I have never understood the concept of expensive jewelry.
As a human being, it is embarrassing to me that our species cannot seem to mature beyond a 6-month-old’s fascination with shiny things. And what other species can you name that willingly mutilates their bodies for the purpose of inserting various types of baubles? Are you telling me that’s why humans developed opposable thumbs–to punch holes in their earlobes?
Buying jewelry has always caused me actual physical discomfort because, really, I just don’t get it. Is there no other way for a man to show how he feels about a woman? Why can’t he say “I love you” with a large screen TV or something else that’s actually useful and can’t be easily replaced by colored glass?
Fortunately, my wife of 30 years understands this shortcoming of mine, or else she would not be my wife of 30 years. I announced decades ago that I was giving up even attempting to purchase jewelry for her, not only because of my aversion, but because of constantly shifting tastes on her part that ensured the likelihood of my selecting something she would like was very slim. She now makes her own jewelry. For her last birthday, I bought her a jewelry box.
It was a very nice one.
As much as jewelry confounds me, I really don’t get diamonds. Granted, diamonds have an industrial use as very hard things that can cut through other things. However, this does not explain their value as adornments, unless you think you might be wandering down the street one day and have a sudden urge to use your engagement ring to cut a hole in the window of…well, let us say a jewelry store.
WARNING TO LISPERS: Do not read the following sentence out loud.
But okay, even if I could get past the idea of diamonds as stunning, sparkly status symbols for spontaneous sneakthieves, can somebody explain what makes “natural” diamonds more valuable than manmade ones?
Technology has progressed to the point where diamonds can be made in a laboratory. I’m not talking about cubic zirconia here; we can now manufacture genuine, real, authentic, actual diamonds that are indistinguishable in all ways from the stuff that comes out of the ground. They are identical right down to the molecular level, created in the same way nature creates hers, with massive amounts of pressure. Of course, the manmade ones take a little less time to make, like a millennium or two.
And they sell for about a quarter of the price.
This means somebody who scorns a manmade diamond is actually saying that an object that has no intrinsic value in the first place is more valuable than an identical item just because you paid more for it.
Let me demonstrate how ridiculous this is.
Here on my counter are two diamonds. They are both real. Same number of carats, same flawlessness, same cut, same facets, same…well, whatever else you measure diamonds by. I tell you the one on the right is $10,000 and the one on the left is $2,500.
Which one is manmade? You’ll say the one on the left. But why? What makes it less valuable? What if I switch the diamonds but not the prices? What if I told you the manmade one is more valuable because it doesn’t come with any of the political baggage that natural diamonds come with?*
They say you should spend three month’s salary on an engagement ring, which is why you’re better off getting married while you’re young and not earning much. Of course, the “they” who are saying this are people in the diamond industry. So, you look at the two identical diamonds I described two paragraphs ago, and you, being a rational male human, decide to buy the manmade one and save the rest of your three month’s salary to maybe pay your rent, but then you change your mind and make the irrational move because you know if you purchase the manmade diamond (which, let me repeat, is identical to the natural one) for one quarter of the price, it will come back to haunt you, years from now, when your soul mate, the love of your life, is looking for ammunition in an argument and screams “Let me tell you what you can do with your damn manmade diamond, you cheap bastard!”
And if it wasn’t enough that you had to choose between two diamonds that are identical in all ways except price, you now have other choices: different colored diamonds. Red diamonds, yellow diamonds, chocolate diamonds. What’s up with that? You want a red diamond, get a friggin’ ruby! It’s like you’re saying, “I love diamonds because of their clarity, brilliance and the way they reflect the light. Do you have one in black?”
There’s only one kind of diamond I can understand, and that’s the type that gets made from the ashes of someone (or some pet) that you loved.
Yes, you read that correctly.
You can just send the ashes to a company like LifeGem.** They capture the carbon and, using the same process that manufactures manmade diamonds, they pressure the remains of your family member or pet into becoming a gorgeous diamond. In this way, you can wear your loved one close to your heart much more conveniently than walking around with an urn around your neck. Plus, if you ever get short on cash, you can even pawn your loved one!
Your loved one doesn’t even have to be dead, because they can extract the necessary carbon from a lock of hair! This method is much preferred, particularly by the person or pet who is providing the raw material. (Unfortunately, I’m afraid this option is unavailable to anyone wanting to make a diamond out of me.)
And best of all, these diamonds not only come in colors, they are actually more expensive than natural diamonds, and thus, are much more valuable because, they, um, cost more.
See you soon.
**As you can see, LifeGem also sells t-shirts. This is one instance where I can honestly say that I hope they’re made from polyester, considering what they make their diamonds out of. But regardless what they’re made of, it’s clear that they are made with questionable taste. (By the way, the t-shirts, like the diamonds, come in different colors.)