Diamonds did not become reputable until the late 1900’s when DeBeers, while attempting to establish its now current monopoly, decided to give it its rare image by presenting it as a symbol of ultimate love that will last forever. With the right marketing tactics and its many successes, women all over the world believe that receiving a diamond ring will be the conclusion of a quality courtship.
When a man considers engagement, he mainly spends a lot of time planning how he’s going to propose, but doesn’t consider proposing with any other rock. Inevitably, he should go with a diamond because diamonds—and only diamonds—are synonymous with romance and is indeed a measure of his love. However, he can’t just choose any diamond because if he loves his partner enough, that diamond ring should be of the highest value in size and quality, which is rated by the four C’s: Carat, Color, Cut, and Clarity. While I believe in what a diamond ring has come to represent, a symbol of commitment and undying love, I also believe that if those sentiments and values are truly treasured in a relationship, you shouldn’t need a diamond to substantiate it.
In other words, I feel like I can be given any ring or trinket to symbolize the four C’s that truly count in my relationship: Commitment, Communication, Cooperation, and Compromise.
Another turn off of diamonds for me is the unethical way that it can be obtained and the environmental impact it can have. Yes, there are some diamond companies that have been working on their image by “being ethically sourced,” but there are many articles out there highlight why we can’t quite buy into that image. I understand that there are more technological advances to diamond mining, but just as there are such advances in the clothing industry, mass production at an efficient rate still requires manpower. Unfortunately, that manpower can end up looking a lot like unethical work environments and unfair wages for the employees. I know that I probably own some clothing that wasn’t developed using fair trade methods, but there is something even more disenchanting about wearing a “huge” rock on my finger for the rest of my life, that, along with the representation of love is also a representation of unfair labor.
I have been doing a lot more research on diamonds as an attempt to determine it’s actual worth. What’s its true intrinsic value versus its market value? Engagement rings are averaging about $4,000 each these days, but if one tries to resell it, which apparently is really hard to do according to Edward Epstein in his article, “Have You ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?”. The article accentuates the fact that resold diamonds actually cause fluctuations in diamond prices. For an example, Jack Brod, president of Empire Diamonds estimated that a half-carat diamond ring, which might cost $2,000 at a retail jewelry store, could be sold for only $600 at Empire.
Looking at this information, I started questioning why I let society make me believe that I needed a diamond ring in the first place.
When I started asking myself that question, I began making a list of the attributes of diamonds that I personally admired and came down to two conclusions: 1) it’s durable, 2) it’s shiny and I think it’s pretty. As great as those reasons are, are they enough to warrant having my boyfriend spend so much money on a diamond ring? No, not at all. So, if the thing that appealed to me the most about the diamond was the durability and sparkle, can I find that elsewhere?
The answer I came up with is: moissanite.
What the heck is a moissanite? Kryptonite’s sister? No, it’s even better than that because kryptonite isn’t real. Moissanite is a gemstone that was originally born from a star discovered in 1893 by a French scientist named Henri Moissan who went on to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He discovered particles of the gem in a crater that was created by a meteorite that fell to the earth. He originally thought that he found diamonds, but realized that the crystals were composed of silicon carbide. Since natural moissanite is extremely rare, the moissanites today are laboratory created, successfully synthesized to produce the most scintillating gemstone. Although it is engineered to give the illusion of being similar to a diamond, it is different from it, compositionally and visually. Below is a chart comparing the gems:
The moissanite is slightly less durable than a diamond with hardness of 9.25 compared to a diamond’s solid 10 on the Mohs scale. It is true that the brilliance of a moissanite is higher than a diamond. However, it is important to note that moissanites exhibit a different kind of brilliance than diamonds do since the faceting pattern is different. The fiery, rainbow flashes emitted by moissanites are beloved by some, but others complain that moissanite’s heightened brilliance can create a “disco ball” effect. Would I want that fiery rainbow of a thing that some refer to as a disco ball on my hand? Well, I always did like a good dance party. Also, moissanites are also known to attract less dirt than diamonds; due to the mixed carbon and silicon composition of moissanite it has a much lower propensity to attract dirt and oil. Another great thing about a moissanite is that since it is developed in a lab, jewelry made with moissanites and eco friendly metals meet the very highest environmental standards.
I understand that having a moissanite as an engagement ring is a little unconventional in this society, even though it’s gaining more of a reputation, but after considering all of these points, I have decided to say: screw what society says is better for us. I bet that if I don’t say anything about having a moissanite instead of a diamond, most people won’t be able to tell the difference. Of course, I do have a lot of family who have been or are still in the jewelry business, but my objective is not to fool anyone into thinking that the rock I’ll have on my finger is a diamond. Nor is my objective to bash the jewelry industry at all. No, my whole point of this post is to say that while it’s okay that some people still prefer a diamond engagement ring, I personally don’t think it’s the best option for me in the future. With a little insight into this decision, I am confident that family and good friends will not jude me nor my future fiancé for making this decision. If they still do, then, well, they have a bigger issue.
Bottom line is: you can celebrate love without a diamond. Heck, you can celebrate it without a ring at all. Go crazy, pal.