How Diamonds Came to Represent Engagement

In the 1930s, it wasn’t common to propose with a diamond and then everything changed. So how did the diamond industry come to be such an international norm? Proposing is an important life moment, it signifies a gesture of love and commitment. No wonder, people pour thousands into the grandiose event to mark their commitment. Let’s take a look at the history of diamonds as a representation of love.

In 1947, De Beers launched its now classic and familiar slogan, “A Diamond is Forever” and this resonated with America’s psyche that marriage is everlasting akin to the durability of the gem. This marketing campaign created a surge in popularity for the precious stone. Around 10 percent of American brides in 1939 would have received a diamond engagement ring, nowadays that percentage has risen to 90. AdAge has deemed the slogan by De Beers as the top advertising slogan of the twentieth century.

Getty Images/ Royalty-free/ Caspar Benson

Many organizations and companies entered the market to hop on the bandwagon of this major success. Jewelers experimented with ways to enhance the diamond visual appeal and presentation, new cutting techniques were adopted to increase the stone’s brilliance. Technological improvements meant that mining was improved and this escalated supply to meet demand. Over time, several shapes emerged as popular options including round, oval, square, and rectangular.

Today, the world’s diamond deposits are slowly becoming depleted. Typically, it takes 250 tons of ore to be mined in order to produce a one-carat, gem-quality stone. This is why the industry is shifting towards lab-produced gems which are made to mirror natural diamonds through chemical engineering. This is a less popular option as its resale value is incomparable to the real stone. Therefore, the price for lab-grown diamonds is substantially lower.

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