When it comes to an engagement ring, the #1 precious stone of choice, is a diamond. De Beers, the company that controls roughly 90% of the world’s diamonds, has the diamond game, on lock. All the other companies are sloppy seconds.
The #1 retailer of diamonds, De Beers (form
ed in 1888), has monopolized the market on diamond sales here in the United States, and all over the world. If you want to know what a monopoly truly is, you need to look no further than the, De Beers Group of Companies.
The De Beers Marketing Machine
You’ve seen the ads. They’ve been circulating for over a century now. And if you haven’t seen this specific ad, then you’ve seen ones similar to it. De Beers has successfully advertised and manipulated the minds of American men and women into believing, “A Diamond is Forever.” In 2000, Advertising Age magazine named “A Diamond Is Forever” the best advertising slogan of the 20th century.
What about the “eternity ring?” De Beers coined it as, “a symbol of continuing affection and appreciation.” Oh really? Nothing is better than a $ 5000.00-eternity ring to show my affection and appreciation for the women I love. Right?
And then, there are television ads…
Based on this ad alone, as a man, I’d believe that a diamond ring from De Beers would, “up,” my chances at getting a, “yes,” from the woman I love. When you see the reactions from the women in the video, you want to experience that feeling. This ad campaign is pure genius.
People are subliminally conditioned to believe that diamonds are the very personification of love. Meaning, if I buy you a diamond engagement ring, I must love you. If I don’t buy you a ring, I don’t value you, and I’m not committed. Or, I must take our relationship for a joke, and I’m not serious about getting married.
Ask a few friends what they would think if their man proposed without a diamond engagement ring. I’m 100% sure you’d get similar responses.
The De Beers Monopoly
In an article about the De Beers sales-strategy shift, Bloomberg.com states that “since the company founded in 1888, De Beers followed a strategy of supply control. In addition to mining its own diamonds, it bought diamonds from other producers and had what it called the “central selling organization,” controlling some 90% of the world’s diamonds. Its tight control over such a vast amount of supply enabled De Beers to [keep prices high] for a commodity that is neither particularly scarce nor useful. If a competitor offered diamonds on the market outside of De Beers’ central selling organization, De Beers would simply flood the market with similar stones, thus eliminating any pricing power the competitor might offer.”
So they not only control the flow of diamonds, but De Beers also controls the price of diamonds as well. If they say a diamond is worth $5000, who are we to tell them it’s not worth that much? All they have to say is, “This a rare diamond.” When in actuality, there are thousands of others just like it available.
Retail Monopoly In the United States
De Beers also sells it’s diamond to various partner companies. One of which is, Signet Direct Diamond Sourcing. By name, you’ve probably never heard of them. They are the parent company to Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples, and Piercing Pagoda. So when you say, “He went to Jared,” he actually went to De Beers.
Chances are if you’re wearing a ring with a diamond in it, it probably came from De Beers.
Diamond Engagement Ring Tradition
Meanwhile, we all know that De Beers has manipulated the supply and demand of diamonds around the world. And most of us know the story about De Beers, “conflict diamonds.” In his personal engagement experience, Uri Friedman of the Atlantic says, in 1938 amid the great depression and rumors of war, Harry Oppenheimer, the De Beers founder’s son, recruited the New York based ad agency N.W. Ayer to burnish the image of diamonds in the United States, where the practice of giving diamond engagement rings had been unevenly gaining traction for years. However, the diamonds sold were increasingly small and low-quality, says, Friedman.
All they have to say is, “This a rare diamond.”
When in actuality, there are thousands of others just like it available.
Friedman also said that, meanwhile, the price of diamonds was falling around the world. The folks at Ayer set out to persuade young men that diamonds (and only diamonds) were synonymous with romance. Also, the measure of a man’s love (and even his personal and professional success) was directly proportional to the size and quality of the diamond he purchased. Young women, in turn, had to be convinced that courtship concluded, invariably, in the purchase of a diamond.
From that point on, the slogan, “A Diamond is Forever,” was born. Oh, and the, “two months salary,” tradition. But was it really a tradition or a marketing ploy that we all continue to fall for? We’ve fallen so badly that we can’t get up. On top of that, our parents (and grandparents) taught us that an engagement ring costs no less than 2 months salary. I don’t think they even knew what they were saying, or where it came from. They were just repeating what someone else told them, and calling it, “the right way.”
If you want to know how De Beers and N.W. Ayers used celebrities to manipulate diamond sales in the United States, click here
The “De Beers Effect”
Between 1939 and 1979, De Beers’s wholesale diamond sales in the United States increased from $23 million to $2.1 billion. Over those four decades, the company’s ad budget soared from $200,000 to $10 million a year. Looks like a few people were drinking the “diamond flavored kool-aid.”
When the U.S. engagement marked seemed tapped out, a new campaign promoted the gift of a second diamond as a way to reaffirm romance later in a marriage. Hence the “Anniversary Ring.” Where you buy a brand new ring, or, “upgrade,” the current ring. Either way, that’s more revenue for De Beers. Again, pure marketing genius.
As a result, decades of marketing and manipulation has affected the way women accept proposals and men propose. It’s gotten to the point where you have a demographic of women that will not accept an engagement proposal without a diamond wedding ring. For those that would, “accept,” the proposal, they stated, that an engagement ring would need to be purchased [eventually].
In an article on bride.com, the question was asked, “would you accept a proposal without a ring?” Here are there responses:
“I would absolutely accept a wedding proposal without a ring. I have not dated a man in years who is not grown and fully capable of purchasing a ring by the time we wed, so it is not a concern. Besides, I would rather help him pick it out — or have it designed.” — Shannon
“I’d actually prefer to accept a proposal without a ring for three reasons: One, it’s not possible for someone to pick out a ring for me. I can’t even pick out a ring for myself until I try it on. And if I hated it, I’d have to pretend I loved it. Two, the ring would distract me from the love of my life is asking me to marry him — and that’s the important part! And three, I don’t want my partner spending money on a ring I might not even like that I have to wear for the rest of my life.” — Elly
“I would not accept a proposal without a ring because I wouldn’t take it seriously. I don’t know if he is in the heat of the moment or what. If he has purchased a ring, then I know he is serious. I can’t think of a reason why I would accept a marriage proposal without a ring.” — Zondra
My fiancé and I are a bit adventurous and head-over-heels in love with each other. One Thursday night after we kept joking about how we want to get married we met up later at the Empire State building where he proposed to me without a ring. I accepted because I love him dearly and a ring has a sexist tradition in some ways — but most of all it’s because we are millennials. It’s not the item that is of value for us — it’s the experience. When I mention my fiancé and I am not wearing a ring, I do get funny looks. But I would rather my other half and I went to dinner or a show than him spend a ridiculous amount of money on something I will inevitably lose.” — Hannah
“Although the ring does hold traditional symbolism, to me, the ring (and the engagement ring especially) is less important than the prospect of spending a life with another person. Your answer should be based on the person, not the ring.” — Sarah
“If a man can’t afford to start our marriage by doing what is required to make it official, he doesn’t deserve me. In addition: I’m a traditionalist when it comes to heterosexual relationships. The man is the head of the household. He is the leader of our family, the provider, and spiritual leader. Failing to offer a ring when asking for my hand in marriage indicates he is not ready to take on those responsibilities. It’s a weak way to start a marriage. If a woman doesn’t need a man to do certain things, such as put a ring on it, it will be downhill from there.” — Stephanie
“I wouldn’t just accept a proposal without a ring — I’d prefer one without it. I think a ring is a stupid waste of money. Furthermore, I would rather have a fiancé who wants to spend money on meaningful experiences together, like traveling, not meaningless things, like a piece of jewelry. In other words: keep the ring! I’ll take the three-month honeymoon.” — Eva
Based on what I’ve seen and read, we are doomed! I’m kidding. Seriously, millennials are slowly changing tradition. However, Baby-boomers and Gen X’ers, are sticking with the De Beers brainwashing. As a result, pressuring our mates to spend extra resources to purchase a stone that has no intrinsic value. You can spend that money on your honeymoon, reception, debt, or even a down payment on a new home. Seems more practical right? That’s because it is.
Don’t pass up on a marriage proposal because a diamond ring is missing from the equation. In fact, I’d leave the engagement ring out completely, and just purchase wedding bands…
Minus the diamonds, of course.
Let’s Disqus®! Comment below
Would you accept a proposal without a ring?
Would you propose without a ring?
If a woman denied your proposal without a ring, would you purchase one, and propose again, or walk away?
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