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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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  • alternatives? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by garcia (6573) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:09PM (#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.
    • Re:alternatives? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gudlyf (544445) <gudlyf@realis[ ].com ['tek' in gap]> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:22PM (#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.

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

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @10:44PM (#4067229)
        You're right, it comes down to what she wants. Keep in mind that the "surprise" diamond engagement ring was invented by DeBeers (who paid for for the placement of said surprises in movies) specifically because their research showed that when the man asked the woman what she wanted, she almost _always_ preferred the man to spend the money on something practical like a down payment on a house or a car. Only by making men believe that women wanted a diamond ring, and didn't want to be asked about it, could they convince men to spend several months' salary on something the woman didn't actually want, and embarrass the woman into not admitting to that fact.

        So if you want to donate money do DeBeers (hint: they don't need any more) go ahead and surprise your wife with a diamond ring. But if you have a relationship of trust and communication (i.e. you're not already screwed), talk about it with your wife -- she's an adult, and can tell you herself what she wants. And keep in mind that any diamond you're likely to buy had no significant value until 1938, and there's no particular reason to think that they will in 2038, so the only real value is sentimental (which in this case is up to your wife-to-be). So talk it over. If she thinks that a diamond ring is important, then it is, and you should buy her one. But treat her like an intelligent human being, and give her the chance to talk it over.

        Personally, we bought a moderately sized diamond (this was before I knew just how artificial a diamond's value actually was), but more importantly, it's set in a custom ring that we designed and bought together. Instead of surprising her with a ring, we flew to Paris, and I proposed under the Arc de Triumph looking at the Eiffel Tower (after hitting the Louvre and eating an insanely fantastic dinner). She was still surprised (and had a goofy grin for weeks), and this all cost far less than the "two months salary" line DeBeers pitches, and was a lot more memorable because it represented real effort to arrange rather than simply writing a check. We designed and bought the ring a month or two later, together.
        • Re:alternatives? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @04:21AM (#4068417)
          Totally agreed, my wife and I designed our own wedding bands. Her folks donating a family heirloom 3 carat diamond (yes her hand drags across the ground, and yes we already knew diamonds are worthless, but the size of the ring is quite uncommon) seated in a suspension band (this allows it to adapt to body weight and still be able to take it off). The jeweler designed the band to allow for additional customizations, kinda of a lego ring :D

          As for mine, tiny skulls side-by-side that wraps around my finger molded out of white gold. It was originally based on a cheaply made silver ring I got from OzFest'97. When I first met my wife to be, the ring broke that nite. She offer to repair it and no sooner than after i put it on, it broke. Years later when we decide to marry, she surprised me by recasting the old broken ring into something new and improved. The Jeweler made considerable number of structural improvements and left plenty of room for future customizations (ruby eyes, plenty of surface area to attach additional skulls, etc). Needless to say, I was floored by her surprise.

          My point? Why buy stock jewelry at all?? treat it like open source, extend, embrace and wear =)
          The uniqueness alone makes it valuable in it's own right, maybe not on the marketplace, or maybe so, but who really cares, it's the sentimental value that matters the most, regardless of cost.

          What's that??? some of you are saying i'm blowing shit out my mouth cuz we were able to afford these rings, our tune would probably change if were poorer...HEH...Well remember, her folks gave us the worthless diamond, and all the customizations were under $1000 combined and that's STILL less than 2 months salary, way less,
          but worth a million times more than any old piece of junk from a jewelry store.

          mindrape
          damaged cybernetics
      • Re:alternatives? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by squaretorus (459130) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @03:38AM (#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.
    • Re:alternatives? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Wanker (17907)
      Yes, not only was it a recent advertising campaign, it was probably one of the most successful campaigns of all time. Most people really do think that diamond engagement rings are a centuries-old tradition.

      With that said, you're probably screwed unless you get your fiancee's buy-in.
    • Re:alternatives? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:24PM (#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"]
    • by cube farmer (240151) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:42PM (#4065895) Homepage

      Just give her a gold band with a large piece of coal embedded in it and tell her that you're making a very long term investment in your future together.

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

      by Ironica (124657) <pixel@NoSPAm.boondock.org> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @08:27PM (#4066289) Journal
      BS, says the girl wearing a sapphire-and-white-gold engagement ring that she loves very much.

      I've never understood the point to diamonds. They're shiny, sure, but so are soap bubbles, sunlight, and tinsel. The "good" ones are perfectly clear. What's the point? And while we're at it, gold can take a hike; yellow doesn't look good on me.

      So you know what people say when they see my ring? "Oh, that's so pretty; is that a sapphire? How nice, and different." I have never had a single person, friend, family, or stranger on the street, imply that they thought there was something wrong with my ring, or that maybe he was being cheap. If they had, I would have explained to them that I *asked* for these materials, but it's never come up.

      When it comes down to it, if she wants a diamond because she thinks she's supposed to want a diamond, and you want to get her a diamond because you think you're supposed to get her a diamond, I don't know what to tell you except to find your own mind. Oh, and look into created diamonds. [bbc.co.uk]
    • some friends (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NFW (560362) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @12:17AM (#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.

  • Opals (Score:4, Informative)

    by atrus (73476) <atrus@nOSpaM.atrustrivalie.org> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:10PM (#4065454) Homepage
    Opals are always a nice stone and do have a decent resale value. Of course they're rather hard to find in the US.
  • by RaboKrabekian (461040) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:10PM (#4065457) Journal
    Slashdot readers?

    Girlfriends?

    Marriage?

    This has to be some sort of hoax. Is it April already?
  • Terrorism vs. Cars (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fishy jew (452414) <bigs@NOspAM.bigs18.com> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:12PM (#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...
  • by stere0 (526823) <slashdotmail@s t e r e o .lu> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:12PM (#4065473) Homepage
    Build up a geek website with a couple of friends, make it popular and propose on the front page a couple of years later.
  • by phr2 (545169) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:13PM (#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.

    • 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 Arandir (19206) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @08:40PM (#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 IntelliTubbie (29947) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @09:18PM (#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
  • Two Words: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Null_Packet (15946) <nullpacket AT doscher DOT net> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:13PM (#4065482)
    Antique Ring.

    I gave my wife a pretty cool engagement ring from an antique jewelry outfit. Sure, it's 2nd hand, but it has the personality and it doesn't get crazy as far as prices go either.
  • by Valdrax (32670) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:13PM (#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.
  • Canadian diamonds (Score:5, Informative)

    by simetra (155655) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:13PM (#4065484) Homepage Journal
    They're really expensive, but are guaranteed not to have the ethical overhead of others. Plus, they have a cool little polar bear laser-etched into the side (very tiny, you have to use a loupe to see it).

    They're called Polar Bear Diamonds.
  • Fuck tradition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nicfit (25347) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:13PM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:22PM (#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.
  • by Snuffub (173401) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:14PM (#4065498) Homepage
    Great, i fully expect the bush administration to put out new commercials linking diamond sales to terrorism and urging all "true" americans to stay clear of them. I mean they did the same thing with pot without one proven link between marijuana sales and terrorist organizations.

  • by Telastyn (206146) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:16PM (#4065533)
    About manufactured diamonds and their history.

    currently Gemesis [gemesis.com] is America's primary manufacturer. They are building a $25m factory for making better/ different colored diamonds. Currently they can make yellow ones, though the show showed clear, and fanciful colored ones (in testing it seems).

    They are "real" diamonds, pretty much seeded carbon crystal. Any gemologist can likely tell you they are real diamond, albeit manufactured. AFAIK the cost is a little higher, if not compriable for now.
  • by bman08 (239376) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:16PM (#4065534)
    My fiancee was totally cool with the idea of another kind of stone, or with a fake. Show your girl some pictures of the kids from the mines, you'd be surprised how receptive she gets.

    Get a GIANT phoney and she can still brag/lie to her family/friends and secretly feel morally superior.
  • by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:17PM (#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.
    • by Safety Cap (253500) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:43PM (#4065905) Homepage Journal
      If you can't talk to each other about this, then you are fools to even consider marriage
      Whaa? Of course he'd want to pose this message to /. -- just think about the consequences if he tries to moderate his girlfriend as "-1, Troll" or "-1, Offtopic": he'd either get spanked by the "lameness" filter, or bitchslapped permanently when she $rtbls him!

      It's not worth taking the risk.

    • by Troy (3118) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:54PM (#4066014)
      What the last guy said. When I got engaged, my girlfriend and I spent some time talking about what kind of ring to get. We didn't obsess over it, but it was up for some pretty honest discussion.

      I am a very practical person who sees such things as being symbols pointing to something much greater. Whenever I see those "A diamond is forever" commercials, I think "So 6 months' salary saved towards a house!"

      A tatoo on your ass, now THAT lasts forever! :-)

      As it turned out, she felt the same way, so we took a route that was appropriate.

      I think it is helpful to just establish what her hopes are related to this(real hopes, not what she thinks she should say) and what your real reservations are...then explore options that make both of you honestly happy. If this is an important issue to both of you, then compromising becomes a lose-lose situation and will pop up to bite one of you two later. Indeed, compromise is only acceptable if one of you turns out not to care all *that* much about the issue....a helpful tip to remember.

      My girlfriend and I once fought about an issue for 18 months before finding a win-win solution.....mainly because if one of us compromised it would have haunted us later.

      As far as win-win possibilities go, antique jewelry is a wonderful way to go. All of the jewelry will have a history and story related to it, and may cost less than "new" jewelry.

      Also perhaps visiting a jeweler to discuss other gemstones would be helpful. My mother (a collector) showed me "Mystic Pink Topaz" the other day. It's an absolutely beautiful rose colored gem that seems to yank the light right out of the air and sparkle with blues, greens, purples, etc.

      Good luck with the ring, the relationship, etc etc etc.
  • Imitation? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kstumpf (218897) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:19PM (#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. :)
  • by Phronesis (175966) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:20PM (#4065588)
    Progress in large gem-quality synthetic diamonds is proceeding so fast that DeBeers is developing quite sophisticated techniques (ultraviolet phosphorescence) to allow jewelers to tell synthetic from natural stones. Perhaps it will not be too long before the "conflict diamond" problem disappears because synthetics displace natural diamonds for most of the market.

    A good account of the state of the art two years ago can be found in the transcript of a NOVA show on diamond synthesis: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2703diamo nd.html [pbs.org]

    When you send one of our diamonds to De Beers, right, the only way they can detect that this is not a natural diamond is really through phosphorescence. They take this, and they put in, they hit it with a UV light, and after the UV light goes off, this thing will phosphoresce for about three to five seconds. That is typical of a synthetic diamond versus a natural diamond.
    ...
    NARRATOR:Faced with the future threat of synthetic diamonds being imperceptible to the trade, De Beers is already preparing its bottom line - one low-tech way to guarantee detection. They are putting minute logos on their diamonds.

    STEPHEN LUSSIER: If we can give the consumer a little bit more help in telling him what's a good diamond, that regardless of what they know or what their jeweler knows, De Beers has told them that this diamond is natural from - as it came out of the ground, created by nature billions of years ago and not one that popped out of a machine last Wednesday in Kansas City.

  • by Audent (35893) <audentNO@SPAMilovebiscuits.com> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:23PM (#4065634) Homepage
    http://canadian-diamonds.theshoppe.com/canadian_di amond_mining.htm

    to quote: Canadian diamonds treasured by the worlds diamond experts. Sought after for their incredible beauty and brilliance. Mined in accordance to the highest ethical standards.

    I believe everything I read on the Internet, of course, but hey, worth a look - especially if you want to REALLY surprise her with the kneeling and the asking and the whatnot.
  • My wife is cool (Score:4, Interesting)

    by doog (5889) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:23PM (#4065636) Homepage

    Seeing as how I had no idea how to pick a ring, I bought a $20 engagement ring for my wife. When I proposed I gave it to her and told her it was a symbol and that we could pick the ring of her choice for her. She refused and said she didn't want any other ring. She said that was the ring I gave to her and it was the most beautiful ring in the world.

  • by Will_Malverson (105796) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:23PM (#4065648) Journal
    In his book "Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life", David D. Friedman [daviddfriedman.com] says that there is another reason for the growth in engagement rings over the past century. In a nutshell:


    Premarital sex was not invented in the 1960s, and has in fact been around ever since just before the first marriage. Of course, back in the good old days, a good girl would never have sex before wedlock. However, some were willing to bend the rules once they were engaged. So, men quickly discovered that you could ask a woman to marry you, have sex with her, and then break off the engagement.


    Up until 1935, this was considered an actionable tort in 47 of the 48 states. A woman who was deceived in this way could sue for the value of her lost virginity and subsequent difficulty in acquiring a husband. State legislatures passed laws against these suits in the 1930s and 1940s.


    So, after this ability was removed, women needed a new way to ensure that a man proposing marriage really meant it. It became social custom that a man asking for marriage would post a performance bond equivalent to about twice his monthly salary. This bond would be forfeitable upon his breaking off of the engagement, but returnable if she broke off the engagement. This 'bond' was implemented as a diamond ring, because it was an easy way to, er, 'crystalize' two months of his salary in an easy-to-handle package.


    In essence, the engagement ring is a private reimplementation of a canceled government policy.

  • Buy used (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jeremi (14640) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:24PM (#4065653) Homepage
    If new diamonds are sold at an artificially inflated price, and are impossible to return, why not buy a used diamond from someone? Then you can take the money you saved and buy your fiance a nice (car/mink coat/honeymoon trip/LinuxPC/whatever) as well.


    Or am I being hopelessly naive somehow? (it wouldn't be the first time ;^))

  • by signe (64498) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:25PM (#4065665) Homepage
    When I proposed to my fiancee a couple months ago, I didn't have a ring at all. We joked that she was getting a $300,000 ring, the house we were in the process of contracting to be built. And she was just fine with this. However, a ring is expected by a lot of people. And she did want one to show off. Plus we had the perfect idea. She had her grandmother's ring, which had 3 diamonds in a rather ugly setting (everyone agrees on this, even her mother). We had it reset in a platinum and gold setting for a relatively reasonable cost. And it's better than any ring I could have bought her.

    You can always get another stone as well. There is no rule that says it has to be a diamond. The first engagement ring I bought, several years ago, was a created sapphire. There are many semi-precious stones out there that are quite beautiful. Depending on your girlfriend's preferences, you may have a lot of options.

    Having said that, if she wants a diamond, then it's worth it to get it. Just keep in mind that you don't need an internally flawless diamond. A VVS1 or 2 will do just fine, and a VS1 or 2 is going to be OK too. As you have noted, diamonds really don't have a resale value, and how many people are going to be looking at it through a scppe after you purchase it? Same goes for color. Get a G-H, or F. And as for the carats, you'll pay a bit less if you stay just under the round numbers, so .95 instead of 1.

    The one thing you really want to make sure is excellent is the cut. This is something you want to be as close to ideal as possible. A friend of mine recently got married, and her well-off husband got her a rather large diamond for her engagement ring. When I looked at it, I was horribly underwhelmed. It was a poor cut, and reflected very little light. It looked flat. And this is not a man that I would have expected to miss the details.

    I know you know the 4 Cs, but it's always worth repeating, and elaborating on how to get a better deal using what you know.

    -Todd
  • by Brightest Light (552357) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:28PM (#4065713) Journal
    Alright. Let's review. You post on Slashdot. You have a girl you are going to marry.
    You are a nerd with a girlfriend.
    Most of the people here rarely talk to girls (no, its not flamebait; im one of them), let alone marry them! Buy her a diamond ring you idiot!
  • Don't be a moron (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Geeyzus (99967) <`mark_madej' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:29PM (#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
  • Wrong Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by philipsblows (180703) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:42PM (#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.]

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

      by Artificer (186606) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @10:06PM (#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 Eagle7 (111475) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:42PM (#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)
    • by dbretton (242493) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:51PM (#4065975) Homepage
      But basically, unless you pass the following test, I suspect that deep down you are looking for an excuse to be cheap:
      (snip snip)

      If you answer 'yes' to any one of the following questions, you must also be cheap:

      - I like to pay extraordinary amounts of money for products of inferior quality.

      - I enjoy pissing away thousands of dollars on a piece of jewelry that is kept artificially overvalued.

      - I love being at the mercy of international jewel cartels.

      - I like getting ripped off.

  • by Zapdos (70654) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:50PM (#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 chrysrobyn (106763) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:54PM (#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 puppetman (131489) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:57PM (#4066043) Homepage
    There are diamond mines in Northern Canada (http://www.wholesalecanadiandiamonds.com/ - you can browse and buy online), and you won't be supporting terrorists, slave labour, civil war, etc, etc (though you will be supporting our socialist health-care system).

    Of course, that doesn't help if you think we are being force-fed a useless commodity.

    For that, go for a small diamond set with other stones (rubies, emeralds, etc). Or go for a small ring and get a pearl necklace.

    Or go to your mother and see if she has any jewelry that she would donate and that you could have remade into an engagement ring.

    My mother passed away four years before I got engaged. My sister inherited her large jewelry selection, but honoured my mother's request that my brother and I be able to pick out a ring for our future spouses.
  • Style (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nick_davison (217681) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @08:11PM (#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!

  • by MsGeek (162936) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @08:23PM (#4066266) Homepage Journal
    How interesting that this subject comes up just a few days shy of my 15th wedding anniversary.

    When Richie and I got engaged, it was back in the day when South Africa was ruled by the Apartheid regime and Nelson Mandela had been doing time for longer than I had been alive. I told him "no diamonds." We went to a local lapidary shop where they had many different options for stones and picked out a sterling silver setting for it. I chose a diamond-cut quartz crystal. It was beautiful, the ring didn't cost much at all, and after someone assembled it Richie proposed to me in front of everyone in the store. Got on one knee and everything. Priceless. Everyone applauded.

    However, that ring was short lived. I don't remember exactly how I did it, but the ring's setting got bent and I lost the stone. It lasted only a few months.

    Next, sometime around Christmas that year, there were several small jewelry carts that set up in the local mall. One had a ring with a great-looking amethyst point mounted on it. Not too expensive, looked cool. We grabbed it. The ring lasted for about a year before the amethyst point worked its way loose. I Krazy-glued it in and it stayed in for a few weeks more before I lost it for good.

    Richie was upset, I was bummed. Two rings given, two down. I decided the next replacement for the engagement ring would not have a stone, tradition be damned.

    That next summer I found a sterling silver Claddagh ring. Traditional Irish love token. Symbol from pre-Christian times. Very appropriate. Very cool. I've had it ever since.

    Anyway, even with Apartheid over, I wouldn't touch diamonds if they were...well, diamonds. For one thing, I'm not crazy about them aesthetically. I'd rather have a blue topaz or a sapphire or a ruby or emerald or even better, a fire opal. For another thing, unless you can make darn sure where you are getting them from, you could get them from terrorists or Russian mafiosos or any number of other unsavory folks.

    And most importantly...I would rather spend my money on geeky stuff. Save that money and get something I really want...like a DVD-RW or a Radeon AIW 8500 video card.

    If your intended is a geek grrl, get her something she'll really want. If she isn't...well...maybe that diamond is kinda mandatory. Check up on the provenance of that rock...there are Canadian stones from the Yukon Territory strike that have a polar bear etched next to the laser-inscribed ID. There's nothing morally reprehensible about the Canadians, last time I checked.
  • figures (Score:4, Interesting)

    by God! Awful (181117) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @08:31PM (#4066328) Journal
    Not to trivialize this or anything (I'm against buying diamonds too), but this makes me laugh. It seems like whenever Slashdotters don't want to pay for something (e.g. CDs), they find some kind of ethical reason why they shouldn't.

    -a
  • by orthogonal (588627) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @08:56PM (#4066533) Journal
    "Honey, some loveless geek on Slashdot told me not to get you a diamond. So, really, it's not my fault, ok?"

    "BTW, I re-partioned your PC, got rid of Windows, and set you up with free BSD and a Tesla coil."

    "Honey? Honey?"
  • by xeno (2667) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @08:59PM (#4066553)

    Some personal perspective on the issue:
    • What my grandfather did: He worked as a chemist for a big-name laboratory, and took a the first chunk of a metal alloy that he invented, and had it forged into a three-metal set of intertwined bands. The result looked similar to those silver-gold-copper ringsets that are pretty common, except that it was silver, gold, and this high-strength alloy he invented. No stone. His wife loved that it was (a) unique, (b) symbolized his effort and thought, (c) had high value but didn't make her feel like a target for muggers in 1920's NYC. They were still diggin' each other when they died in their 90's.
    • What my father did: Bought a gold ring with a run-o-the-mill diamond. Matching plain band. Divorced. Ugly, ugly divorce. Lots of money issues. Fought over the return of the ring.
    • What I did: I took my wife-to-be to a local place that did platinum casting through the lost-wax method. We created a design, checked out the wax models before casting, and let the metal artist do his thing. They're both a honeycomb design with no stone, which worked fine as engagement & wedding ring. My wife digs it because (a) our rings are unique/only similar to each other, (b) we designed them together, (c) they're *very* durable, and (d) there's a lot less guilt associated with a valuable metal than in an overpriced colorless stone. I still dig this chick after 15 years.

    That isn't very many data points, but I think the lesson is that if the ring selection is more of a personal investment than a shopping effort, it's a good sign. Sure, the ring should have some durable value, but anyone who says only diamonds have value as a symbol of love needs to ponder on the primary practical use of diamonds: an abrasive.

    Jon
  • by phr2 (545169) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @09:05PM (#4066594)
    I may blow some /. karma by saying this, but that Atlantic article is one of the best pieces I've seen linked from /. in quite a while. It has nothing to do with tech or software and can't really be called news for nerds, but it's an eye-opener about how businesses manipulate public perception out there in the real world. If you skipped the article and went straight to the comments like I did, it's worth going back to read the article.
  • by starX (306011) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @09:06PM (#4066598) Homepage
    If you think diamonds are forever, you're going to love the new One Ring model at Sauron's Jewelers (with 1 convenient locataion in the Barad-dur shopping mall, located right in the shadow of Mount Doom).

    This ring is guaranteed to last for all eternity, and will grant countless powers as well as being a pledge of your ever lasting and eternal love. When my grandfather first forged this ring in ages past, he made it to last, and it has certainly stood the test of time. What better way of telling that special someone "This is going to last forever?"

    Supplies are EXTREMELY limited, so hurry on in, or email DarkLord@mordor.org for this and other wonderful items.
  • by D. Mann (86819) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @09:10PM (#4066624) Homepage
    This wasn't written by me; I copied it off of the somethingawful.com forums.

    Actual conversation between me and my girlfriend:

    Me: If we get engaged, don't expect much in the way of a ring. I'm pretty broke.
    Her: It's OK. I don't need a very expensive ring.
    Me [uneasy at the qualifier "very"]: ... because your brother just got engaged, and that ring he gave her was pretty impressive...
    Her: Yes, it was beautiful! I'd love to have a ring like that!
    Me: ... and I'm worried that anything I could give you wouldn't measure up to that.
    Her: Don't be silly. I wouldn't want more than you could afford.
    Me: Define "afford."
    Her: Two months' salary is normal.
    Me [calculating]: Um... wow. That would be, like, $4000. That's a lot.
    Her: Gross, dear, not net. It would be more like $6000.
    Me: Who makes up these rules?
    Her: That's just the custom, honey.
    Me: You know that's just a marketing gimmick started by the diamond cartels around the turn of the century, don't you?
    Her: Silly. I don't need an expensive ring.
    Me: The conversation up to this point notwithstanding?
    Her: Two months' salary is normal. It's not expensive.
    Me: So if you found, say, $6000 worth of computer hardware on our joint credit card, I could say "Hey, that's not expensive; it's just what computers cost!"
    Her: That's different. That would be just for you. The ring is for both of us.
    Me: So I get to wear this ring part of the time?
    Her: Silly. The ring shows everyone how much you love me.
    Me: And what shows everyone how much you love me?
    Her: The ring.
    Me: Do you see a certain asymmetry in this arrangement?
    Her: You should be proud that everyone sees me wearing your ring. It tells the world how much you value me.
    Me: Approximately $6000 worth, apparently. Does this mean that rich men value their wives more than poor men?
    Her: No. It's two months' salary for everyone.
    Me: Ah, so wives are priced on a sliding scale, then, like low-income housing?
    Her: I wouldn't put it that way.
    Me: How would you put it?
    Her: A little money is a small price to pay for something that lasts forever.
    Me: You lifted that directly from a jewelery commercial.
    Her: That doesn't make it untrue.
    Me: Touché.
    Her: Look, if you live to be 80...
    Me: I don't like that "if."
    Her [ignoring me]: ... and you're 33 now, that's $6000 divided by 47 years of marriage. That's like, $130 a year. You spend more than that on video games.
    Me: I'm alarmed at how quickly you arrived at that number.
    Her [ignoring me]: $130 a year isn't so much for my love, is it?
    Me: Well, it's a good deal cheaper than escort services.... OW! OW! Quit hitting; I'm driving here!
    Her: You get a lot more from this relationship than sex.
    Me: Yeah, the contusions make it all worthwhile.
    Her: Baby.
    Me: Y'know, this actually works out better for you if I die early. Your yearly value increases inversely to the length of my life. If I only live to 50....
    Her: I'm tired of talking about this.
    Me: That's because you're losing.
    Her: I'm not losing. We're not competing. You told me you couldn't afford an expensive ring, and I said that was OK.
    Me: Ah, so it's the "affording" part that's irrelevant.
    Her: Stop being so silly. I've bought jewelry on credit before; it's no big deal.
    Me: That's the solution!
    Her: What is?
    Me: You buy the ring.
    Her: That's not how it works, honey.
    Me: If people look at the ring to see how much I love you, wouldn't it make sense to get the most expensive ring available? You've got better credit than me, so....
    Her: But the point is for you to buy it, so people can see how much you value me.
    Me: How are people going to know who bought it? Do the salespeople engrave the credit card holder's name on the band?
    Her: I'll know.
    Me: Well, yes, that's a given.
    Her: I'll know you didn't want to pay for my ring.
    Me: I thought we'd established that.
    Her: I'm tired of talking about this. Forget it.
    Me: I'm trying to understand, really. We're supposed to have a token of our love, right?
    Her: Whatever. Right.
    Me: This token is something you would want anyway, a piece of jewelry.
    Her: Honey...
    Me: Bear with me. The token is sized for you, presumably styled the way I think you'd like it...
    Her: Actually, I get to pick it out.
    Me: Even better for my purposes. So the token is styled just for you, sized so only you can wear it. You keep it with you always. Do we both own it?
    Her: No, the bride owns the ring always.
    Me: OK. So you get a ring that may or may not be expensive, depending on your definition, which is your exclusive property to do with as you please. I get to pay for it. Remember what I said about asymmetry?
    Her: So you want a ring?
    Me: No. To be symmetrical, it would have to be something I want. A laptop, for instance.
    Her: You want an engagement laptop?
    Me: That's just an example.
    Her: That's not parallel. Computers depreciate; good jewelry doesn't.
    Me: Good point. I guess there's no such thing as a ring upgrade.
    Her: Actually, they make these things called "sleeves" which you buy for major anniversaries....
    Me: Dude, I'm gettin' a Dell!
    • by suffocate (90016) <4atm4@@@slashdot...com> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @10:10PM (#4067030)
      plastickiwi wrote that. Here's a follow up of sorts. Why he went and got married to that chick is beyond me. eh.

      Scene: a chalet bedroom, 3am.

      Her: Do you love me?
      Me: Wha? Who? Whassamatta?
      Her: Are you asleep?
      Me: Have we not already established the futility of asking that question?
      Her: So you don't love me?
      Me: What? Start over.
      Her: I asked if you love me and you said it was a futile question.
      Me: No, asking "Are you asleep?" is a futile question.
      Her: Why?
      Me: Either I am, in which case I can't hear you, or I'm not, in which case you can go ahead and talk to me without asking if I am. The question itself is pointless.
      Her: But if you answer it, I know you're awake.
      Me: But you want to know if I'm awake for a reason, right? You want to ask another question, right?
      Her: Right.
      Me: So why not just ask it? If I'm awake, I'll answer. If not, I won't. Same thing, fewer questions.
      Her: So asking if you're awake is inefficient?
      Me: Exactly.
      Her: I wasn't aware efficiency is a concern in conversation.
      Me: Efficiency is always a concern.
      Her: So why do you leave the seat up?
      Me: Clarify.
      Her: Why do you leave the toilet seat up? I always need it down, and you need it down 50% of the time. Efficiency would require leaving it down as a matter of practice.
      Me: True.
      Her: So why doesn't efficiency govern your behavior in the bathroom?
      Me: I'm a hypocrite.
      Her: That's a defense for anything.
      Me: Clarify.
      Her: Committing to a principle means abiding by its consequences. If you adopt rules in one situation, but ignore the implications of those rules in another...
      Me: I'm a hypocrite.
      Her: Exactly.
      Me: But I admitted that.
      Her: That obviates the utility of adopting rules in the first place. If you can wiggle out of anything by acknowledging hypocrisy, I could kill you and justify it by saying, "Well, I don't believe in killing people, but I'm a murderer."
      Me: That's interesting.
      Her: That's what you say when you can't think of anything else to say.
      Me: What?
      Her: "That's interesting." Then you say "What?" when I call you on it.
      Me: You wanted something when this conversation started, didn't you?
      Her: ...and then you change the subject.
      Me: Your critique is merely descriptive, and therefore trivial. I know what I do. Stating it as if you've caught me at something scores you no points.
      Her: I just wanted you to know I'm not fooled.
      Me: Noted. Now, was there some other question?
      Her: Do you love me?
      Me: I believe the fact we were just married should answer that question adequately.
      Her: Lots of married people don't love each other.
      Me: True. I do love you, as it happens.
      Her: Thank you.
      Me: Wanna have sex?
      Her: It's less fun now that it's legal.
      Me: Is that a "no"?
      Her: No.

  • by TrinSF (183901) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @10:39PM (#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 deblau (68023) <slashdot.25.flickboy@spamgourmet.com> on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @01:45AM (#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.
  • by Geckoman (44653) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @10:44PM (#4067233)
    IANAC (I Am Not A Chemist), but...

    According to a friend's chemistry professor, diamonds are a rip-off anyway. The crystaline structure of the carbon atoms in diamonds isn't the most stable form of carbon. Apparently, diamonds aren't really "forever," they're only for a few billion years. Now graphite, on the other hand, now that's forever! (Or at least a lot closer!)

    So buy her some pencil lead, and maybe one of those cool, high-dollar mechanical pencils to go with it!

    (Disclaimer: I assume no responsibility for any bodily harm that may result from following this advice. I, myself, am happily married, and if you tell my wife I said this, I'll deny it.)

  • love and devotion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Fun Guy (21791) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @09:40AM (#4069584) Homepage Journal
    I proposed to my girlfriend when we were both in college, and I had very little money. I was going to go to graduate school, and knew I wouldn't have any money for a long time. The ring was a modestly sized garnet, in a simple gold setting, $50 at Sears. Up to that time, it was probably the most money I'd every spent on jewelry.

    She loved it, because of what it represented. She knew I had more prospects than money, and she was able to see the ring for what it meant, rather than what it was composed of chemically. She told me that she was glad I hadn't blown a ton of dough on a big ring I couldn't really afford, because she didn't want to start our married life in debt for something that wouldn't add to quality of life the way a car, house, blender, etc. would. Our wedding was great, our marriage has been wonderful. I would be a shabby imitation of myself if I didn't have her in my life.

    She got a lot of really great reactions to the ring, surprisingly. A red stone for an engagement ring is unusual enough to be eye-catching. It's a dark red garnet, and a lot of people asked if it was a ruby. She's not ashamed of her ring, and always told them that it's a garnet, a semi-precious stone. I suppose there's a certain cache in that, a ring who's value is so purely symbolic, because she often saw women with big diamond rings in platinum settings get jealous.

    We've been married 11 years, now. Our third child, a little girl, was born 8 weeks ago, and our two boys are bright, energetic, handsome kids. Our love is flourishing. As for the ring, my wife accidentally dropped it over the railing from the third tier at Wrigley Field a month after we were married, still not used to wearing it. By some miracle, we found it on the pavement outside the park; one of the prongs holding the garnet in place got bent, but the stone was OK. After a few years, the thin gold band was wearing through, and the bent prong would catch on fabric, and she had to be really careful with it. For our 5 year anniversary, I suggested we get her a higher quality ring. OK, but she wouldn't hear of replacing her garnet. We had the stone reset in a better quality band, flanked with a pair of small diamonds. We'd saved up some money, despite both of us being in graduate school at that point, and went with diamonds for an aesthic reason - they set off the garnet and made it appear even more dark and lustrous.

    When I finished my PhD, and got a postdoc position, with my first salary that didn't start with a "1", I wanted to adorne my wife, to gild the lily, give her something beatuiful and extravagant and utterly impractical, to make up for the years of more practical and useful gifts. She selected small diamond stud earrings... because our new baby boy kept grabbing at the long, dangling earrings she typically wore. Sensible, even in her extravagances. What a wife.

    I got a real job three years ago, and we moved and bought a house. For our 10th anniversary, we were still broke from buying the house. For our 11th anniversary, our 4-week old baby let us sleep for 6 hours straight. It was wonderful. After a few raises and promotions, I've got some money now. I suggested to my wife that we get her some more jewelry, maybe some rubies or emeralds to set off her eyes. With a kiss and a hug, she handed me a stack of brochures about savings plans for college tuition, and said that there were more important things. What a wife.

    With 300+ comments already attached to this /. topic, I know nobody is going to read this. It's like those sand paintings that are created in order to celebrate what *is*, not in the expectation that they will be responded to, or become a permanat exhibit. I just wanted to declare to the world that the quality of your love is so very much more important than the chemical composition of the ring that symbolizes it.

In order to dial out, it is necessary to broaden one's dimension.

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