Diamonds are not forever. As a symbol of eternal love, “diamonds” were invented in 1938 by the De Beers corporation.
De Beers launched a nation-wide ad campaign that year claiming the only way for a man to show his affection was to spend two months’ salary on a small gem. Two months’ salary was intentionally selected by De Beers to increase profits.
This wouldn’t matter if diamonds were actually valuable, but they aren’t. As De Beers Chairman Nicky Oppenheimer said in 1999, “Diamonds are intrinsically worthless.” Diamonds are not rare at all–De Beers just happens to have a global monopoly on diamond mining, allowing them to restrict supply.
The punch line: diamonds have almost no resell value. De Beers doesn’t want it back.
By all means, if a $5,000 engagement ring brings you $5,000 worth of happiness, go for it. But first make sure you’ve thought deeply about what happiness is.
(h/t Adam Conover)