Halle Tecco has an interesting, albeit thin, piece up at HuffPo about the waning interest in diamonds as engagement/wedding rings. She sites the ethical issues, as well as questions about originality, style, and the symbol of ownership. This is quite a shift, although not as large as you might guess when you look at the actual history. Tecco writes:
Your great grandmother didn’t wear a diamond ring. Before the 1930′s, diamonds were rarely used in engagement jewelry. Instead, gems like rubies and opals served as the public display of holy matrimony.
The genesis of the ubiquitous diamond wedding ring stemmed from a brilliant advertising campaign led by the first advertising agency in the U.S., N.W. Ayer & Sons. Named the best advertising slogan of the 20th century by Advertising Age, the “A Diamond is Forever” campaign has proven quite lucrative. Diamonds are a $77.5 billion global retail market, of which De Beers holds roughly 40 percent market share.
Leave it to the feminist scholar in the piece to say the most interesting thing: “Dr. Natalie Wilson opposes the ‘ownership’ model of the practice which champions both ownership of women and showy capitalism. When asked what she proposed as an alternative she responded, ‘Why is it even necessary to ‘put a ring on it’?'”
Which gives me an excuse to watch this Beyonce video. Why must the most amazing dance video of last year correspond with lyrics that suggest women are objects to be claimed? I recognize that you might think there is a go-girl positive message for women here about articulating their desires or ditching out, but it’s not for me. (sticks fingers in ears and presses play)