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Diamonds - Are They Really Worth the Cost? 2388

Posted by Cliff
from the ethics-in-the-diamond-age dept.
hardDiamond asks: "I'm going to get engaged. I know my 4 C's. I know I'm going to get screwed by the jeweller, but that's okay: after all, a diamond engagement ring is a time-honoured tradition... NOT. Having checked out the goods, looked for the flaws, I found the biggest one of all. Diamond engagement rings are the creation of a well orchestrated advertising campaign for most of the last century - according to this article. Would you buy one for the love of your life? I know my girlfriend would love a diamond, but ethically I have my doubts. Diseased-miners, child slave labour, cartel inflated prices... and as if that wasn't enough, diamonds have no resale value. Naddah. Zilch. They'll sell you the shit, but damn it, they're not taking it back at any price. So what have my fellow slashdotters done with regards to engagement rings? What's a good substitute for diamonds? My girlfriend understands my thoughts regarding diamonds, but deep down, I'm sure she would like a diamond. Even a small one." I've never even thought about questioning such a time honored tradition, but now I'm curious. Have any of you looked at the issues surrounding diamonds and found them wanting? What alternatives have you found and were they acceptable?
After researching this a bit, one of the key facts to surface is that 2-4.5% of diamond sales will go to finance terrorism or forms of violence. Such diamonds, for want of a better term, have been named "conflict diamonds". For those of you interested in following up on this subject, here are a few more links:
Fatal Transactions
Conflict Diamonds: Sanctions and War
The Campaign to Eliminate Conflict Diamonds
The Kimberly Process, which will attempt to track diamonds to their origin. This is to begin in November.
For those of you who have a subscription to Science News, the cover story, this month, deals with this issue as well.
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Diamonds - Are They Really Worth the Cost?

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  • The Answer (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Chester K (145560) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:09PM (#4065448) Homepage
    Diamonds - Are They Really Worth the Cost?

    Do you love her? If so, then they're worth the cost.
  • alternatives? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by garcia (6573) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:09PM (#4065449) Homepage
    There are none. The girlfriend will be bombarded w/her friends pissing her off w/the fact that she doesn't have one, and how dare her fiance not buy one for her.

    My gf's brother just got engaged. His fiance announced this to my gf by saying, "here's mine, where's yours?"

    Whether or not this is obnoxious is not the point. Her friends are going to do much the same.

    Time honored is true, but expected is more the reality.
  • by Patik (584959) <cpatik@gmail.LAPLACEcom minus math_god> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:11PM (#4065467) Homepage Journal
    A proposal means you're asking her to dedicate the rest of her life to you, and yours to her. Give her what she really, really wants (a diamond). An engagement is a once-in-a-lifetime event; save your consumer ethics for more trivial occasions (anniversaries, Christmas, etc).
  • Re:The Answer (Score:2, Insightful)

    by electricmonk (169355) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:11PM (#4065468) Homepage
    Thank you, Mr. DeBeers shill! So... did anybody read the article yet besides me?
  • Terrorism vs. Cars (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fishy jew (452414) <.moc.81sgib. .ta. .sgib.> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:12PM (#4065471)
    one of the key facts to surface is that 2-4.5% of diamond sales will go to finance terrorism or forms of violence

    What percentage of gas sales do you think finance terrorism? Money goes from our hands to the gas companies to oil companies in the Mid-East to (possibly) terrorist organizations. Probably true about many other products as well...
  • My wife (Score:2, Insightful)

    by olclops (591840) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:12PM (#4065472)
    I bought my wife's engagement ring from a wholeseller. They're tough to get in with, but if you do a little research and pull it off, you can get a decent sized diamond for literally half the price a "real" jeweler would charge. I got a 1.21 carat for 5 grand. And the problem with the advertising campaign is that it's worked. She may not know the origins of her desire, but you're right, your girlfriend would like a diamond. Almost all of women would. Good luck.
  • by phr2 (545169) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:13PM (#4065481)
    If they have no resale value, they you could buy a used diamond very cheaply and get a jeweler to put it in a new setting for you, and that would kill the market for new diamonds. They don't wear out, of course. "Diamonds are forever" and all that.

    I agree with most of your other points about the disgusting practices used to produce diamonds and market them.

  • by Valdrax (32670) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:13PM (#4065483)
    It seems to me that the purpose of this article really isn't to ask a question, but instead to be a bully-pulpit to rally against the DeBeers monopoly. I don't know if "Ask Slashdot" is an appropriate place for this.

    As for the tagged on question at the end, have you considered your fiance-to-be's birth stone? My grandmother had a beautiful ruby and silver engagement ring. If you're not looking for a ring, then it really depends on how much a traditionalist your girlfriend is. Just whatever you do, if you're going to skip the ring option, don't try to weasel out with something less than the cost of a diamond ring, or it's likely she'll suspect that money was the real motivation.
  • Fuck tradition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nicfit (25347) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:13PM (#4065490) Homepage

    My girlfriend told me not to WASTE our money and instead we spent three crazy weeks in Hawaii AND had money in the bank.

    God I love her!

  • by hv (108589) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:15PM (#4065508) Homepage
    You spend ~$2k for a machine that crunches numbers and lets you escape into a virtual fantasy world for a few hours a day. The machine is outdated and depreciated when you buy it, and it just gets worse as time goes by.

    The diamond on her finger reminds her of the moment she fell in love with you. The good times you share with her, and her undying devotion to you.

    Do it for her! Put a price on how it will make her feel. If she understands how you feel about making the purchase... ALL THE MORE REASON TO DO IT FOR HER... show her you understand how she feels.
  • by Grey Haired Luser (148205) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:16PM (#4065523)
    You don't have to follow fads or give all your
    money to deBeers.

    I gave no engagement ring (only my word) and a
    plain gold band for marriage. Lost my ring once
    (long story) and got it replaced. It's just a
    piece of metal. A diamond is just a rock.
    It's what's in your heart that counts.

    Been happily married 15 years, 3 lovely kids.
    Good luck!
  • Agreed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LBrothers (583483) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:16PM (#4065530) Homepage
    While diamonds may have a low resale value, that's not a critical point. Are you planning on selling this diamond any time soon? No. If you're fortunate enough you may have a better option, see if your grandmother's (or great grandmother's) engagement ring is in the family and available. That's both sensible and heart-touching.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:16PM (#4065532)
    oh, the mind of a woman.

    Do you love her? If so, then they're worth the cost
  • by haystor (102186) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:17PM (#4065542)
    Used diamonds can save a wad of cash with just a little effort. You should also realize that the markup on diamonds is huge. If you walk into a store with cash on hand its quite easy to walk out with a huge discount beyond their regular 50% off sales.

  • by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:17PM (#4065546)
    Seriously. If you can't talk to each other about this, then you are fools to even consider marriage. If you would rather get /. opinions on this than talk it over with the gf, then you aren't ready.
  • Imitation? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kstumpf (218897) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:19PM (#4065579)
    If it really bothers you that much, maybe she would be happy with an imitation diamond. She still gets the ring to show to her friends and to stand as... a symbol of commitment or what have you. With the money you save, spring for a really great honeymoon, or figure out some other way to spend the money that's memorable and perhaps more genuine then the ring. Then again, women are irrational and none of the above is likely to work. :)
  • Re:alternatives? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gudlyf (544445) <gudlyf@@@realistek...com> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:22PM (#4065617) Homepage Journal
    Yes, you do need to understand that this is a gift for her, not you. The question is, what does she want? Does she agree with your concerns, or are you going to just pick an alternative and hope for the best?

    I may have plenty of ethical issues against the fine leather used in the new shoes my wife wants for her birthday, but it doesn't mean I'll try buying her a pair of canvas sneakers and hope she doesn't notice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:22PM (#4065625)
    Tradition? Gimme a friggin break. The US is too young to have traditions, kerr-rrrist. Women and diamond rings remind me of that movie, "The Gods Must be Crazy", where the natives find an empty Coke bottle and worship it as some kind of..umm...err...worshipped item. Seriously, women are like little monkeys when they see rings, but y'know, all it is, is a friggin rock attached to some shiny metal. "Oohh, look at shi-nee met-tal...perty, ain't it". Geez. Materialistic women need to get with reality and stop the pretentious b.s. If you love someone, it'll be in yer heart, not on a f@!*ckin finger. Leave the symbols to the symbol-minded (as a Carlinist I couldn't resist that one!). If you can't afford her, she's not worth it.

    My wife is Japanese, and we didn't have to go through ANY of this lame b.s. We got married in Japan without a stadium-sized crowd and did a tea ceremony. There were no "trinkets" exchanged, only love expressed through ACTION. Now I'm all for diamond rings as a gift, or to show appreciation, but if a woman requires a ring for engagement - if it takes a manmade little rock and metal craft to make her smile, then her heart is in the wrong place.
  • Re:alternatives? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:24PM (#4065658)
    BS!

    It depends on the girl. The wives of several friends INSISTED on something OTHER than a diamond. One liked rubies (and had the right skin tone to show it off). Another prefered emeralds (green-eyed redhed). A third wanted NO STONE - put the money towards their first house instead.

    BOTH of you have to be COMFORTABLE with the decision. Neither of you are marying HER friends.

    [In my case, I had an aunt "in the trade" in NYC, so we were able to cut out the middlemen. This was EONS ago, before any awareness of "conflict diamonds"]
  • Re:The Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JamesOfTheDesert (188356) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:25PM (#4065672) Journal
    Do you love her? If so, then they're worth the cost.
    They're only worth the cost if they make her happy.

    But then, the focus should be on what can you do to please the woman you love, not whether you can or should afford to buy things she may not even care about.

    Me, I think the whole diamond=love thing is bullshit. Want your woman/man to know you love her/him? Don't fuck around; don't lie; pay attention and listen; be free with the compliments and sparse with criticism.

    Oh, and because this is /.: Don't ridicule his/her choice of [OS|browser|PDA|ISP].
  • Re:The Answer WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Camel Pilot (78781) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:27PM (#4065690) Homepage Journal
    So you can prove your love by giving in to some marketing hype sesssshhh.

    Further more, do you think there is some correlation between the relative size of the diamond to marital success - I think not. I would even guess there might be a negative correlation.

    When I got married I felt pressured (form others not my wife) to my a diamond. Recently after reading stories of chopped limbs, rape, child conscription, guerrilla warfare, etc. orginating in the major diamond producing areas of the world we decided to sell the diamond and donate the money to a charity working in Sierra Leone.

    Just do a google search on "Conflict Diamonds"
  • by Jason Scott (18815) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:27PM (#4065698) Homepage
    My girlfriend made it VERY clear she didn't want a big fat-ass diamond on her hand; she wanted something special. Black Pearl was mentioned, and so I had a mutual jeweller friend whip up a nice ring that I presented to her in the back of a Checker Marathon taxicab in Kalamazoo Michigan.

    The ring's main item is a BLACK PEARL. Let me tell you, that gets a lot more attention than any diamond.

    It looks like
    this [nicoleandjason.com] and this [nicoleandjason.com].

    At the last second, I asked that he throw a few token diamonds around the edge. They were tiny, almost ornamental. And the ring barely scraped four figures. Barely.

    Best choice we ever had, avoiding the fat-ass diamond.
  • Don't be a moron (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Geeyzus (99967) <mark_madej@yahooRASP.com minus berry> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:29PM (#4065718)
    My girlfriend understands my thoughts regarding diamonds, but deep down, I'm sure she would like a diamond. Even a small one.

    Then BUY HER ONE!!!!!

    I'm not married, but I am in a serious relationship and have been for about 4 years. I'm sure I'm not the first to tell you this, but if you love her, right now is not the best time to wage your anti-tradition diamond ban. You don't want to spend a ton? Buy a smaller diamond, you said yourself she will probably still want at least a small one.

    And if resale value is a major concern, is this a person you really feel comfortable proposing to / marrying? Be sure before you buy the rock. And good luck!

    Mark
  • by Skyshadow (508) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:32PM (#4065771) Homepage
    apparently, an ugly rock == proof of love.

    You've never had a girlfriend, have you?

    Look, women think differently than men on some issues, but you disregard that point of view only at your great peril. So fucking what if sending flowers is stupid? If it makes your girl feel loved, well, mission accomplished.

    Don't be a goon.

  • Re:Fuck tradition (Score:3, Insightful)

    by weston (16146) <westonsd.canncentral@org> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:35PM (#4065802) Homepage
    1)If she's over twenty, statistically, chances are better than not that she won't have a working body to support the finger 70 years from now.

    2) $2000 x compound interest x 70 years.... if she is alive, she can have a lot better than a piece of metal and a mineral all but worthless except in certain industrial applications.

    3) For some people, experiences are more important than things.

    For others, who live in a world where the diamond mythos looms large and in which they will be constantly judged by diamond size (both husband and wife, yes), well, maybe the diamond is worth it.

  • Engagement Bathtub (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alderete (12656) <slashdot@@@alderete...com> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:37PM (#4065829) Homepage
    I asked my fiancee (now wife) if she wanted a diamond engagement ring, with the full intent to buy whatever she wanted, even if I thought it was silly.

    She thought it was silly too. She said, I don't want an engagement ring, I want a new bathtub!

    So we got a double-ended old fashioned bathtub (and remodeled the bathroom around it), which we take a bath in together almost every day (it's large).

    It's the single best decision we've made in our 4 years together, and I'm confident we'll still be saying that when its 40 years, and we're still taking baths together.
  • by pla (258480) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:39PM (#4065851) Journal
    You spend ~$2k for a machine that crunches numbers and lets you escape into a virtual fantasy world for a few hours a day.

    Ah, *GREAT* suggestion! Buy her a kickass computer instead. Rather than just lying around gathering dust, waiting for her to lose it (or pawn it if you happen to fall into the over 50% of Americans that later get a divorce), it will let her "crunch numbers" and "escape into a virtual fantasy world". What more could she ask?

    And, rather than having no resale value due to its inherently useless nature (referring to diamonds), if she *does* eventually decide to pawn it, it has no value for a much better reason, namely, faster machines will exist. All very poetic, extends the idea of "looking for a newer model" into a whole new realm.

    Actually, though, if she *really* wants a ring, use the $2-5k as a downpayment on a chunk of land somewhere. Have a pebble from the plot set into a ring, and when she looks at you like you have just grown a third head, explain the meaning. If she doesn't like it more than a similar pebble from South Africa, ditch the impractical wench.

    People seem to act like love depends on giving a woman a particularly expensive lump of rock. If it *does*, find someone less materialistic.
  • by packetgeek (192142) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:42PM (#4065886) Homepage
    oops Hit the enter key instead of the tab... oh well.
    Anyway, If you are about to get married I thought you would have known by now.
    It's not about what you want.
    Go ahead and mock me but most everyone I know that IS married will agree. Ones that have only "been dating a really long time" will argue with me till they're blue in the face... Untill they have been married for a couple years.
  • Wrong Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by philipsblows (180703) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:42PM (#4065890) Homepage

    Much like the megahertz myth, the need for a diamond engagement ring has been cultivated through careful marketing and peer pressure.

    But.

    The cost of NOT getting this diamond ring may be the relationship itself. It may not occur right away (she might still accept your proposal) but this will be a major disappointment to a woman who has had an engagement ring (or a rock as my ex-girlfriend called it), and it just might set the tone for the rest of your time together.

    As has been pointed out elsehwhere in this very thread, gasoline, diamonds, honey, opium, and a whole bunch of other products all contribute to terrorism or cruel treatment of our fellow humans or various other badnesses in the world.

    In the end, though, it will be infinitely easier to get a fuel-efficient car and switch away from various other products than it will be to alter the mindset of the woman (and ALL of her friends) who considers not where it came from or how it got there, but merely that it is on her finger.

    So, if you want to get married and start of on the right foot with her, you should of course shop for the best value you can find in your budget and so on, but yes, the diamond is worth it.

    [save your energy... cede her victory on this one, fight the good fight when she wants to know why you are "wasting" so much money on a cable modem/DSL, fast graphics cards, etc.]

  • by Eagle7 (111475) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:42PM (#4065891) Homepage
    YES!! Unless she told you no, then you ought to get one for her. Perhaps you can find an heirlom diamond in your family that you would be able to use, thus saving on cost and ethical issues.

    But basically, unless you pass the following test, I suspect that deep down you are looking for an excuse to be cheap:
    • Do you only buy ethically OK clothing, and be very careful to make sure of it?
    • Do you make sure that your coffee is grown under ethical conditions?
    • Do you ensure that all your computer products and other electronics haven't been made for cheap in Mexico, thereby polluting the environment there even worse?
    • Do you ensure that all your tech products are disposed of properly, and not polluting some third world country?
    • Do you avoid buying things "Made in China" or elsewhere where you cannot be sure of the conditions/ages of the workers?

    Unless you do all of those things, I would posit that you are already contributing to unethical behavior with your participation in commerce. If you do do all those things, and your g/f isn't open to the no diamond idea although she will jump through those hoops, then she is being hypocritical.

    I say buy her the diamond and have a wonderful life together. Coming from a happily engaged man (who both bought and used inheritted diamonds)
  • Re:alternatives? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lingorob (563531) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:47PM (#4065936)
    It's just not worth gambling a (presumibly) good relationship to save a few grand or make a point.

    but is it worth it to save someone's life? maybe you should re-consider the relationship if your fiancee values material goods over human life.

  • Great idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drew_kime (303965) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:47PM (#4065943) Homepage Journal
    An engagement is a once-in-a-lifetime event; save your consumer ethics for more trivial occasions (anniversaries, Christmas, etc).

    Absolutely. Be proud of those ethics so long as they don't really interfere with anything you care about.
  • by Zapdos (70654) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:50PM (#4065961)
    It is planted in one of our city parks, is professionally cared for, and has a sign that declares My Love to Her. A ring would have been cheaper. The tree cost $6000.00 which would have bought a very nice rock.
    Our wedding was under the tree. We are planning to buy a bench to place under the tree as soon as the city allows.

  • by Skyshadow (508) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:52PM (#4065991) Homepage
    The point is that you *CAN* get used diamonds on the cheap. I have a friend who went to an estate sale, bought a gaudy old-lady ring and had the diamond set into a new setting. Paid maybe 1/3 less than he would have otherwise.

    Now, if DeBeers ever falls apart, diamonds will be worth about as much as it costs to put and polish them.

  • by chrysrobyn (106763) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @06:54PM (#4066013)

    I know there are some people who go for the alternative side. We certainly like to try to spend our money in ways that have the most benefit.

    The principle behind the diamond is to symbolize your commitment. You're telling her that you want to spend the rest of your life with her. Resale value? Are you sure that marriage is the right next step? Perhaps there are some more conversations to have.

    I've been proudly and happily married to the love of my life for almost 2 years.

    Better quality diamonds are able to be man made for cheaper. But, a good jeweler won't serve them. Volunteer to make up for your conscience. Show your love by finding a good jeweler, being honest, and buying what she deserves. First, find out why you're worrying about resale value and take care of it.

  • by susano_otter (123650) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:00PM (#4066084) Homepage
    That's not a problem with flowers, that's a problem with bullshit fake "holidays".

    Try this: buy some roses for her on any other day of the year. Not only will they be easier and cheaper to get, but I guarantee you she will be ten times happier with a spontaneous sign of affection. All you're really saying on Feb. 14 is "I got you these flowers because my television told me to." Any other day of the year, the message is "I was driving home from work when it hit me how much I love you, so I stopped off at the store and bought you some flowers."

  • Re:alternatives? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moofie (22272) <lee AT ringofsaturn DOT com> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:03PM (#4066105) Homepage
    I'd take exactly the opposite tack. If either party in the relationship is REALLY that worried about what the Joneses think, to the point that they'll be psychologically scarred by not having what everybody else has, I'd say the relationship is doomed from the get-go. A lifetime commitment to honor and cherish another human being is infinitely more precious than a hunk of clear carbon.

    Talk it over with your intended. Express your feelings. Come to a consensus. Then, spit in the eye of anybody who disparages your (collective) choice.
  • Re:alternatives? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by einhverfr (238914) <chris.travers@gmail . c om> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:05PM (#4066119) Homepage Journal
    I love how somebody is seriously considering making his soon-to-be-wife a wierdo by not getting her a diamond.

    Flamebait? Maybe but-- the only person who can make her into a wierdo is her-- is she a wierdo or not? That's her choice and a diamond or lack thereof makes no real difference.

    But you run a copy of Windows at home, don't you?

    No I don't, nor do my parents.

    The real point is that it doesn't matter the marketing hype. What the questioner needs to do is simple-- make sure that the ring:
    1: Looks nice on her.
    2: Is really really special.

    The diamond could be one thing that could impact #2, but depending on her needs and concerns may not be the only thing that could make it work.

    Anyway I will also ask you one more question-- What the hell are you doing asking for romantic advice on /.? ;)
  • Style (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nick_davison (217681) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:11PM (#4066168)
    It ultimately comes down to one of those "What kind of person are you marrying?" questions. If your value system tells you that a "princess" is the most desirable wife in the world, you're stuck with a princess' maintenance.

    I was lucky. I married someone for whom funky stuff like integrity, thought, consideration, selflessness, originality were priorities. To her, the traditional goal of "it must be so big I can't lift my hand" was tacky, ostentatious, gaudy, all the hallmarks of a wannabe who needed validation from outside, rather than someone looking for something that had significance simply for what it was.

    The end result for us was a third of a carat rub over setting on a really unique band. For her, it's perfect as it comes across as stylish, vastly more sophisticated and, her highest priority, she doesn't spend the rest of her life being scared of knocking a large rock out of a cheap setting.

    I still managed to spend a fair bit of money, but that was on: getting it engraved (without her knowing) on the inside; on getting it rush ordered so I could still suprise her, even though we'd chosen it together; on finding the perfect time and place to do the proposing; on getting matching earings made to go with it. Those are all the subtle things that allowed me to put vastly more value in to it for her without buying in to a deliberate, tacky, hype.

    So, like I said, it depends a lot on who you're marrying. If the biggest, gaudiest rock is simply the only way to feel she's valued, that's what you should get her - you chose that type of person. If style and the suble touches are what're important, congratulations, you've found someone who's going to appreciate everything you do for her, regardless of how well off you are at the time. That is the kind of woman I wanted to marry. :)

    OK, now lets get back to bitching about Microsoft. This is getting sappy!

  • Re:alternatives? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:13PM (#4066196)
    > I dunno. Personally, I warez my diamonds.
    >
    > (The above was a joke. Reference to Wind..aw, screw it.)

    Actually, there are people warezing diamonds [pbs.org].

    The funniest thing was listening to the DeBeers drone talk about a "natural" diamond -- and that in order to ensure that their chunks of crystalline carbon retained a hold on the market, they're laser-inscribing "DeBeers" on the ones that come through their monopoly.

    He sounded like a RIAA executive, as he tried to advocate the position that someone selling a chunk of crystalline carbon that was atom-for-atom identical to the ones DeBeers sells is selling a produce that's somehow "a cheap copy" of the chunks of crystalline carbon that have the word "DeBeers" and a serial number etched into it with a big honking laser, which somehow qualify as "perfect".

    If I were female, I'd be far more impressed with the warezed diamond. "This 4-carat carbon crystal was the product of decades of research that allowed it to be fabricated by dissolving carbon in molten metal, and then precipitating the dissolved carbon for a month at high temperatures and pressures, and then any remaining nitrogen atoms lingering in the crystal lattice were shaken into invisible pockets inside the crystal in order to get rid of the icky yellow color" than "This 1-carat carbon crystal was dug out of the mud in a third-world shithole by a guy getting paid $0.01 per day."

    From the bottom page of the documentary transcript [pbs.org]

    DeBeers: "I always think it's a bit like a masterpiece from Picasso and a copy. In the end, one is worth $30 million and is a magnificent treasure of the world, and the other is a worthless copy."

    ...I'd like to add:

    Tackhead: "In the end, one is the product of the brilliance of man's intelligence, and the other is a product of man's capacity for brute drudgework and backbreaking labor."

    Fuck DeBeers. They're the RIAA of carbon.

  • Two Better Words (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bigfatlamer (149907) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:16PM (#4066217)
    Family heirloom. Even before my wife and I got engaged, she told me she wanted a ring that had belonged to her great-grandfather's first wife who died in a pneumonia epidemic in 1908 or something. It's an absolutely beautifully detailed platinum ring with lots of filligree, etching and cutouts and a 1+ ct diamond. Appraisers have put in in the USD 6-8K range but I've also had jewelers tell us they couldn't make it themselves for less than $10K.

    Smoke one if you've got one. If not, estate sales are a good way to go.

  • Re:alternatives? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SiO2 (124860) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:22PM (#4066261) Homepage
    There are a great many alternatives! You need to find something more meaningful to you and your significant other than an impersonal, "time-honored" (whatever that means) diamond.

    For instance, my last name is Quartz. (Quartz=SiO2=Silicon Dioxide. Get it?) My favorite color happens to be green, which my fiance at the time pointed out to me as she looked around my place and noted that the futon cover was green, the towels were green, my jeep was green, etc. Everything was green. For many years I thought my favorite color was blue. She knows me better than I know myself in certain respects.

    Anyway, when the time came, we scoured the world looking for green quartz crystal. Our web research proved that the crystals were in existence, but were very difficult to find. We managed to track down a purveyor of stones and crystals in CA. We sent him a check with a note explaining how difficult to find the crystals had been and he sent us the crystals: two of them. He returned our check, though, and called the crystals a wedding gift. (Sometimes people restore my faith in humanity.)

    Green quartz is inexpensive, if you can find it, but it is very meaningful to my wife and me.

    We had an engagement ring custom made with the crystal and white gold.

    Long story short, if you're going to spend the rest of your life with this fine young lady, make it personal, make it count, make the proposal mean something to the both of you.

    "Time honored tradition," for me, is the equivalent of "You should run Windows, because everybody else does."

    If you read /. chances are you do things a bit differently in the computational world. Transfer that individuality and free-thinking to your personal life.

    Best of luck and congratulations to you and your soon to be betrothed.

    SiO2

  • by UberQwerty (86791) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:25PM (#4066283) Homepage Journal
    Do you love her? If so, then they're worth the cost.

    This is a threat, and a scare tactic, pure and simple. In the society of the United States, in dating, the man has innumerable responsibilities which mostly involve spending money, whereas the woman has nearly none. Diamond dealers, and you, Chester K, want me to believe that if I don't buy a diamond, I'll be in big trouble with my lady friend, and maybe I don't even love her. But just to be fair, let me see if I follow your "logic."

    *Are you a Star Wars fan? If so, then every single piece of star wars crap [imdb.com] ever marketed is worth the cost.

    *Are you a Catholic? If so, then you agree that the Jews needed to be tortured to death during the Spanish Inquisition.

    If it were true that buying a diamond (hereafter referred to as "clear carbon crystal") is a necessary part of loving a woman, then I would by all means buy her a diamond.
    And even though I'm not necessarily brainwashed, if it were true that in order to convince a woman that I loved her, I had to buy her a diamond, I might still do it. But if she's that stupid/stubborn, I might have trouble falling in love with her.

    And let's be fair - it is by no means human nature to spend a maybe a month of your life working purely for a tiny chunk of otherwise-worthless, not-so-rare rock because if you don't your supposed life partner will think you don't like her. Even in western cultures, that particular superstition is fairly recent. In Africa, or Japan, or South America, the two notions are not connected at all. In some countries, it is customary for the parents of the woman to pay a dowry to the family of the man, and vice versa in others.

    I am willing to do things that I don't think make sense, for the sake of my girlfriend, even if she doesn't reciprocate (and it sure seems like women aren't expected to do so). I'd buy her flowers, or greeting cards. But if she needs a sizeable chunk of my net worth to be wasted just to believe I love her, then maybe she has trust issues - and if not, if people really do need that kind of proof, why hasn't she spent several grand on me? Why hasn't the sexism whistle been blown on this one, now that every instance of the word "mankind" has to be changed to "humankind," and "woman" is often spelled "womyn" to avoid the word "man?"

    Sigh. I have a lot of frustration with the way dating works around here.

  • by casualgeorge (600858) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:37PM (#4066384)
    a friend at work just got married, and gosh her diamond is purty. honestly, sometimes i catch myself staring at it. but i'm not her, and someone please shoot me if i ever become so. she prances around like a poodle fresh from the salon now, as if she has suddenly become valuable as a person. don't buy into it. if two people are equally saturated with the propaganda, they should get along just fine. but if she is set on a ring and you are ethically against it (cheap is entirely another story), i'd say you two have bigger issues to deal with than just a diamond. i have as many unnecessary purses as the next girl, but i personally would run the other direction from a guy who presented me with a rock, because i want a partner, not a sheep. why on earth would i want the same ubiquitous, essentially unvaluable thing every other woman has? howabout a secret gift (and an exchange, no less!), just between the two of you? who is she getting married for anyway, her friends?
  • Re:alternatives? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kirkjobsluder (520465) <<kirk> <at> <jobsluder.net>> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:38PM (#4066390) Homepage
    Certainly, however I personally would not want to marry into a family that shallow, or marry someone who would not defend the relationship to her family and friends.

    That IS one of the central make or break points of a marriage. The ring is just the first one at which you know who will support you and who will not. Those that approve of the relationship will gush over a well loved piece of tin. Those that don't will find an excuse to criticize the biggest rock.

    Overall, in the year of my engagement and the weeks following the wedding this proved to be a very good rule. The people who loved us supported our decisions (she wore green, and the ceremony was pagan, we all wore boots because it rained). Those that didn't support our decisions turned out to not be very good people to be around.

    If she is not a person who is willing to silence critics (and no ring, and no ceremony is going to be good enough to satisfy everyone) then I suspect that the relationship is going to be in trouble. I mean when you think about it, both the ring and the wedding are really trivial decisions compared to relocating cross-country, the religion of your children, buying a house, and higher education. If she knuckles under in regards to criticism over a ring, then what is going to happen with the more critical decisions?

    All in all, I am really glad that we chose to be what we wanted to be rather than be what our parents wanted us to be.
  • by Arandir (19206) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:40PM (#4066405) Homepage Journal
    Or the best alternative of all: "This is my Grandmother's engagement ring. My grandparents were married 58 years and were deeply in love every minute of it. I would be honored for you to have this."
  • by Cryptnotic (154382) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:42PM (#4066430) Homepage
    No. It is based on the concept that whether a woman enjoys sex or not, she should try to profit in some way (either by acquiring a happy marriage or by acquiring vaulable goods). A woman who does it only for pleasure is a whore.

  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:50PM (#4066489)
    How politically correct...you wouldn't want to offend the guerillas/monsters that kill and mame innocent families and use diamond sales to further their warped causes.

    I toured a jewelery manufacturing plant a couple years back and interviewed the head of the company. At least in the US, these diamonds were a major concern for the US jewelry industry...so much that the stores were making the suppliers sign pledges to the effect that they would never buy such diamonds.

    The industry term is "BLOOD DIAMONDS" and I think we should refer to them as such in this discuss so as to not minimize or trivialize the effect they are having on the poor people in the regions in which they are found. Repeat after me...
    "They are blood diamonds."
  • by OpalMirror (313650) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @08:11PM (#4066628) Homepage
    As a combination significant birthday and 1.9 year anniversary (how's that for geeky?), my wife and I selected for her a Canadian Diamond from EKATI.

    EKATI mines their diamonds in the Canadian Arctic, a couple hundred miles NorthEast of Yellowknife. The mine was set up via agreement with the local First Nations people. Yes, it's strip mining, but the impact is being mitigated as part of the environmental agreements with the government. The mining equipment is huge!

    All of the processing, cutting, polishing are done in the local area. Native people with an interest have had the opportunity to learn how to evaluate, cut and polish the stones.

    We paid a premium, perhaps 50% more than untracked (likely South African) diamonds. It is a very fine diamond as far as the ratings go. Along with the diamond came a detailed assay and certificate of authenticity from the Canadian government. The waist of the diamond is also laser etched with a polar bear, Ekati trademark, a unique serial number. Overall it was as special an item as we hoped it would be and we felt it is worth the higher price -- because we wanted to really know the history of the stone.

    We purchased the diamond on a trip to Vancouver, BC -- don't forget to get your Goods & Services Tax refunded if you live in the US.

    My wife was born in the Northwest Territories, so it is a little piece of home that she wears on her finger, and something that she finds reminds her how special a person she is... which was the point, entirely. :)
  • Re:alternatives? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AndyChrist (161262) <andy_christ.yahoo@com> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @08:12PM (#4066640) Homepage
    Drug sales support terrorism, and drug laws support drug prices. Drug dealers, drug traffickers....they don't want drugs legalized.

    THE DRUG WAR SUPPORTS TERRORISM.

  • by /dev/trash (182850) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @08:15PM (#4066662) Homepage Journal
    but I can almost guarantee some diseased civil war ravaged 8 year old with one leg, didn't pick those flowers.
  • by IntelliTubbie (29947) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @08:18PM (#4066684)
    If they have no resale value, they you could buy a used diamond very cheaply and get a jeweler to put it in a new setting for you, and that would kill the market for new diamonds. They don't wear out, of course. "Diamonds are forever" and all that.

    The used diamond market isn't like the used car market, where the resale value drops as soon as you drive your shiny new Mustang off the lot. That is, it's not that market prices are low -- it's that there is no market. Because De Beers has created the impression that diamonds are priceless (if not in monetary value, then in sentimental value), almost no one sells their used diamonds. And because no one sells them, no one expects to buy them either. This has completely eliminated the secondary market for diamonds -- outside of shady outfits like pawn shops, which can hardly be considered bastions of "fair market value".

    The total lack of liquidity in the used diamond market means that De Beers can continue to have complete control over prices. Why is stifling liquidity just as important as stifling competition? Look at what happened to hardware companies like Cisco when the Internet bubble burst. As if it weren't bad enough that Cisco lost customers, they found that prospective customers were buying cheap, lightly used hardware off the dot-bombs at fire sale prices instead of from Cisco. This is even more important for De Beers, since a diamond has a considerably longer usable life than a router. The moral of the story: if you want to sell your product to everyone at ridiculous prices, without screwing yourself in the future by saturating the market with resalable goods, then do exactly what De Beers has done.

    Cheers,
    IT
  • Re:The Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LintMan (515149) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @08:44PM (#4066861)
    I agree. For a lot of women, they've wanted and dreamed of a nice engagement ring since they were kids. Getting that diamond ring is a sort of validation for some women.

    Is this misplaced desire, partly formed by marketing hype and peer pressure? Yes. But so is my lust for say, a new BMW 5-series, or even the latest 2.6 GHz Pentium.

    I spent a bunch on my wife's rock, which felt to me like 'wasted' money, but I have to say it's made her happy. Before you say she's all about the money though... she really isn't very materialistic at all, but getting that nice diamond really meant something to her. When the time came to spend money of other things, such as our wedding plans, or even when I ask her what she wants for a birthday gift, she is quite economical.

    Beyond that, though, I also guess that over the course of our marriage, I'll probably spend ten times more on computer upgrades and other "toys" for myself (that she could care less about) as I will on jewelry for her (that I could care less about), so I guess I can't really complain! Probably it'd be the same for many other people here...I think that's something most of the techno-geeks here should keep in mind.

  • Re:alternatives? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cyber_rigger (527103) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @08:56PM (#4066945) Homepage Journal
    I got engaged using a ring from a bubble gum machine.
    It has a smiley face on it. :^) It is one of my wife's most treasured possessions. She only wears it at special occasions. These rings (about 50 cents) work just as well. We are married now for 5 years.

    I did get her a wedding ring with a few small diamonds.

  • Re:Wrong Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Artificer (186606) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @09:06PM (#4067008)
    The cost of NOT getting this diamond ring may be the relationship itself.

    If someone is SO materialistic so as to BREAK OFF a relationship that is leading to marriage just because they don't get a diamond ring, then there's a decent chance that they're probably not worth the relationship in the first place.

    I happen to really believe in commitment, and someone who would break off a relationship that is that serious for a reason such as this, just doesn't seem like they are committed to the relationship themselves.
  • by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @09:15PM (#4067061) Homepage
    No, the concept wasn't that. A woman who did it for profit was a whore. A woman who did it for pleasure was a slut.

    DISCLAIMER FOR THE POLITICALLY CORRECT: The terms "whore" and "slut" are relevant to the time period referred to original posting. I am in no way, shape, or form, referring to anyone on Slashdot (or anyone they know) as a slut or a whore. Well, maybe a karma whore, but that's a different thing.
  • by Eagle7 (111475) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @09:18PM (#4067082) Homepage
    You scurvy shiester bastard! Stop pointing out weaknesses my analogies! ;)

    But yeah, you have an interesting point - although I would argue that clothing is often a very symbolic thing - for instance, wearing Nike running shorts rather than brand X.

    Not that this really relates to my original argument, but there is lately a trend in buying antique engagement rings and cleaning them up. I suspose that at least some of this popularity could be in reaction to the high prices and dubious ethics of the modern diamond merchant.
  • Re:Used Diamonds? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sethb (9355) <bokelman@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @09:21PM (#4067102) Homepage
    That's what I did, I bought a used diamond ring for $280. In the same store, the same ring was selling for nearly $1,000 new. And yes, I told my fiance, in fact she was with me at the time I bought it, because I wanted her opinion on the ring.

    She didn't even really want an engagement ring, but I convinced her to at least accept a small token, and since I knew about the evil deBeers monopoly, I was morally okay with buying a used ring, and since it's a diamond, no one's going to ask for some long explanation of why it isn't.

    But, that said, if I had it to do over again, I'd probably buy it over eBay, prices are even cheaper there, and you can get some good deals if you're careful and buy from someone using an escrowe service. I know someone who bought a ring for $500, arranged that the money stayed in escrowe until he had the ring appraised for at least the $500. He took the ring in, it appraised at $1500, and he released the money from escrowe.

    Another thing to consider, is using a family diamond. If your dead great-grandmother's ring is still around, think about having the stone set in a modern setting, if the ring design is somewhat hideous.

    And, personally, if a girl wanted a $4,000 piece of carbon from me before she'd marry me, I'd get a new girl. Since I only bought a $280 ring, I was able to afford buying us a house to start our new life together in this summer, I know friends who spent more on engagement rings than I put down as a down payment, and they're married, but stuck renting for another 2 years while they save up money. Hmm, what's more important, a shiny rock on your finger, or a house?

    On a related note, I'm getting married on Sept 7th, check out the web site. :)

    http://www.sethb.com/wedding/ [sethb.com]

    Now that's a geeky thing to do, have all your wedding info online. :)
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @09:26PM (#4067132) Homepage
    Have you ever tried to turn that appraisal into actual money?
  • by TrinSF (183901) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @09:39PM (#4067200)
    Yes, I'm one of those few mythic creatures, a ./ poster with no Y chromosome. Though I'm not that chick-identified, here's some advice from the girl point of view:

    1. Even the most progressive feminist can sometimes be profoundly cliche'd when thinking about marriage. Our society teaches and reinforces strong ideas and imagery around weddings and marriage from a very early age -- heterosexual women are steeped in cultural tradition around marriage. It's hard to fight decades of "this is every girl's dream".

    2. If she wants a diamond, get her a diamond. Don't make her spend the next 50 years of her life looking down at her hand and thinking, "Instead of a diamond ring, I got a symbol of his political and social stance."

    3. If you don't want to support new diamond sales, consider estate jewelry. For a reasonable price, you can buy a ring that has a sense of history to it, that is a beautiful thing, and is less charged with the modern baggage. For that matter, an estate jewelry specialist can also help you make the choice. Talk to a pro! Explain you want something beautiful and unique, that you want to spend X dollars, etc.

    4. If you decide not to go with the diamond, give your bride-to-be *positive* language around your choice. Don't get her a different kind of ring because you don't like the social ramifications of diamond mining -- get her a different kind of ring because you don't feel a run-of-the mill diamond ring accurately reflects the special and unique qualities in her and in your relationship.

    5. Don't use not getting a diamond as an excuse to skimp on the cost. Buying a 300.00 ring instead of a 3000.00 ring 'because diamonds are tainted with the blood of workers' says you were looking for an excuse to be cheap. It's not about the money, but it's not just the thought that counts, either.

    6. Size *does* matter, but it cuts both ways. Dicks *and* diamonds can both be tooooo big.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @10:33PM (#4067447)
    OK, another actual female checking in here... a divorced one to be precise. My ex (when he was my fiance obviously) got me a half carat rock. I had a mixed reaction-- yes, I was flattered he loved me SO MUCH, but I knew he couldn't afford it and I would rather have saved for a trip or a house downpayment or something. If he had even brought it up ahead of time, I could at least have sent him to a close family friend in the jewelry business to get a better deal... I would rather have traded the surprise for something that I didn't have such mixed feelings over. In retrospect I realize it was a warning sign of his future spending habits, but with all the hearts floating in the air over my head then I didn't notice.
    In sum-- take the suggestions you read, and go talk directly to your gf again. Get started on your future marriage with all that crap the counselors talk about, like communicating your priorities and compromising so both of you feel good about the engagement doodad or trip or whatever it turns out to be. Good luck.
  • some friends (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NFW (560362) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @11:17PM (#4067617) Homepage
    His fiance announced this to my gf by saying, "here's mine, where's yours?"

    The problem is not the lack of a diamond, it's the lack of friends worthy of the term "friends."

    Whether or not this is obnoxious is not the point.

    I disagree... The whole point here is that people are pressured into shelling out $thousands for, basically, rocks. How can you overlook that fact that people have been brainwashed into letting peer pressure from blatant snobs run drive them to such extremes? Not to mention that the diamond cartel has brainwashed people into becoming such shallow snobs in the first place.

    It gives me the creeps, and makes me ever so thankful that my girlfriend doesn't want a diamond either.

  • by RedWizzard (192002) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @11:34PM (#4067673)
    One point, however: that article is 20 years old. Obviously the history is still accurate, but is the current diamond situation still the same? The article seemed to be implying that all sorts of changes where just around the corner - did any of that actually happen?
  • by foobar104 (206452) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @12:36AM (#4067912) Journal
    Hmm. I've read 80+ comments at this point, but yours is the one I've chosen to respond to.

    Have you ever been in love?

    I'm stupid in love with this girl. Have been for years. And she loves me back. I know this because of all those times that she didn't kill me, even though I deserved it.

    I can make her happy. I'm not quite sure why, but for some reason I have this ability. And nothing in the world feels better than making her happy. Period.

    I also have opinions about politics and human rights and whatnot. But-- sorry to be so frank-- all of that stuff takes a back seat to making my best girl happy. Maybe that makes me a hypocrite, maybe it makes me a bad person. But that's simply the way it is. I would do anything to put a smile on her face.

    So I bought her a ring. I proposed to her with an empty box from the upscale jeweler in my town-- which caught her off-guard, until she read the card that said we had an appointment to pick out a ring the next morning. We went there and spent about three hours looking at rings. Myself, I couldn't have cared less. They all looked the same to me. But she loved it. Just looking was the biggest thrill for her.

    When she picked one that she liked, I bought it. Didn't even ask how much it cost. (Of course, I'd gone over all that stuff with the jeweler the previous day, so he knew to only show us stuff that I could afford.)

    You know something? I don't care how much it cost. I mean, I care, in the abstract sense. You don't drop five figures on something without noticing it, or at least people in my income bracket don't. But beyond the simple "do I have the money for this?" calculation, I don't care. I gave her something that made her face light up. That smile of hers is beyond price.

    It was worth every penny.

    I'm not saying that I'm absolutely right about this or that anybody else is absolutely wrong. I'm just saying that, in my case, money is a trivial and fleeting thing compared with my girl's happiness. I guess I just have a different set of priorities than yours.

    That's all I have to say.
  • by deblau (68023) <slashdot.25.flickboy@spamgourmet.com> on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @12:45AM (#4067947) Journal
    I felt I had to reply. Apologies in advance, because I'm a hardass.
    1. Even the most progressive feminist can sometimes be profoundly cliche'd when thinking about marriage. Our society teaches and reinforces strong ideas and imagery around weddings and marriage from a very early age -- heterosexual women are steeped in cultural tradition around marriage. It's hard to fight decades of "this is every girl's dream".
    Yes, yes it is hard, but that doesn't mean the fight isn't worth making. I for one am sorry that the "progressive feminists" as you call them are still so materialistic. I would be much more happy if they would preach mutual love and respect, regardless of how big his wallet or his dick are. And I do think it's a shame society is so stereotyped. Cliches and stereotypes are easy excuses for not observing and thinking for yourself. (Yes, I know stereotypes have psychological protective value, but we're talking about marriage here, a situation in which we've gone way beyond casual contact.)
    2. If she wants a diamond, get her a diamond. Don't make her spend the next 50 years of her life looking down at her hand and thinking, "Instead of a diamond ring, I got a symbol of his political and social stance."
    I want a Lexus sport coupe. Get me one. Or 50 years from now, I'll be thinking, "all I got was a lousy Geo Metro".

    Do I deserve a car, or ring, or anything else because we're getting married? Do I really deserve anything more than love, respect, and honesty? Have I somehow earned something more? What have I paid for it, what have I put into the relationship that demands more than what I'm already getting? I think the real question to be asking here is, "Why do I need this ring? What does it mean?" Think about that, and let me know what your answer is. (BTW, I don't consider spending money for its own sake a worthwhile reason. I consider it flamboyant, vain, and ultimately destructive.)

    And frankly, if the love of my life got me a present based on her political stance, then considering the fact that I was planning on marrying this woman, and that I must already be happy with her views, I would be deeply honored.

    3. If you don't want to support new diamond sales, consider estate jewelry. For a reasonable price, you can buy a ring that has a sense of history to it, that is a beautiful thing, and is less charged with the modern baggage. For that matter, an estate jewelry specialist can also help you make the choice. Talk to a pro! Explain you want something beautiful and unique, that you want to spend X dollars, etc.
    If you decide to go down this road, then I applaud the creativity of this suggestion.
    4. If you decide not to go with the diamond, give your bride-to-be *positive* language around your choice. Don't get her a different kind of ring because you don't like the social ramifications of diamond mining -- get her a different kind of ring because you don't feel a run-of-the mill diamond ring accurately reflects the special and unique qualities in her and in your relationship.
    Positive language is important. But please don't tell me how to feel, or what I may like or dislike, or by what reasons I am allowed to act. No one has that right.
    5. Don't use not getting a diamond as an excuse to skimp on the cost. Buying a 300.00 ring instead of a 3000.00 ring 'because diamonds are tainted with the blood of workers' says you were looking for an excuse to be cheap. It's not about the money, but it's not just the thought that counts, either.
    When I buy something, I trade my money, the exchange for the fruits of my labor, for the fruits of someone else's. The amount I'm willing to pay depends on how much value I think I'm getting from the transaction. What value am I getting from this purchase?

    Furthermore, I don't put a price-tag on emotions, since they are no one's to buy or sell. My love for any woman isn't worth $300, $3000, or $3,000,000. It's priceless, because it's mine, and mine alone. And if it's not the thought that counts, is it the money? Is it the prestige? If I spent the aforementioned $3,000,000 on a diamond ring, would the woman I gave it to love me any more than if I spent $300? If so, she's no one I'd want to marry.

    6. Size *does* matter, but it cuts both ways. Dicks *and* diamonds can both be tooooo big.
    Agreed, on both counts.
  • Re:alternatives? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by danox (232017) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @02:09AM (#4068218) Homepage Journal

    I used to think like this. Until I met the girl I wanted to marry. Turns out she wanted a diamond ring . . . . . . . . what can you do? You don't kick out someone who you are in love with becasue they want a diamond engagement ring. I don't speak for all women here, but something I have noticed is that many women need to be habitualy reminded that you think about them, and most of them have been trained to expect gifts as a sign of thoughtfullness. Its pretty sad from my point of view, but when you care about someone, and they end up feeling like you don't think about them enough, precicely becasue you don't give them any material signs of affection . . . well then you start buying things for them. In most cases, sitting them down and explaining that you don't think that way will make no difference to them. Don't try to understand it, they are women.

  • Re:alternatives? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squaretorus (459130) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @02:38AM (#4068292) Homepage Journal
    this is a gift for her, not you

    JESUS! It never fails to amaze me how little geek guys know about women!

    Every single woman I've ever been out with went week at the knees at the sight of me refusing to eat at a restaurant because of poor practice, avoiding a brand for poor ethics, or cycling to work to live 'carbon neutral'.

    If you care about this stuff - and your women doesn't I dont care how nice her tits are or how often she gets them out for you - DUMP HER. She'd sure as hell get rid of you if the tables were turned, and theres another one out there with BETTER tits who shares your ethics, and cooks a better omlette - you just have to find her.

    If you can shelve your ethics for sex - they weren't your ethics in the first place.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @02:57AM (#4068340)
    You're fond of the word 'probably', huh?

    Materialistic people are more successful on the chart of... materialism. No shit Sherlock.

    I hear people who train hard can run faster and people who study harder pass more tests. Wow!

    I also hear that people who value happiness and overall wellbeing over materialist possessions live longer, get less heart desease, have less miscarraiges, and have less mongey kids - do a newscientist.com search if you subscribe - its all in there.

    There is a HUGE difference between materialism and evolutionary competitiveness. Justify your greed this way if you must - but don't lie to yourself!
  • Re:The Answer (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @06:27AM (#4068862)
    Many things in life are a poor investment when viewed solely in monetary terms. A brand-new car, for instance, which will depreciate maybe 20-30% in its first year. (doesn't stop all you guys lusting after them, though, does it!).

    Having children is a serious monetary burden, looked at solely from an investment point of view.

    Going out for a restaurant meal when you could cook it yourself for less; paying thirty bucks for a bottle of wine worth maybe five bucks so you can drink it at a table at Florian's cafe in the Piazza San Marco, listening to the orchestra. I could go on, but...

    The thing is, sure, some aspects of the de Beers monopoly are unpalatable, but most commodities - coffee, steel, grain - are accompanied by exploitation and other bad things.

    You could consider, of course, purchasing a stone or a ring off a private buyer strapped for cash - and have the stone set in the ring of your choice by a reputable manufacturing jeweller. It's up to you - but I know, for sure, there are darn few women who don't think a diamond ring is the acme of romantic love.

  • by sckeener (137243) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @07:13AM (#4069006)
    hog wash...

    Ever hear of a pawn shop? or ebay [ebay.com]?

    Just make sure that if there is a engraving that it's something you can live with....

  • Re:The Answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 4of12 (97621) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @08:16AM (#4069372) Homepage Journal

    My wife told me straight out that she didn't want a diamond engagement ring.

    She simply didn't care for such a diamond ring. She generally doesn't like jewelry, but occasionally likes a few simple pieces.

    Knowing what I do about the artificial market for diamonds, I was more than happy to oblige her wishes. It was simply more money for the wedding and honeymoon, which are not cheap, either.

    But do go in together to pick out wedding bands.

    The experience of doing that, thinking about what kind of ring you want (Au, Ti, Ag, Pt, wide or narrow, plain or decorated, what to write on the inside - please not the LotR phrase, etc.) helps cement a relationship at least as well as getting a big rock. Or, at least, if the relationship was going to go anywhere, then the mutual ring picking experience will reinforce the same relationship dynamics.

  • by ivrcti (535150) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @08:42AM (#4069593)
    First my qualifications: I have been married for 16 years to one wonderful woman. We have 4 kids.(OK I'm older than most /. ers) I can honestly say, that I have loved every minute of our marriage. I love making this woman happy and she makes me grin like a five year old in a candy store. My advice: Look seriously at your relationship. If you can't talk about the realities of engagement and marriage honestly and openly, step back and improve the relationship before moving forward. Then, talk with her and find out what she would like. That doesn't have to be a matter-of-fact, in your face arguement. Be smart and LISTEN (by the way, that's what women REALLY want.) Then do whatever you can really afford to make her dreams come true. Put some thought into it. Make it original and meaningful. The fore-thought must show through! My story: I knew my gf came from a very traditional background. She worked with a gossipy bunch. She isn't materialistic. She IS sentimental. I wanted to give her a ring and an EXPERIENCE she could brag about to her friends and would always remember. Since my natural father died when I was young, my mom gave me her rings from him. I had them cleaned up and packeged, etc. Since the ring wasn't expensive I had some money to spend on the engagement night. (How you ask IS important.) I took her to a fancy seafood dinner (her favorite), then a fun play. On the way home, I stopped at an old fashioned park by the lake. There under the moonlight, we sat on a park bench under a small streetlight. The old oak trees were draped with spanish moss. I knelt down on one knee, swallowed hard and asked. She still brags about that night to her friends! So: remember the ring is a symbol. Symbols mean something to very specific people. Find the symbol that will mean the right thing to both of you. BTW, If you are trying to justify being cheap, you are doomed!
  • Re:The Answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by andrew_0812 (592089) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @09:03AM (#4069735)
    I also bought my wife a diamond. She does not care much for jewelry, and she would have been happy with a small conservative diamond ring. That is fine, but I wanted to do more, so I got her a really nice ring with a big rock on it. I think that the ring sometimes helps women to "see" how important they are. After all, if you are willing to spend that much money on something as useless as jewelry, just because you love her, then...


    Besides I like it when people see her ring and their eyes bug out or they comment on how nice it is. (I am sure she doesn't mind either)


    Yes, diamond engagement rings may be a brilliant marketing strategy for the Cartel, but it is a strategy that has worked. Deep down we all judge ourselves based on other people. If we had talked about it, my wife would have been fine with another type of stone, or a ring without a stone, but deep down she would not have been as content as she was "with" the ring.


    Conformity is a fact of life.
  • by AlamedaStone (114462) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:08AM (#4070195)
    If you're choosing a symbol to represent unending love, there's not a lot wrong with choosing a life-giving, pure element, aside from the lack of originality, but why does everything you do have to be original?

    There are two points I'd like to address here.

    The first is the artifical, hallmark perception of "unending love", as cold and static as a linoleum floor. A shiny, brittle, unchanging rock is a very poor symbol of a healthy relationship of ANY kind, let alone a life-long partnership.

    Relationships change and develop, grow and prosper, through things like hard work, patience, trust, empathy, respect, active mutual understandings, and communication. Even with all of these things, however, there will be fighting, anger, harsh words, conflicts of interest, clashing cultural backgrounds or upbringing, miscommunications, misperceptions, and sometimes worse. Because we are human.

    It is fundamental to the human condition that personal growth comes from resolution of conflict, and mutual growth works the same way. The only way to remain conflict-free is to surrender your opportunity to mature as a human being. That's a pretty steep price to pay for a white picket fence and some peace and quiet. Without the so-called flaws of a partnership, none of that which is truly valuable would ever surface. A relationship is a vast, opaque, nebulous and ever-changing thing. And to top it all off, partnerships are vastly undervalued by the market.

    Aside from being multifaceted, I can see nothing in a diamond that is representative of the kind of union of which I hope we are all speaking.

    The second point is in response to your (presumably rhetorical) question, in part, "...why does everything you do have to be original?".

    original - adj.
    1. Preceding all others in time; first.
    2. Not derived from something else; fresh and unusual: an original play, not an adaptation.
    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

    Every partnership, entered into freely and knowingly, is a "fresh and unusual" thing. No one is like another, and comparing them is almost universally futile. To face the challenges mentioned above, your greatest asset will be your creativity, your ability to reframe and redefine problems and barriers of all shapes and sizes. As a symbol of a union, I cannot think of a single reason why a token of troth should not reflect that creativity, or originality. Everything you do must be original if you consider yourself a thinking being.

    Now, I am not suggesting that your every action should defy convention, but how many times a day do you go on autopilot, coast along letting your nervous system take control, without expressing yourself in some way? How much of your life passes without excercizing your one and only truly inalienable right, that of free thought? Why does everything one does have to be original? Because one may as well be dead if it is not. You contribute nothing of value to the world, and do not grow emotionally, intellectually, or communally.

    I would like, finally, to make it clear that I am not talking about creative talent here. You don't have to be a professional artist to think and act creatively. There is creativity in every person born, the potential for originality in every moment of every day of every single man and woman's life. All it takes is choosing to step back for a moment and actually observe the life that you are living, the faces of the people that surround you every day, the barriers that you build around yourself, both physically and emotionally. Do you ever smile at people on the subway, or the bus? Do you even dare to make eye contact on the street? Why, or why not? Or do you even know?
  • Zirconia, again (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @10:54AM (#4070513)

    I did the diamond thing when we were first married. Big rock in a big setting, stuck out like a zit on Prom Night. We did it because we didn't know any better and it was what was expected of us.

    After we had a kid she had to stop wearing it because she would spear him with it every time she picked him up. So, she started wearing a plain gold band. After a couple years, she decided she wanted a nice ring again, but she didn't want her wedding ring. She went out and bought a better band where the stones didn't stick up and she used zirconia. Her rationale is that only she will know and she would rather spend the money on a minivan than a f*#%ing diamond.

    When you are young and in love you do stupid things like spending $5000 on a diamond. When you are older and your relationship takes on a more comfortable feel, you look at the DeBeers ads and chuckle at how silly it all was. Then, you go out and buy a minivan.

    So, buy her whatever feels right for you but don't invest too much sentiment in it. It's just a ring. But, don't forget to send her flowers every couple months and be sure to send them to her work where all the other women in her office can see them. Bring home her favorite ice cream when she calls and you can tell she's in the dumps. Rub her feet when she's pregnant. Those are the things that really show her you care.

    </LECTURE>

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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