7 reasons why diamonds are a waste of money...and why I still want one

Diamond rings are getting a negative spin in the news this week. Despite talk of blood diamonds and clever marketing campaigns, I still want a sparkler. Is that shameful?

By Jenny Charlesworth

7 reasons why diamonds are a waste of money...and why I still want one Photo: atiatiati, iStockphoto

Hold on to your bling ladies, this might sting a little: "Diamonds are a terrible waste of your money."

Yup, Ira Weissman, founder of, has taken diamond rings to task this week in the Huffington Post, writing "7 Reasons Why Diamonds are a Waste of Your Money."

First reason you should retire your sparkler: The time-honoured tradition of getting down on bended knee and giving the future missus a sparkly mega-rock is nothing more than a brilliant marketing ploy cooked up by some Don Draper-type on the De Beers payroll.

Weissman points to an article by journalist Edward Jay Epstein that snuffs out any romanticism tied to the notion that diamonds are a girl's — and bride's — best friend. "We are dealing with a problem in mass psychology," reads the 1947 strategy plan behind the wedding ring campaign. "We seek to ... strengthen the tradition of the diamond engagement ring — to make it a psychological necessity capable of competing successfully at the retail level with utility goods and services."

I don't make a habit of getting sentimental over 60-year-old marketing briefs, but I'm emotionally invested in this one. Even this ugly business of "competing successfully at the retail level" isn't enough to deter me from wanting a diamond engagement ring. Nor are Weissman's comments about diamonds being a bad investment ("Most people would be lucky to get half of what they paid if they tried to sell a ring the day after they bought it."). Or the fact that dropping crazy cash on jewelry instead of topping up your RRSPs or adding to that nest egg is kind of, well, ludicrous.

All the reasons to go without a sparkler — especially the horrific blood diamonds argument, which Weissman contends isn't actually an issue in developed countries — resonate with me. Yet, and I know I'll be lambasted for this, I'm still set on getting a shiny diamond (though I don't need the big wedding). I guess deep down De Beers got to me.

A bride-to-be could wear amber, pearl, heck, she can even tattoo her ring finger — the options are endless when it comes to picking out hardware that says "I Do." But, if I'm honest, none of them provide the internal fireworks of imagining a princess cut perched on my finger. I doubt the fact I fancy an antique ring makes my stance any less deplorable, but I'm going to have to stick to my guns on this one. So when I find a man who wants to put a ring on it, I sure hope it's a diamond.

Do you have a diamond engagement ring? Would you consider going the diamond-less route?

This article was originally published on Aug 15, 2012

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