Are diamonds worth the cost?
- Diamonds are formed in the upper mantle of the Earth’s crust, about 100 miles or so below the surface. A combination of high temperatures, pressure, and chemicals like carbon compressing inside the Earth is what forms diamond crystals, which are later mined and refined to create commercial diamonds. Diamonds can be anywhere from days, months, hundreds, or millions of years old.
- The world’s top four countries with the largest diamond reserves as of 2021 are Russia, Botswana, the Congo, and South Africa.
- There are two types of diamonds on the market: natural and synthetic. Natural diamonds are mined from the earth and synthetic diamonds are those that are lab-grown. General Electric (GE) invented lab-made diamonds in the 1950s.
- There are “5 Cs” of picking a diamond: Cut, clarity, color, carat (weight), and cost.
For centuries, people have sought after diamonds as engagement rings and important jewelry, some keeping them in their families as precious heirlooms. This is the right response to diamonds, as they have a timeless beauty. From the earliest echelons of written history, people believed that diamonds were stunning rocks. Their beauty is so profound that they have gained reverence as a symbol of love. Diamonds give off unprecedented fire and brilliance, making them appealing to the eye.
Secondly, diamonds are long-lasting and durable, which makes them more than worth their cost. They are hard, rigid rocks molded through covalent bonding to produce jewelry as old as time. Natural diamonds retain their value compared to lab-grown diamonds. While lab-grown diamonds lose their resale value, the natural stone has a continuing market demand because of its rarity. Industry players consider diamonds a potential replacement for gold as an investment option.
Historically, diamonds are associated with posterity, love, and health. They are undeniably unique. Since early history, different cultures have documented diamonds—for instance, the ancient Greeks associated diamonds with the tears of the Gods. Elsewhere, the Romans considered diamonds to be remnants of fallen stars. These stories form part of a unique history documented over time to show that diamonds are worth their cost.
As diamonds are a long-term purchase, their heirloom value is just as significant as their short-term price. A diamond will always hold significance as it passes down the generations. Buyers have much to consider when prioritizing what they want when purchasing quality jewelry. Based on these considerations, diamonds are worth the purchase.
Customers these days knowingly pay a high price for a diamond's brilliant illusion of glamor, status, and prestige. Certain vintage diamonds may hold sentimental significance, but the days of diamonds being rare are long gone as diamonds are the most commonplace precious stone. Yet, diamond prices and demand continue growing. The stone's famous status seems to be the only factor supporting its astronomical costs, which produces corresponding profits, further bolstering its perceived worth. Worse yet, the fantasy of the perfect diamond or diamond ring has been and continues to be perpetuated by monopolies in the industry, namely Rhode's DeBeers company.
Diamonds remain costly because of the fiction that they offer prestige even though they're comfortably and cheaply grown in bulk by labs in our modern era. Furthermore, consumers assume that a big purchase equals a big investment, but that's not the case for diamonds. Their resale value is ridiculously low, especially if lab-produced. It's a double whammy for the consumer who already spent an outlandish amount on an unfairly marked-up product.
Diamonds also cause death and suffering when traditionally mined and manufactured. Murder, rape, and forced slave labor are what some experience under the thumbs of forces producing diamonds for their own gain. These are commonly called 'blood diamonds,' and they unfortunately still exist today. As consumers, it can be hard to know where precisely a diamond originated. Corporate diamond producers do 'certify' their diamonds, yet their stamp of approval doesn't ensure the diamonds are conflict-free, but it does ensure their monopoly in the market.
If the diamond industry could reform to be safe, honest, and reflect the true worth of a stunning stone, then maybe the cultural and fashionable staple could live on and be available to all.
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