Slight Tangent then.... Diamonds.

Hello folks.

Before my next post, I just wanted to tell you all that I think you are bloody marvellous. Yes, I mean you.
I've just been doing a monthly review of my stats page and can't believe how many there still are of you. Seriously, how are you not sick of this? *points to dishevelled self wearing Bob's clothes and sitting on the sofa eating a Twirl*
So, to all of you brilliant people from; The US, UK, Germany, Russia, Canada, Spain, France, Australia, The Philippines, Poland, Pakistan, China, Latvia, India, Vietnam, Singapore, Switzerland, the Czech Republic  etc... I just wanted to say:

 

You are just bloody brilliant aren't you?

Right.. enough of that.
Today I would like to talk about engagement rings. It all started when I got my nails done last week at a salon near my house. I'd had an exponentially shit day health-wise so decided that an injection of Fabulous would help ease the pain a little.



Nice, right? (And, don't worry, I don't have a weird leather Frankenstein's Monster hand... that's a wrist guard. Heavy lifting and I have never been friends).

Aaaanyway, during the appointment, the lady who was doing them for me clocked my engagement ring and wanted to talk about it. Now, Bob lucked out somewhat in the ring department and designed a ring around one of his family diamonds that his mum had saved for him over the years; it's very special and I am honoured wear it. It isn't a ridiculously enormous rock or anything, but it is a completely clear diamond and, therefore, very sparkly so it does get a lot of attention when I am out and about.
But what upset me about this yesterday was that the lovely nail lady saw it and mentioned that she was engaged too but then immediately caveated that with the fact that her ring wasn't a "proper one" because it wasn't made with real diamonds :(
I proceeded to tell her that she was nuts and that it didn't matter what her ring looked like because she's a bride and that's so exciting! She ended up showing me her ring and, honestly, it was so pretty and delicate and twinkly. I didn't understand why she felt the need to say something like that; but it's something I've heard a lot of people say over the years.

Why is everyone so obsessed with the enormous sparkly solitaire diamond ring you could skate on?




Yes, diamonds are beautiful.. but do you know what's more beautiful? Someone who loves you. Someone who has balls enough to put it all out there and ask you to marry them. So why do we put so much emphasis on what a man produces for you in that moment? And why do we care what some other bitch thinks about it?

I must admit that I am guilty of this too. I can never explain why I was nervous about what the ring would look like before we were engaged and, in hindsight, I am so frustrated that I even gave it more than a moment's thought.
The size of the rock is not a measure of the man's love for you. So why then does it feel as though the general attitude is, the more expensive the ring, the more authentic the life choice?
It appears to me that there is a culture of one-upmanship here. As though our diamonds, or lack of, are the new status symbol. To some degree I understand this when it comes to shoes and handbags but, engagement rings?
It's one thing to buy yourself nice things and feel empowered and fancy as a by-product, but it's quite another to inject that same sensibility into a token of someone else's love for you.
It's not like it's something we've earned like a fantastic job or personal achievement of any kind, it's a fucking piece of jewellery someone has bought you. It's value is entirely subjective. So why do I see women with rings bigger than mine looking at me like I'm a child and women with smaller rings looking sad, like they have been put in their place?
It drives me crazy.



Women are constantly measuring themselves by someone else's yardstick and sometimes I just think we are all fucking nuts.

With this in mind, I decided to do a little digging into the history of the engagement ring and found some very useful trivia care of Reader's Digest and Wkipedia:
  • Pre-History: The caveman tied cords made of braided grass around his chosen mate’s wrists, ankles, and waist, to bring her spirit under his control. 
  • Circa 2800 BC: Egyptians are buried wearing rings made of a single silver or gold wire on the third finger of their left hands, believed to be connected directly to the heart by the vena amoris. 
  • 1st Century BC: Puzzle rings first appear in Asia, where sultans and sheiks use them to tag each of their wives. 
  • 1477: In one of the first recorded uses of a diamond engagement ring, Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposes to Mary of Burgundy with a ring that is set with thin, flat pieces of diamonds in the shape of an “M.” 
  • 1700s: Silver “poesy rings” engraved with flowery sayings are in vogue in Europe. Across the Atlantic Ocean, the Puritans give their betrotheds useful thimbles instead of rings, which are derided as frippery. Eventually, however, many thimbles get their tops sliced off and are worn as rings anyway. 
  • 1800s: The highly sentimental Victorians make jewelry from human hair, and use gemstones to spell out names or endearments, such as a D-E-A-R-E-S-T ring set with a sequence of diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, etc. 
  • 1867: Diamonds are discovered in the Cape Colony (now a province in South Africa), the beginning of a huge increase in the diamond supply. 
  • 1880: Cecil Rhodes, who arrived in South Africa in 1873, founds the DeBeers Mining Company with other investors. Within the decade, they will control 90 percent of the world’s diamond production.
So basically, Archduke Maximilian of Austria fucked it all up for everyone.
Furthermore:
"Engagement rings did not become standard in the West until the end of the 19th century, and diamond rings did not become common until in the 1930s in the United States, as a result of an extensive nationwide marketing campaign by the diamond industry." 
"The idea that a man should spend a significant fraction of his annual income for an engagement ring originated de novo from De Beers marketing materials in the early 20th century, in an effort to increase the sale of diamonds. In the 1930s, they suggested that a man should spend the equivalent of one month's income in the engagement ring; later they suggested that he should spend two months' income on it. In 2007, the average cost of an engagement ring in USA as reported by the industry was US$2,100."



Well.... I am shocked and appalled, internet.

I feel so duped (and kind of like I've been walking around with an iphone on my hand now). I want to run back to the nail salon and tell that lovely lady that it's all just bullshit and that, really, we should be wearing thimbles or plain bands or.. handbags?

I don't know... I love my engagement ring and I love Bob for designing it but, honestly, I would have been just as happy had he given me a piece of wool to put around my finger. And discovering this history of engagement bands has made me feel really good about that.
Seriously though, can you imagine if De Beers' major import was a different stone? We could all just as easily have been wearing £7,000 topaz or rose quartz rings. It really makes you think...

So what should we do about this information ladies and gents? I say we all band together and mix this shit up. 

I don't know about you, but I am going to walk around with a fucking unicorn with laser beams for eyes on my hand from now on.

3 comments

  1. Great post!

    http://mkstyleramblings.blogspot.com.au/

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    Replies
    1. Thanks.. right back at you- have just followed your blog and look forward to checking out your pinterest page x

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  2. It was in the fourteen and the fifteen centuries that the diamond rings got to be renowned as wedding rings. The diamond engagement rings were skilled just by the illustrious and wealthy individuals. Engagement rings Melbourne

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