I have always been one to ask “Why?”
It used to be my Dad and my Uncle who were the recipients of my endless questions, and now I’m directing my inquisition towards the wedding industry, and the way we plan our special days. Namely, when it comes to wedding planning, why we do what we do?
In every step of wedding planning, there’s an element of tradition and custom, and part of that is perpetuated by the wedding industry to keep us spending plenty of money on our weddings. Before we can each choose what is (and what is not) important to us, it helps to understand the why behind each decision. First up, the ring that begins ‘this whole thing‘ that is – the diamond in your new bling. I asked Nicola Baker, Store Manager of The Diamond Shop, to help me out with the ‘Why’. Why do we buy diamonds?
Where do diamonds come from?
Born of molten rock and immense pressure, diamonds formed over three billion years ago, deep within the earth’s mantle. They are truly a product of the earth and a gift of nature. Natural diamonds are extremely old and take around a billion years to form in the Earth’s molten interior. Stones used in engagement rings can be anywhere from 900 million years old to an astounding 3.2 billion years old.
When did we start wearing diamonds?
Humans have admired diamonds for more than 4,000 years, prizing them for their intense light, perfect shape and beauty. These distinctive properties prompted many to believe they had mystical, supernatural powers. Once we discovered how to use precision cutting and polishing, and it wasn’t long before they were being turned into beautiful jewellery.
Why do they say ‘Diamonds are Forever’?
The diamond comes from the Greek word “adamas,” meaning invincible or indestructible. The lasting nature of diamonds is a result of their incredible hardness, low reactivity to chemicals, resistance to radioactivity and high melting point. Nothing can scratch a diamond — except another diamond.
Diamonds are Forever
The phrase became popular due to Sean Connery’s as James Bond but was coined by De Beers in 1947 to kickstart diamond sales after a lull caused by the Great Depression and World War II.
Diamonds are also unique. Like snowflakes and fingerprints, no two diamonds are alike. Each rough stone from which a diamond is polished has unique characteristics — its own fingerprint — so no two diamonds are identical.
When did diamonds become the gem ‘du jour’ for engagement rings?
Diamonds have long been associated with love – the Romans believed that the tips of Cupid’s arrows were made from the precious stones.
The first diamond engagement ring in recorded history was presented by the Emperor Maximilian I of Austria to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, in 1477. The ring was set with diamonds in the shape of the letter ‘M’.
Diamonds have the best sparkle, are the most durable stone in the world, and their lack of ‘colour’ means they are the most versatile for wearing, which makes them a very popular choice. Of course, you can also opt for alternative engagement rings that feature various coloured gemstones, we recommend sapphires and rubies as the best option as they are also very hard and durable. Other stones such as opals and pearls are too soft to be durable enough for wearing every day.
While some suggest that buying diamonds is merely a product of marketing, their history as the most pure and romantic stone goes back much further than modern marketing. Diamonds are finite and getting rarer — the last significant discovery was made nearly 20 years ago, which makes them pretty special in a world where everything else is commercially mass-produced.
Why are diamonds expensive?
This is largely owing to their rarity, and relative scarcity in the world. However, the process of mining, cutting and polishing, and certifying diamonds, also adds to their expense. We only sell diamonds that have been certified by G.I.A. the Gemological Institute of America, set up in 1931 as a nonprofit that protects the gem and jewelry buying public, it’s completely independent from the jewellery industry.
While diamonds are expensive, at The Diamond Shop, we are really proud to guarantee the best price and quality of any diamond in New Zealand. That means that if you are quoted for a particular diamond, we will always find you a better quality diamond for the same price, or a similar quality diamond for a better price.
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Main illustration Courtesy of Rox Diamonds & Thrills