Diamonds: Not necessarily forever

Nonsense — Read in Wired:

For centuries, diamonds have lured women up the aisle.

Not so: The idea that diamonds represented “perfect love” evolved during the Victorian era but was reinforced with a vengeance by the market manipulation of De Beers. More…

Comments on Diamonds: Not necessarily forever

  1. It’s not as nonsensical as it may seem. Diamonds as metaphors for durability, constancy and perfection predate the Victorian era by far. Ovid’s “Ars amatoria”numbers them among the items women desire as presents from their lovers, and Pliny The Younger’s “Natural History” talks about their use as talisman. And what about the Song of Songs: “His hands are as gold ring set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.”

    During the Middle Ages diamonds were regarded rather suspiciously because of the magical traditions associated to them, but at least from the Renaissance onwards they make a reappearance, not only ornamenting symbols of power such as crowns and sceptres, but also as part of dowries and gifts in noble weddings.

    Diamond as metaphors for love and beauty are a frequent topic in baroque poetry and art. And once non-nobles were allowed to possess and acquire diamonds, the use becomes even more widespread: Goethe’s elegy “Would I Own The Ruby” or Heine’s complaint “You’ve Pearls And You’ve Diamonds” are just two examples which explicitly mention diamonds as gifts to lovers.

    De Beers’ marketing may have done quite a bit to reinforce and popularize the concept, but the idea has indeed been around for quite a while.