I have a diamond engagement ring. Neither of us wanted another option.
Whenever I see the deBeers marketing thing being brought up, my reaction is always “So what?”
First of all, I thought U.S. is a capitalist country. We should be celebrating such a successful marketing campaign, right?
Second of all, regarding the fact that diamond e-rings are not a very old tradition. That applies to quite a few other traditions too, that somehow don’t come under fire for this same reason. For example, Mother’s Day. The first Mother’s Day was celebrated in the U.S. on May 10, 1908. Not that much older than diamond rings (1930s) as a tradition, is it?
Trick-or-treating as a Halloween tradition didn’t happen in the U.S. until the 1920s/30s either, with the term “trick-or-treating” first appearing in 1927.
If diamond e-rings are not “traditional” enough because of the relative youth of the tradition, then Mother’s Day and Halloween aren’t either?
Thirdly, diamond e-rings are not the only tradition that started or evolved to its current form, due to economic reasons. Back to the trick-or-treating example above, do we think the candy companies had nothing to do with how it got to where it is today?
Also I give you: Thanksgiving. Full disclosure, the following excerpt is from Wikipedia, but it cites to sources:
“Roosevelt declared the fourth Thursday as Thanksgiving rather than the fifth one. Although many popular histories state otherwise, he made clear that his plan was to establish the holiday on the next-to-last Thursday in the month instead of the last one. With the country still in the midst of The Great Depression, Roosevelt thought an earlier Thanksgiving would give merchants a longer period to sell goods before Christmas. Increasing profits and spending during this period, Roosevelt hoped, would help bring the country out of the Depression. At the time, advertising goods for Christmas before Thanksgiving was considered inappropriate.”
Point is, yes the tradition of buying a diamond e-ring in its current form is a result of marketing. But why do we ever buy anything? We have to know about it first. And how do we know about it if not (mostly) from marketing? I don’t judge people for what marketing they choose to respond to, whether it be for moissies or diamonds or sapphires or whatever else. But I do roll my eyes a little when people tell me, with all the gravitas they can muster, about the de Beers thing as if they are schooling me.