition” of buying diamond engagement rings was all started by the De Beers Diamond Company only 80 years ago.  This company used their global monopoly of diamond mining to artificially raise the prices of diamonds, yet the majority of people still buy the rings.  The fact that there are so many cheaper and more suitable jewels to use for an engagement rings make us pose this question about diamond engagement rings: Why are they still a thing?

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  • I

    IanFeb 19, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Diamonds aren’t really forever. As they are made entirely out of carbon, you can set them on fire. The funny thing is, if your house burns down with a jewelry box inside, you can always go and collect the melted puddles of gold and silver. However, any diamonds will never be recovered.

  • S

    ShaneJan 29, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Hello there,

    This is Shane, I want to say that your posts are awesome! Anyway today I commented again because I have a big favor to ask, I made a comment a few weeks back in your site and I wonder if I can have the usernames altered? I tried to find the correct email to send this message but I cannot seem to find it.

    As you can see I had the mistake to use keywords for the username, and it was not my goal to spam. If its possible can I change it into my name, Shane?

    This would mean so much to me.

    Thank you so much,

  • C

    Classic Engagement RingsJan 19, 2015 at 5:59 am

    I believe Diamond engagement rings are still a thing because it became a symbol of love and promise of man to a woman. We cannot easily change traditions, because this act has passed from generation to generation.

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Diamond Engagement Ring: Why is this still a thing?