I bet many of you would be surprised that diamonds aren’t the only option for an engagement ring or any kind of jewelry. But what is the best alternative to diamond? The diamond market that was established by the De Beers cartel has led consumers astray into believing diamonds are the only option for the past century.
I am here to tell you that diamonds are not the only option and, in my opinion, I discovered a better option that is not only much more affordable, but that I wouldn’t have otherwise found without becoming absolutely frustrated with the price of diamond engagement rings.
Let’s get something straight though, diamonds are not rare. The De Beers corporation purchased a diamond mine in South Africa and started an ad campaign that would be one of the most persuasive and successful, convincing consumers that engagement rings need to be made with a diamond.
What would the campaign have been without the most beautiful movie actresses covered in diamonds? After reaping the benefits from the initial campaign, it continued with anniversary bands and De Beers isolated the market.
Diamonds were discovered in South Africa, as well as other locations in Africa, which De Beers acquired complete control over. This is where the term blood diamonds has become so well known, because it’s reported that the company used kidnapping and murder as part of their scheme.
In order to make diamonds seem rare De Beers trickled them into the market, all the while making the availability of rough diamonds scarce. In turn, this caused diamond prices to skyrocket due to their “rare” nature.
Consumers were discouraged from selling their diamonds because it would incite a widespread realization that diamonds have a rock bottom intrinsic value as the stone they are. So, it was up to the ad team working for De Beers to make diamonds appear to be eternal like the relationship consumers wanted, which created the “ A Diamond is Forever” campaign.
The campaign continued its psychological warfare with the De Beers cartel in the 1930s conjuring up that one month’s salary is the standard for what to spend on a diamond ring. In the 1980s another De Beers campaign refreshed its standard and changed it two month’s salary.
Eventually, towards the end of the 20th century the diamond market began to shift. Technology used to discover oil reserves revealed the likelihood of other geological regions that contain diamonds and due to this, discoveries increased outside of the monopolistic De Beers corporation.
Australia eventually discovered a major diamond resource, however, De Beers contracted a deal with them and the Soviet Union to be the distributor for rough diamonds. Once the Soviet Union disseminated, the Russians allowed the contract with De Beers to expire and began to sell diamonds on their own. Next to discover, cut, and sell their own diamonds was Canada, but De Beers was unable to contract a deal with them. Unfortunately, De Beers still maintains about 80 percent of the rough diamond supply, but other diamond suppliers keep their prices consistent with De Beers.
Diamonds are priced to appeal to the emotions, not based on the actual value of the diamond, which is significantly lower. The diamond empire is close to $80 billion annually in sales. The diamond quality can be excellent, however, it’s not the only option. So what the best alternative to diamond engagement rings?
1. Are Diamonds Worth the Price?
It might be difficult for many people to wrap their minds around not owning a diamond engagement ring, wedding band, or anniversary ring. At first, when researching diamond rings and compiling affordable rings, the common theme for diamonds was in order to buy a diamond we would need to go into debt, particularly based on the whole month’s salary, which I refused to give in to. But there was a best alternative to diamond that I will get to in a moment.
When trying to keep this type of purchase within a budget, it did not look bright. I wanted to give up searching because even looking at loose diamonds for $1000 or less, there was always some type of defect and I find it unethical and absurd that it’s not possible to find a beautiful stone for that price unless it was .19 carats, and you can barely see it at that weight. Let’s be honest here, if you’re going to give or receive a ring, you want to be able to look down from time to time and see it sparkle.
Both people are going to want to be happy with the purchase, but I was not about to allow my fiancé to finance a ring. We have better things to spend our money on and being in debt once we’re married is not an option for us. He would have done that for me, but I wanted to find something we would both be able to enjoy at a much more affordable cost and I was determined.