The Facts About Diamonds (and why I don’t like De Beers)

February 7th, 2010
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t of the upcoming Valentines Day holiday, when diamonds are often purchased as a means of telling your significant other how much you buy into media hype and advertisements, I thought it was about time I posted about some of the pervasive myths and the realities of diamonds. This post does contain some actual scientific and historical facts verses myths, but it also has some social commentary that I figured I might add.

Some would argue that this is why I’m single, because the fact of the matter is that I’m not keen on buying diamonds*. If I did ever buy a diamond as an engagement ring it would be synthetic. Yes, this may limit my options, although most of those excluded would hopefully not be anyone I’d be interested in anyway.

If this seems written from a male perspective, it’s because, traditionally, it’s the man who is generally expected to purchase expensive jewelery. Diamonds are not generally given from women to men, except perhaps in narrow circumstances of things like cuff-links or tie tacks.

*note: I am referring to gem diamonds. I have no problem buying diamonds that are inset into a saw blade or drill bit.

Diamonds are rare and valuable – Diamonds are fairly rare, at least compared to other minerals, but not nearly as rare as you might think. In areas where kimberlite can be found, diamonds are actually fairly common, although most are small and not gem quality. The cost of diamonds has a lot more to do with a stranglehold on the market than it does the natural rarity of diamonds.

The De Beers Group managed to acquire a large portion of the diamond production business in the late 1800′s. At the time, nearly all diamonds came from South Africa. Once De Beers acquired most of the mines, it took some very aggressive steps to secure its monopoly. It would offer to buy out smaller producers and if they refused, De Beers would flood the market with diamonds of similar characteristics to destroy the viability and force producers to submit. De Beers managed to keep a monopoly control of the world production throughout the 20th century and operated as a cartel. To keep the price of diamonds artificially high, they sat on huge stockpiles, keeping them from entering the market.

De Beers price fixing, production withholding and strong armed tactics kept them out of the United States and many other countries. Their business practices being downright illegal, not to mention their alleged crimes of a more violent or direct nature. That was fine, however, as they simply sold through other countries, making diamonds even more coveted. Jewelers had to travel to places like Belgium to even get a chance to bid for diamonds, and sales could be invitation only. (Pretty much, they worked like the Mafia)

It wasn’t until the early 2000′s that De Beers faced a competitor who could go toe to toe with them when it came to heavy handedness and sheer brutality: Russia. The discovery of diamonds and their subsequent production in Russia was the first major blow De Beers Cartel. This was followed by Canada, where business law prevented De Beers from resorting to the measures it had taken in Africa. The Diavik Diamond mine opened in Canada in 2003 and was one of the largest single blows to the De Beers monopoly. Since 2000 several other, generally small diamond mines have opened up, chipping away further at the total control that De Beers once had on the market.

Not surprisingly at all, the price of diamonds plummeted. Today, De Beers continues to maintain control of 50%-60% of the world diamond market and controls the producers of some of the best quality and largest gemstone diamonds. While this does not allow them to dictate the price of diamonds like they once did, it is still more than enough to have a profound influence on the market. They continue to withhold massive stockpiles of diamonds, and other producers too may keep their production under check to prevent a flood of diamonds from causing a huge reduction in price. Artificially controlling the price of a commodity does not require that any one entity control all production, only that they control a very significant proportion of it. OPEC, for example, only controls 33% of the world’s oil supply, still more than enough to make a huge difference in the price of oil.

Diamonds Nature’s Perfection – Far from it! Nearly all natural diamonds have flaws in them. If the diamonds are small, the flaws may not be noticeable, but any large diamond will have some fairly major flaws in it, if you look closely.

While the diamonds you see in a store are symmetrical, clear and shaped like teardrops or other geometrical shape, this is entirely artificial and the result of cutting and polishing the rough diamonds. The natural condition of a diamond is actually quite unimpressive to look at.

“A diamond is forever” - No more so than anything else. Diamonds are the hardest known material, which makes them quite durable, but they are not infinitely durable. While diamonds are extremely hard, this should not be confused with overall strength. A diamond can be cut, in some cases fairly easily, by splitting it along lines of cleavage. In fact, a diamond can sometimes even shatter if it’s struck in the right place and at the right angle. In addition to this, diamonds will burn if they get hot enough and can be ground down to dust with another diamond.

Diamonds can also be burned. They are fairly temperature tolerant, but if it gets high enough, they will vaporize and combust to nothing more than CO2. Thus, assuming something else doesn’t destroy it first, your diamond will eventually be vaporized by the expanding sun when it enters its “red giant” phase. Nothing is forever, not even diamonds.

Guess who introduced the term “a diamond is forever” and the myth that they are. Yep, it’s De Beers.

Synthetic Diamonds Are Not Real - If you mention synthetic diamonds to someone, they may say they would rather have a “real” diamond. Synthetic diamonds are not fake at all, they are real diamonds. Cubic zirconia and synthetic moissanite are both “fake” in that they simulate the look of a diamond but are not diamonds at all. However, a real synthetic diamond is made of crystalline carbon, just like a natural diamond is. It’s as hard as a diamond and looks exactly like a diamond, because it is a diamond.

Synthetic diamonds have actually been around for decades, but until relatively recently the processes used to make synthetic diamonds could only produce relatively small and low quality diamonds, suitable only for industrial applications and not gem quality. However, in recent years, new processes such as high temperature deposition can produce diamonds that meet or exceed gem quality standards and are often more perfect than all but the best natural diamonds.

One of the most common varieties of synthetic diamond are yellow diamonds. Yellow colored diamonds occur in nature when nitrogen atoms replace a small portion of the carbon atoms. This occurred in the first generation of synthetic gem-quality diamonds because the production process uses high pressure nitrogen gas. However, there has been an enormous amount of progress in the production of synthetic diamonds and today they can be produced in any color or in a clear form. It is even possible to recreate the deep blue color of the Hope Diamond, created by a trace of boron in the crystal latice.

Modern synthetic gem-quality diamonds are indistinguishable from natural diamonds by even the most discerning jeweler’s eye. Realizing that their market could be about to collapse, diamond producers rushed to produce a non-destructive method of telling the difference. The only known method to distinguish synthetic from natural diamonds is through infrared, UV and x-ray spectroscopy, which can detect tiny traces of nickle, nitrogen or other impurities that are used in the process of producing synthetic diamonds. However, even this method is not foolproof and as diamond synthesis improves, it may also prove to be capable of detection even by sophisticated methods. Currently, many producers of natural diamonds are laser inscribing serial numbers on their diamonds to provide proof that they are natural.

But if you can’t tell the difference what is the point? After all, there are many natural diamonds in circulation without serial numbers inscribed on them. If you needed any more reason to consider diamonds about the worst investment around, this is it.

It is traditional for a man to give a woman a diamond engagement ring – This is probably one of the biggest single myths, and it’s come to be so pervasive that many think that an engagement is not “proper” or somehow is inadequate if there is no ring with a big diamond, costing three months or more of a man’s salary. However, this “tradition” simply did not exist prior to the 20th century. Rings have long been used as a symbol of relationships, especially marriage, where a wedding band is traditionally worn by both husband and wife, and there may have been some isolated examples of diamond rings given for engagements in centuries past, but they were not the norm. The most common jeweled rings given to lovers in the Victorian era were generally birthstone rings.

The “tradition” was invented in the 1930′s, by none other than De Beers, simply to drum up diamond sales. De Beers faced a problem in the early 20th century. They were expanding production, but diamonds were not all that popular and sales were down. They turned to the advertising firm of N.W. Ayer in the 1930′s, who began a multi-national publicity campaign that included encouraging wedding planners and bridal gown shops to promote diamonds as a necessity for a marriage. heir publicity campaign was brilliant, especially given that this was an era where such large efforts were rare. They managed to convince the public that a diamond wasn’t simply customary, but that a man was obligated to spend a large chunk of his salary on one. They managed to plant the myth that a man had to spend a good three months of his salary and that if he didn’t, he was somehow “cheap” or didn’t love the woman enough to make the sacrifice for her love. No diamond? What kind of man are you?

Convincing the public of this during the Great Depression meant that even while other sales were down, diamond sales soared. The general public didn’t have much money, but what they did have they felt compelled to spend on a rock for their lover’s finger. De Beers redoubled their efforts again several years later, when GI’s began coming home and marrying up. It’s amazing to stop and consider the logic here. A new couple, young and likely without much money could spend that money on a new home, a honeymoon or invest it to establish a fund for their future children’s college, but slick PR meant it was squandered on a rock.

A slick ad campaign continues to convince new generations that it’s only proper to buy an overpriced chunk of carbon for no other purpose than to look at. If you actually want to follow the “traditional” societial norm, don’t buy her a diamond. Buy her a birthstone ring or a ring with an opal, sapphire or ruby. Better yet, don’t buy any ring at all and put the money that would have gone into it toward a house, the honeymoon, or the start of an investment “nestegg.” If she’s too offended by this to accept the proposal, she ain’t worth it anyway.

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend – Okay, they do have some monetary value, but any girl who is shallow or socially dysfunctional enough to think that a gemstone is a substitute for human kinship and makes a good companion probably is not relationship material for anyone who isn’t a small piece of inorganic carbon.

One thing that I love to hate about the current ads is that they seem to indicate that a diamond is somehow a substitute for real affection, attention or time. It’s as if the only way to show someone that they mean something to you is to buy an overpriced rock with no consideration for the fact that it’s artificially expensive, will almost certainly lose value and comes from a supply chain of, at best, extremely questionable ethics. It implies that women are so shallow and stupid that despite wanting to spend time with their significant other, it’s possible to pacify them by giving them a shiny object to start at instead. (Diamonds don’t actually keep her company while you’re out ignoring her.)

Of course, the other thing one should realize is that diamonds have become the default all purpose gift to give for romantic occasions. In other words, there is absolutely nothing unique or creative about it. There’s no real thought involved other than the consideration of how much money you can put into the gift. You may as well get her a gift certificate, because that’s no more or less unique or thoughtful – even better, just cut her a check.

How about this? If you want to buy a woman a piece of jewelery, consider something a bit unusual, that will actually stand out from the crowd and show that you went out of your way to put some thought into it and seek out something meaningful. What about a platinum ring with a unique stone in it? How about something unusual like a lunar meteorite? You could even preface it with a meaningful metaphor like “Nothing on earth could be enough for you, so I got you a piece of the moon.” Alternatively you could get a unique fossil or piece of something else meaningful. If you prefer a gemstone, how about a nice sapphire? When was the last time you saw a beautiful sapphire on a ring? How about something custom made with a design that has some significance? Maybe an emerald shamrock if she’s Irish or a ruby maple leaf if she’s Canadian or if you met in Canada. These are just examples, of course. Try putting your own thought into it and come up with something else meaningful, but not a diamond, everyone gets a diamond.


This entry was posted on Sunday, February 7th, 2010 at 2:58 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Culture, Good Science, History, Misc, Not Even Wrong, Obfuscation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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74 Responses to “The Facts About Diamonds (and why I don’t like De Beers)”

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  1. 51
    RowanVT Says:

            Q said:

    This is not how it works…

    If you try to give her something as heartfelt and meaningful, but unexpected and nontraditional as a lunar meteorite on a piece of jewelry and never buy a diamond, that moon rock is going in the trash or to the nearest pawn shop and she’ll find someone else who will buy her expensive shiny objects.

    B.S.

    Bitter much? You certainly sound like it. As a woman, I would much rather have something like a lunar meteorite or birthstone ring than a diamond. In fact, I personally find diamonds to be the most boring rock on the planet. “Oh look. It’s clear. … woo.”

    The idea that any woman would leave a guy over a lack of a stupid sparkly rock is appallingly simple minded of you. Screw shininess. I want a guy who loves me, that’s all. Maybe if you actually showed some *affection*…….


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  2. 52
    gman Says:

    My girlfriend wanted a nice big diamond ring. I gave it to her, we got married. We’ve been happy for 17 years and she’s not a shallow stupid cow or a prostitute. I’ve never been sorry I married her, and we spend all of our free time together. If you don’t want a ring that’s fine. If you do, that’s fine too.


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  3. 53
    Evil Head Doctor Says:

            gman said:

    My girlfriend wanted a nice big diamond ring. I gave it to her, we got married. We’ve been happy for 17 years and she’s not a shallow stupid cow or a prostitute. I’ve never been sorry I married her, and we spend all of our free time together. If you don’t want a ring that’s fine. If you do, that’s fine too.

    This makes me wonder: Why did she want a nice big diamond ring? Was it because nice big diamonds are a sign of wealth, a materialistic desire. Or does she genuinely like the appearance of diamonds? If it’s the latter, do you think she would have scoffed had you gotten her a synthetic instead of a mined diamond? And would she have rejected you, had you NOT gotten her a diamond? The answer to those questions determine whether someone just likes diamonds, or could really be called shallow, at least in my mind.


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  4. 54
    drbuzz0 Says:

            gman said:

    My girlfriend wanted a nice big diamond ring. I gave it to her, we got married. We’ve been happy for 17 years and she’s not a shallow stupid cow or a prostitute. I’ve never been sorry I married her, and we spend all of our free time together. If you don’t want a ring that’s fine. If you do, that’s fine too.

    Well, then I’d advise you to keep her away from this article or any like it. As long as she’s blissfully ignorant of how little it’s actually worth and how empty the “tradition” actually is, I’d imagine she’d be fine with things.

    I mean, she’s under the impression that the thing on her hand is rare and unique. Nobody likes to find out they’ve been had. It might be better for her not to. Just be sure she doesn’t ever take it to a pawn shop or jewelery recycle and get an estimate for its sale. You know, people sometimes do that for insurance or tax reasons, and it tends to get a very very rude awakening.

    If she ever gets it appraised, make sure it’s only the direct replacement retail cost or an equivalent new diamond. NOT the actual value.

            Evil Head Doctor said:

    Or does she genuinely like the appearance of diamonds?

    I know that there are people who genuinely appreciate a diamond because they believe the following:

    1) it’s a rare item of high value that only occurs on very very rare occasions and therefore is special for that
    2) it’s valuable
    3) receiving one is part of a long established and elegant tradition of society and marks a milestone in a way that is iconic in culture and symbolic because of its rich history
    4) It has a beauty that is uncommon in nature and impossible for man to reproduce and can be marveled at for it’s unique and unusual properties.

    Now, all these are good and valid reasons to place value on something. That is, if they were true. The big problem is that they’re not.


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  5. 55
    Soylent Says:

    DrBuzzo; I think of it as a filter.

    If I were to propose to a woman I would pick something interesting like a custom-ordered ring made out of pure iridium. If she were to reject me because of the lack of a conventional gold ring with sparkely gravel on I would know that it was a mistake to propose to her in the first place, since we clearly have incompatible personalities.


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  6. 56
    gman Says:

    You guys seem to think you know alot about my wife. How exactly do you do that, considering you’ve never met her?


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  7. 57
    Evil Head Doctor Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    I know that there are people who genuinely appreciate a diamond because they believe the following:

    1) it’s a rare item of high value that only occurs on very very rare occasions and therefore is special for that
    2) it’s valuable
    3) receiving one is part of a long established and elegant tradition of society and marks a milestone in a way that is iconic in culture and symbolic because of its rich history
    4) It has a beauty that is uncommon in nature and impossible for man to reproduce and can be marveled at for it’s unique and unusual properties.

    Now, all these are good and valid reasons to place value on something.

    That is, if they were true. The big problem is that they’re not.

    Um, some people genuinely like diamonds because they enjoy a sparkly clear gem. That’s why I asked if she would care if it was a synthetic. If it’s just the appearance of diamonds that she likes, it probably wouldn’t matter if it’s mined or synthetic.

            gman said:

    You guys seem to think you know alot about my wife. How exactly do you do that, considering you’ve never met her?

    Read my comment again. I assumed nothing. I asked questions. Not my fault you didn’t answer them.


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  8. 58
    drbuzz0 Says:

            gman said:

    You guys seem to think you know alot about my wife. How exactly do you do that, considering you’ve never met her?

    Sorry. I was giving some of the common reasons. There’s not much more anyone can do but speculate unless you’d like to provide some details.

            Evil Head Doctor said:

    If it’s just the appearance of diamonds that she likes, it probably wouldn’t matter if it’s mined or synthetic.

    Well, if that’s what you like about diamonds, then a synthetic should be preferable. Synthetics have less flaws than all but the most expensive mined diamonds and they’re cheaper, so you can get more for the same price or have more money left over for other aspects of the ring, such as accent stones or the band, or the money could be spent on the wedding or other things.

    If someone can think of a good reason why to get a mined diamond or why a mined diamond is desirable over something else or a synthetic, even desirable enough to justify the inflated price, I’d love to hear it. No matter how hard I rack my brain, I can’t think of one good reason.

    The only thing I can think of might be that she does genuinely really really like diamonds for their look and that the purchase of it pre-dates the availability of gem quality synthetics.


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  9. 59
    Evil Head Doctor Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    Well, if that’s what you like about diamonds, then a synthetic should be preferable.

    That’s why I said it shouldn’t matter to her. Basically, it wouldn’t NEED to be a mined diamond, so you pick the one that you can find that best suits your other desires. The one thing about synthetics that is sometimes difficult is they are hard to find, at least at the jewelers around me. I like to try my jewelery on and feel it before I buy it, and if I can’t find it in a store by me, that’s not an option. It doesn’t justify the inflated price so much as suggests that more jewelers need to carry synthetics.

    There is only one place by me that does. They carry only synthetics or diamonds mined in Canada. But, if you don’t like the styles there, your SOL.

    The other way mined diamonds might be preferable is if they are purchased at a pawn shop or estate sale. You can usually get a REALLY good deal on them there and some pretty classy styles as well.


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  10. 60
    Eva Says:

    Evil Head Doctor, you can buy synthetic stones separate from the actual settings. You can also buy stones online and then return them if you don’t like them (shipping is way cheaper than inflated prices!). Local jewelry places should be willing to set stones you provide into settings you have (or that you’ve bought from them). They will already be doing some business with people who are resetting stones from existing family pieces or damaged pieces, so it’s not like this is a strange thing for you to be asking them for.


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  11. 61
    Evil Head Doctor Says:

            Eva said:

    Evil Head Doctor, you can buy synthetic stones separate from the actual settings. You can also buy stones online and then return them if you don’t like them (shipping is way cheaper than inflated prices!). Local jewelry places should be willing to set stones you provide into settings you have (or that you’ve bought from them). They will already be doing some business with people who are resetting stones from existing family pieces or damaged pieces, so it’s not like this is a strange thing for you to be asking them for.

    Thanks for the information (and ideas!). I don’t like diamonds, but I’ll keep that in mind if I’m talking to someone who does. :-)


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  12. 62
    ETSmith Says:

    Slightly off topic –borts vs gems

    The DeBeers, AngloAmerican Mining, Consolidated Diamond Syndicate was responsible for extending WW2 by TWO years.

    During summer of 1940 there was a fear that the worlds supplies of diamonds would fall into German hands during the invasion. In as much as diamonds were required for any significant industrial process, this would amount to a total victory.

    The Syndicate did not want to ship its stockpile across the Atlantic for fear that after the war the US would seize everything as part of an antiTrust action.

    So things sat in British drawing rooms, and nothing was done. After The Battle of Britain was over the Syndicate retaliated. It cut the quality of the industrial diamonds while keeping the quantity and price the same. The net effects was as if they had halved the supply of industrial diamonds. So it took twice as long to build the stockpile of tanks and planes needed for the invasion of Europe.

    In addition, the Oppenheimer controled AngloAmerican Mining was given control of the Congo fields which were mostly industrial diamonds. By some strange coincidence the stones from these mines ended up going to Germany via the diamond merchants of Tangiers and Cairo. For a price of 30 times the regular market.
    In 1941 Germany predicted that its store of industrial diamonds would be gone by Sept 1943. As it was they found a source of smuggled diamonds and 1944 was the year of their greated war material production.

    All this was in a wartime OSS study that is quoted in the in house history of the Syndicate.
    ( http://www.edwardjayepstein.com/diamond/chap9.htm)

    So every death in WW2 after 1943 is directly attributable to the greed of the diamond merchants.

    The irony is that the greed of the Jewish merchants of England was to cause the deaths of the Jews of Poland etc.


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  13. 63
    Chem Geek Gregor Says:

    Regarding gem quality synthetics: Diamonds of all kinds are a HORRIBLE investment because synthetics are getting better and better and pretty soon even with spectrometers it won’t be possible to tell them apart. Right now most synthetics are engraved with a logo. As the technology gets more common, it will probably become more possible to get unmarked ones.

    Synthetics are almost as bad an investment and will lose value as well. They are expensive, less so than natural, but still hundreds or thousands of dollars. However this is just because they’re new and not many produce them (yet). They’re actually cheap to make. Give it a couple of years and the price will fall on those, even as they become harder to detect.

    If you’re going to buy a diamond expect to lose all the value of it. Buy synthetic becasue at least then you don’t lose as much. Don’t search “synthetic” though. Search for “cultured diamond” or “lab grown” or “lab cultured” because synthetic gets you stuck with the CZ and Moisonite sites.


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  14. 64
    Calli Arcale Says:

            RowanVT said:

    Bitter much? You certainly sound like it. As a woman, I would much rather have something like a lunar meteorite or birthstone ring than a diamond. In fact, I personally find diamonds to be the most boring rock on the planet. “Oh look. It’s clear. … woo.”

    Heck, some birthstones are still worth more than diamonds. Even today, despite what DeBeers tells the world, diamonds are not the most valuable stones per weight. I’m not sure what is, but probably good quality rubies. Pink rubies are common. The really deep red ones are not, and clarity is rare in a ruby, so is highly prized. Also, rubies (being corundum) come in star forms, as do sapphires. (A star gem is one which, when polished, shows a shimmering star shape inside.) Diamonds never do; they have the wrong crystal lattice to support the star. And there are even synthetic star gems now; I used to have a synthetic star sapphire set on a white gold ring. Very nice.

    But a lunar meteorite . . . dude. If my man got me one of those, I would be . . . well, I’d be over the moon. :-P I’m not seriously into expensive jewelry (I mostly just like to admire it), but I *am* into space. A lunar meteorite, even a tiny one, set into jewelry would show that a) he really knows me and b) he’s willing to spend a huge chunk of money. I’d rather he paid off the mortgage if he has that kind of money, though. ;-) Meteorites are very very expensive. Not as expensive (per weight) as a high-end diamond, but a small piece set into jewelry will set you back a few hundred bucks at least, so they’re certainly not junk. Lunar ones will set you back considerably further, to the point where I suspect determining the actual price will involve haggling.


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  15. 65
    Joe Whitehead Says:

    Pfft noobs get diamonds – natural rubies are way better. :)


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  16. 66
    Chimp Says:

    Not that it adds much to the topic, but deBeers isn’t a ‘cartel’.A cartel would require partners in crime, so to speak. They were at one time able to monopolise some aspects of the diamond market.

    Their history is decidedly chequered, though I would need to see proof of claims like ‘owned 40% of the South African stockmarket’. Lots of older companies have some dodgy stuff in their pasts. deBeers tends to get put under the spotlight by readers of the Protocols of Zion.

    Minor disclosure: I’ve done contract work for deBeers in the past. They’ve been excellent to work with, once you get over the security mindset they have.


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  17. 67
    alisha Says:

    uh oh sounds like there are a lot of men who can’t afford real diamonds………bitter much? hey at least you don’t have to buy expensive jewelry for your right hand…..so i think most of you are safe.


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  18. 68
    Darryl Jeffress Says:

    Is there a way to sell my old diamond jewelry for cash? I live near philadelphia so anywhere around there. I have heard of pawn shops but I have never tried to do anything like this before. Even if I wanted to sell my jewelry over the internet, I would have no idea any information buyers might ask including the weight and carot.


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  19. 69
    Joe Whitehead Says:

    Yes, but no matter who you sell it to, you’ll get a lot less than you paid. Another reason not to “invest” in diamonds.

    A) Diamonds chip
    B) They have to find a buyer who has the same taste (not as bad as ‘A’).
    C) They know what it’s worth and can afford to make a low ball bid knowing that you’ll likely not realize that you could have had a higher offer.
    D) They know that YOU don’t know. (Even worse than A/B/C combined) :P
    E) You need the money fast, so you’ll take the first offer that is decent.

    Next time, if you want something else to resell, just get certified precious metals. Or you can go with coins and jewelry whose main value is the metal content. And if that’s not to your taste, use the old standby of decorative guns ‘n ammo. (not joking at all!)


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  20. 70
    DV82XL Says:

    There is no market for small second hand stones. Unless your stones are over a few karats , they are worthless, usually you get more for the precious metal in the mounting.


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  21. 71
    Joe Whitehead Says:

    Yeah, the stones are rarely valuable. It’s like trying to sell a baseball card back to a dealer – once they sell it, they want nothing to do with it!


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  22. 72
    Lex Says:

    Fascinating article. I had understood through reading that there was considerable inflation of the diamond price through control of supply, and that diamonds are nothing like as rare as other stones of similar carat price; however your piece gives several interesting additional perspectives on the whole thing. It’s amazing how deep the “rules” around diamond purchasing have set in. Who came up with the idea that a man making a proposal is “supposed” to buy a diamond worth a month’s wages? Anyway, this was a great read.


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  23. 73
    Jim Says:

            alisha said:

    uh oh sounds like there are a lot of men who can’t afford real diamonds………bitter much? hey at least you don’t have to buy expensive jewelry for your right hand…..so i think most of you are safe.

    There are people starving in this world – I personally, as would my wife, prefer to send the money to someone who really needed it. And yes, I can more than afford to buy diamonds I just choose not to. Not everybody who is well paid is materialistic. In fact most of the guys I know who have earnt fortunes tend to not spend their money on “bling”. Just trashy ones like you love.


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  24. 74
    Diamonds are interesting, but I have no desire to take them to the movies. ← katsudon.net Says:

    [...] Interesting post here about “The facts about diamonds.” The author of the post mostly focuses on the cultural/social aspects of diamonds, and for the most part I agree with him. I’ve always found jewelry commercials in general irritating, and even more so the ones that dig up the rotting corpse of “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” and display it on national television. I don’t like the message that women are shallow beings that can be bought off with a shiny bauble; it’s demeaning for women (we’re coin-operated sex bots) and men as well (since apparently men have nothing going for them except their ability to give us shiny things.) It’s not any better if you approach it from the angle of “jewelry as a means for men to show off their wealth” since that places women squarely in to the category of an ornament for men, the vehicle by which they do their social posturing. [...]


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