Because diamonds are a giant scam.
I usually try to offer a fair, middle of the road analysis of complex questions, but this is a pretty clear-cut issue. The global diamond market has been essentially a monopoly for a very long time, and is still tightly controlled by a small number of very powerful cartels who very deliberately conspire to keep the prices of diamonds high by restricting supply and creating demand.
The creation of demand is really very clever, in a diabolical way. They effectively created the custom of diamond engagement rings. I mean, giving jewels as engagement presents was a thing among the nobility before, but the idea that the average joe can’t get married without buying a chunk of crystallized carbon? The De Beers corporation deliberately created that. Most of the customs around engagement rings were invented specifically to separate suckers from their money. They’re the ones who told us we’re supposed to spend a month’s salary on a ring, then it became two months, and I hear it’s up to three. They convinced women to want it by giving huge diamonds to celebrities on the condition that they’d show them off and fawn over them. They made commercials to convince guys that the only way to get laid was to whip out a big rock. They invented the idea that you’re supposed to be buried in your ring to kill the resale market. I mean, every corporation tries to manipulate the public but this was some serious world-class BS.
The thing is, because the demand for rings is entirely manufactured, no one really wants the ring you have. I mean, what are they going to do, sell it to someone else? They’ve got vaults full of diamonds they’re not selling because they want to keep diamonds rare. Once they’ve sold you one, they have no interest in getting it back. They’ll make up reasons for your initial purchase, such as it’s the most beautiful stone on Earth, yet if you try to sell it back, they’ll insist it’s so hideous that can’t stand to look at it. And since nobody knows what diamonds are supposed to cost, we just have to take their word for it.
It’s all a ruse to hide the fact that not only does no one actually need diamonds, but that the diamond cartels have more than they know what to do with.
And the only reason we think they’re valuable is because these crooks are carefully controlling how many are released into the market at any given time
Though they’re also praying that the public doesn’t wise up because the moment we do, they’re screwed.
At first I was outraged, then I realized when both the scarce supply AND the demand are artificially created, its sort of a victimless crime. Their whole appeal is that they’re an expensive luxury item, it’s not that the poor, ignorant public is being bamboozled out of their swimming pools filled with affordable diamonds that we all so desperately want and need. If diamonds were cheap, no one would want them.
Sure they’ve managed to insert this is a cultural expectation, but the thing about cultural expectations is that you get to decide whether to participate or not. Your fiancée insists on a diamond or she won’t marry you? Well to me it sounds like you have bigger problems than diamonds being artificially expensive.
They’re expensive because the cartels have made them expensive… giving us exactly what we wanted all along: a conveniently sized, pointlessly expensive status symbol to signal how much more money you have than your friends.
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