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Monday, January 23, 2006
Question of the Day II
Man-made diamond
Ladies, would you care if you were presented a man-made diamond as an engagement ring? Men, would you give a man-made diamond? Nope, sorry, but no-can-do. If you can't afford the real thing then I'd rather not have one at all. It doesn't ring true somehow... It may not be generally known, but the "tradition" of diamond engagement rings is under 150 years old, it did not come about until after the discovery of commercial size diamond deposits in South Africa in 1857, which made diamonds inexpensive enough to be available to the general public for the first time. (Okay, I admit this Tiffany's ring is pretty sharp.)

Throughout history, diamond engagement rings did enjoy popularity among those who were wealthy and those who were royalty. Many sources mention that Archduke Maximillian of Hamburg and Mary of Burgandy made the wearing of diamond engagement rings popular in 1477. It is highly doubtful that Maximillian and Mary started the trend of diamond engagement rings, though it is possible they started the trend among the wealthy or those who were royalty. After all, they were rather expensive and could not become common if the "common-folk" could not afford them. A true trend involves more than just a small section of the society and this is why I find the possibility highly doubtful. As a matter of fact, diamond engagement rings were not to become "traditional" until hundreds of years later. The De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. was created in 1888 in order to protect the investment of diamond mine investors. A new mine was discovered in South Africa in 1870. Since only a small amount of diamonds had been found prior to this, the discovery flooded the market and cut into the profits of investors. The De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. was created in order to regain control of the supply of diamonds. After they gained control of the supply, they then needed to control the demand for diamonds. This attempt began when Harry Oppenheimer (son of the De Beers founder) visited New York in order to meet with Gerold M. Lauck. Gerold was the president of N.W. Ayer, which was a leading advertising agency at the time. You see, diamond sales had declined since 1919 by 50%, and something had to be done to increase the demand for them. The year of the advertising campaign was 1939. That's right, the tradition of diamonds as THE engagement ring...as the only correct option, started slightly over 60 years ago and was the main result of an advertising campaign. While the diamond did enjoy periods of popularity in times prior to this (Victorian era for example), this was the factor that made the diamond engagement ring the ONLY choice that was acceptable.

- Rachel Sanfordlyn Shreckengast at Wedfrugal

Personally, I have a posey ring. The name Posey is a combination of the words poem and essay. The idea to engrave promise rings reaches as far back in time as ancient Egypt. They became quite popular in the 16th and 17th centuries and the Posey ring is often referred to in Shakespeare's plays. Poesy rings are a type of engraved band exchanged between lovers or friends and inscribed with romantic sentiments or meaningful dates and/or sayings.

Questions, Just the Questions

posted by Lisa at 1/23/2006 07:48:00 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


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