This week, someone called my attention to a story in the print version of the New York Post highlighting a trend many in the jewelry industry are already aware of: non-traditional engagement rings.
The same article appeared online with a different headline: “Unless she’s a basic chick, don’t propose with a giant rock.”
“Basic chick” is a euphemism for “basic bitch,” a fairly new slang term created to refer to a woman who likes mainstream products or music because this is, apparently, a huge shortcoming nowadays (though only for women, of course.) Why we as a society feel the need to continually come up with new derogatory terms to refer to girls and women—and why women perpetuate negativity and stereotypes by using them—is unclear to me, but that’s beside the point of this blog.
The Post article describes a few beautiful-sounding custom engagement rings and gets a bit into the colored gemstone trend as well, with the requisite mention of the sapphire ring Kate Middleton wears.
The article, all in all, is not terrible and backs up what I just reaffirmed in interviewing millennials for a story in our next digital magazine: they aren’t afraid to break from tradition and want something different, not necessarily bigger and better.
At the end of the story, however, the Post embedded a somewhat random video called “Why Engagement Rings are a Scam,” which covers the same ground as every other “diamonds are a rip off”-type article: diamonds aren’t rare, they aren’t really worth anything, De Beers is a monopoly (incorrect; they control only 34 percent of the world’s supply at this point) that invented the idea of the diamond engagement ring in the 1930s.
While some people did exchange diamonds to mark their engagements before the ‘30s, it is correct that it was De Beers that really put the marketing muscle behind the concept with “A Diamond is Forever.”
But, De Beers is hardly the first company to try to connect with consumers in an effort to get them to buy their products, and they won’t be the last. Sorry to break the news for the star of this ill-informed video and all the other men out there that rail against the diamond ring but … there’s some type of marketing behind almost everything you buy.
Picture : De Beers