Diamonds have a unique place in our culture. They are beautiful and expensive symbols of love. These sparkly stones have entranced women for generations, but why? Why is it we are so addicted to diamonds and do they mean the same thing in the 21st century as they did in the past?
Diamonds and especially diamonds as love tokens are a rather new invention. It was only in the late 1800’s diamond mines in South Africa gave the world a ready supply of quality diamonds. In fact, too many diamonds flooded the market, so the first thing diamond merchants did was limit the amount of diamonds available to buy. Even after this, quality diamonds weren’t selling. It was in the 1930’s, De Beers hired an advertising firm to promote diamonds.
It was then the ideal of diamonds as symbols of true love was created. Ads were put out hawking diamonds as a symbol of not only a man’s love for his girl, but his own wealth. Girls were bombarded with the ideal a diamond ring proved a man’s love. Free diamond rings were given to Hollywood movie makers to use as symbols of undying love in movies. Promoters even went to high schools, convincing girls diamonds were symbols of true love. They said that diamonds were forever tokens, so the rings would be kept in the family and not released back into the market.
The ideal worked and the world became enamored with diamonds. Girls were delighted to receive this token of love and men were proud they could give their wife something so valuable. Yet, society is changing. Women are now strong and independent in their own right and don’t need marriage to survive. However, women still want diamonds. The diamond today not only represents love, but strength and power. Women who are independent are using the diamond as a symbol of independence in the right hand ring. This shows the world she the master of her own fate and capable of taking care of herself.
Why was a diamond chosen as this symbol of independence? Of course, most cynics say it is just another example of advertising at its finest. Someone who wanted to sell more rings created the craze and women fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Yes, advertising created the ideal, but it took off because of what the diamond means to women. They grew up believing in diamonds, and not just to represent love. Diamonds also represented strength. As women became more empowered, they adopted the sparkly stone they loved as a way to show the world they were strong in themselves, a force to be reckoned with.
In the 21st century, the meaning of the diamond has changed and expanded, but the allure is the same. Women are drawn to the diamond for not only its beauty and luster, but its strength and resilience. They have taken the symbol of devotion to another and turned it into a symbol of self-reliance and power.