Blood Diamonds: Dismissing Myths About ‘a Girl’s Best Friend’

diamondsLove is blind and there are none as blind as them that refuse to see.

Even after the movie “Blood Diamonds” highlighted the human suffering and social fragmentation involved in smuggling African diamonds, lovers still fall prey everyday to the ongoing scam by the diamond industry. It’s time for lovers and us to wake up to the rip-off that diamond marketing represents.

Spring is here. Soon it will be June, the favorite month for lovers to get married. Love makes us do foolish things. So too does De Beers, which targets lovers with marketing campaigns designed to make them spend what they can’t afford, buying overpriced diamond engagement and wedding rings.

 

Far too many confuse true affection with the giving of expensive gifts and opportunistically “play nice” when given expensive diamonds.

The De Beers syndicate, one of the last transnational business cartels, controls 80 percent of rough diamonds. Monopolizing both the production and supply of stones, De Beers manipulates markets and prices. During the 20th century, De Beers successfully increased consumer demand for diamonds by enlisting the help of Hollywood and Madison Avenue. De Beers gave out free diamonds for movie producers to use in films and propagated the illusion of extremely rare, high valued diamonds by a sustained advertizing blitz.

Strategy

This strategy was designed to make diamonds a cultural imperative that brings back customers. It’s the most financially successful advertising campaign in history.

Another effective strategy has been marketing diamonds as a symbol of love and commitment. The famous advertising line "A Diamond is Forever" was coined in 1947 and is reportedly the best advertising slogan of the 20th century. The concept was reinforced globally by the 1971 James Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever”.

While diamonds are durable, the concept that “Diamonds are Forever” is used to convince ordinary

people not to sell their diamonds, but to horde and keep them forever – thereby allowing De Beers to sell more diamonds.

Diamonds are supposedly rare gemstones which are scarce in supply and are therefore deemed to be extremely valuable as personal possessions. That’s the lie behind the big con because there is an overabundant supply of diamonds that is in no danger of running out.

‘Best Friend’

Another famous De Beers advertising line promoted by Hollywood is "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", which was a 1949 Broadway song performed by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. Directed at male buyers, this campaign promoted the sentiment that if you want to make a woman speechless - for a change – buy her a diamond.

Consumer diamonds are worth far less than the industrial diamonds used in a variety of commercial manufacturing processes. Industrial diamonds have additional strategic importance because they are used to manufacture military weaponry.

Blood diamonds and most consumer diamonds are literally worth a dime a dozen. Three quarters of the world’s cheap raw diamonds are cut in western India, where they are turned into gemstones to be used in overpriced jewelry in developed countries.

An estimated 100,000 children under 13 years old working 12-hour days, six days a week, are paid four cents U.S. per cut stone This is why a $90 ring might have only $1 worth of diamonds in the design. They say you can’t fool all the people all the time, but De Beers has been fooling the majority of people for a long time.

The best rip-offs don't just require brazenness, but heartlessness. So people, wake up. The price paid in blood, sweat and tears by exploited African mine workers, added to the exploitation of Indian child workers, far outweighs the value of cheap diamonds at the jewelry store.

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