It’s holiday season and the search for last minute gifts or those items that might make or break your relationship has begun. Companies like Jared have already begun the advertising wave that hits every social media site and TV station commercial.
However, the topic no one is addressing is why exactly these gifts are such a crucial part of our culture.
One of the shadiest business has always been the business behind diamond cutting and selling. With such small objects worth such a large amount of money, it is hard to ignore some diamonds’ significance as a result of the rareness and worth behind them. Look at the story behind Wallace Chan’s $200 million dollar necklace for example. With regards to the time and effort put into the necklace, Chan says the “final product took 47,000 hours of work from 22 craftsmen.” Diamonds are intensely mined in some of the poorest countries, and these mines destroy land to a point of no return. Once they are handcrafted, they are sold to the highest bidder, for an unreasonable amount, for the simple fact they shine and are rare to find.
Businessmen and jewelers count on the emotional attachment to the piece, as well as the presentation of it. By playing on the emotions that have been bestowed in objects such as diamonds, companies that sell these as gifts such as Tiffany & Co. associate a person’s worth with that of a diamond.
We as a society then give in to this association because it is a classic marketing strategy, one we don’t even notice because it appears on such a normal basis. The presentation is another key factor in the purchasing of diamonds. Jewelry companies like to present their gifts in a way that gives viewers of their ads a desired expectation from buying their product. Check out a Kay Jewelers’ commercial from a couple of years ago (which is not too different from any more recent ones) to get a better grasp.
So the question that still holds is just how true are the appeal that diamonds bring? Check out this podcast by Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know that explores the true stats and providers behind diamonds.
The podcast is pretty long, but they touch on some key points that observe why the Diamond business is so successful if you take the time to hear it out. One of the points they open up with is the fact that 95% of married women in the Unites States own a diamond ring, rebutting any suggestion that this diamond ring is of any large significance of affection, and more a part of our consumer culture. They also dig into the life behind Cecil Rhodes, who first began the search in South Africa for diamonds. A British native, Rhodes was a racist exploiter, who used the rarity of his newfound discovery and the money that his native country possessed to make a fortune.
The truth behind diamonds is there, it’s just whether we want to look at it, or the diamonds. They were discovered and made popular by bad men, the business is carried on now by mad men, and people are funding these bad men blindly and wondering why the world they live in isn’t jolly. Open your eyes and think a little next time the beauty of a diamond sucks you in!
You can also check the video below that I made that uses clips from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and explores one of the methods advertisers use called Native Advertising.