Buy Your Own, Also Called Watch Me Piss Off A Lot of Women
Ok, so I know this is going to make me really popular, but I have to say it and get it out there for discussion. So we see folks getting engaged all the freakin time, some Joe Schmoe ponies up and buys his wife to be a diamond engagement ring out of some sense of tradition. Of course, if we get to the bottom of it and look into the history of it all, it's really all a BIG FAT LIE! Ergo:
During the Middle Ages, the Gimmal or "bond" ring was invented, but it's doubtful that this was an engagement ring design. However, sapphires, emeralds and rubies would have been the norm for those who could afford them. Because diamond is the hardest and strongest mineral on earth it was seen to resist fire and steel and thus symbolize the unbending union of a man and woman in wedlock. So it became more commonplace for the European super wealthy and royalty to give a diamond engagement ring at this time.
Less wealthy citizens would have given a Fede (faith) ring in the form of two clasped hands more akin to the more modern claddagh (clasped hands) engagement rings, a design handed down from Irish ancestors long since forgotten.
In South Africa 1870, the vast, newly discovered Kimberley diamond region began to flood the market with not so rare a gem after all! The supply increased whilst the prices fell.
Within 10 years the now famous De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. was formed by the Englishman Cecil John Rhodes to control the sale of diamonds throughout the world. Even today they control 65% of the world's diamond trade.
From 1880 De Beers were able to control the supply (and price) of diamonds but how were they going to control demand during a period when sales began dropping dramatically (up to 50%) in the 20s and 30s onwards through the great depression?
Just as platinum started to become popular in diamond engagement rings, diamonds were becoming less valued. Platinum was banned for all but war use during WWII and so the platinum diamond engagement rings as we know them today almost died out.
The answer to the problem was a new marketing campaign commissioned by De Beers that began in 1947. Perhaps you've heard the slogan "A Diamond is forever"? This was to mark the beginning of a change in the history of the engagement ring.
Subsequent campaigns would convince families to hold on to their diamonds as family heirlooms... and it worked! Used diamonds were not being released back into the industry which in turn created the demand that De Beers were seeking.
Jewelers were unofficially educated by De Beers to instruct men that two to three months personal wages were an ideal price to pay for the diamond engagement ring that their prospective fiancée's would gladly accept.
In 1953 the world's two most glamorous women of the time Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell were the stars of the hit film musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The plot involves Monroe and Russell chasing potential husbands on a cruise to France. The movie also features a very famous song sung by the blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe, Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend.
This film would have undoubtedly influenced public opinion at the time and will have advanced the popularity of diamonds for years afterwards through Hollywood glamour.
The film is now 50 years old but it's still a firm favorite of all who love Hollywood and the legend of Monroe. (Of course there are others: High Society, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Diamonds Are Forever among them)
This is where the tradition of the diamond engagement ring really started, all from an advertising campaign that literally "rocked" the world! So you see buying a diamond engagement ring isn't really a popular ancient tradition.
It's more a combination of "dreaming of being a princess", a clever marketing campaign and compelling Hollywood glamour that ultimately promotes diamonds as the only jewels with which to furnish your loved one as a sign of engagement.
As you can see the whole diamond engagement ring is just a load of bull dung. So, don't ever expect me to buy one in the event I ever do get engaged. As far as I am concerned, if a girl wants one bad enough for whatever dumb symbolism it represents in the female mind, she can buy it herself because I certainly will not.
Now that I have offended multitudes of women and given guys something to think about, I bid you all adieu!