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Diamonds and why they're not as precious as they're made out to be

Before I say anything, Priceonomics people are awesome and some of the things that they write about are just mind-blowing!

Coming to the point, Diamonds. While I was familiar with the fact that diamonds aren't actually all that precious or all that rare, I didn't know the whole story. After reading the following two articles, one more recent than the other - Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond? and Diamonds Are Bullshit, I truly believe in the power of advertising. That's all there is to it. Advertising. In fact, after reading these two articles, I am convinced that Inception is in fact possible. It's a long con. A very very long con, spanning half-a-decade advertising campaigns, which made people believe that

1. A diamond ring is a must when a man asks a woman's hand for marriage. An addendum to this is the fact that a month's salary must be spent on said diamond ring.

- The size of diamonds used in an engagement ring and the amount of money spent by an average american and the number of americans buying such diamond-encrusted engagement rings went up after the said advertising campaign.

2. That diamonds are a symbol of class, a symbol of status, a symbol that the person/family has made it through the middle class.

- Through careful product placement, in movies, in ads, in paper and in the tabloids, the diamond was projected as a thing that the middle class wife should aspire for and a middle class man should give to his wife/would-be as a symbol of having made it.

3. That diamonds are eternal, in the sense that they are not to be sold back because they are an integral part of a relationship.

- thereby artificially creating demand by reducing supply of the diamonds. Almost every other thing a family owns can and is sold back when necessary, and one might even make money off the transaction. But with diamonds, resale will almost never fetch you what you paid for the diamond.

Overall, it's surprising how effective the whole campaign has been. Diamonds are still not as integral a part of relationships in India as they are in the west, but I guess that's because India was never as big of a market for the diamond cartel as the west was. Ohh, yeah. There is a diamond cartel and it's a cartel because most of the supply of uncut diamonds comes from a single company, which in turn controls how much of the production that year goes out into the market. And who it goes out to as well. Diamonds aren't apparently sold in bulk willy-nilly to anyone who can pony up the money needed.

I'll leave you with one other excellent piece by the Priceonomics people, on How Breakfast Became a Thing, again, thanks to false propaganda and advertising. It's surprising how effectively people's minds can be manipulated.

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