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Tuesday, April 24, 2007
You Have A Friend In The Diamond Business... least that's what the radio commercials keep telling me. For those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area, you probably can't go for about an hour without hearing one of Tom Shane's diamond commercials.

Him and his baritone monotone talking with people about eliminating the middleman, and the special jewelry that you should get your sweetheart. I like the commercials - I have since I was a little girl (yes, they've been around a very long time). There was a point where I couldn't stand the commercials any longer because they'd added some angelic choir sounding voice singing the taglines, and then they changed it to a speaking female. Now they're back to the original marketing combination of Shane and some nameless announcer who tells us where they're located.

The latest commercial, however, really bugs me. It's a tool to communicate the idea that engagement rings are getting bigger. Two and three carat diamonds are becoming the norm. If I was a more materialistic wench, I'd look at my 15 year old (high quality) half-carat ring and think I've been cheated. *I* don't have a two carat diamond. I don't think if you added up all the diamonds that I have in things it would add up to two carats (that's because I still don't have those diamond stud earrings that I've wanted for years, but I digress...)

The commercial goes on to say that because Shane Co. eliminates the middleman and buys direct from the diamond cutters in Antwerp or Thailand or wherever they are this week, you don't have to go broke buying that wonderful diamond for the lady that you love.

Gag me. We all know it's pure marketing and the message to the women is this: if he doesn't give you at least a two carat diamond, then he doesn't love you enough. After all, the bigger the diamond the bigger the love and adoration for you, right?

Right? Puleeze. The commercials are getting on my nerves. I know people who are lucky to have a simple gold band on their hand because that's what they could afford at the time they got married. Another person I know really did use a cigar band until it fell off and then they presented their spouse with a beautiful ring. But it's not about the ring - it's about the commitment, the feelings and the love that surrounds what the ring represents.

It's about the marriage, not the wedding or the jewelry. Granted, the jewelry is nice to have but it's not necessary. Now, that's not to say that you're going to try and convince me to take my ring off and sell it or put it in a box and eschew material possessions like the woman who is trying to sell all her things on eBay.

Don't get me wrong, I know that the wedding industry is huge. You have to have the right flowers, the right food, the right photographer and of course that massively expensive gorgeous dress. But the real topper is that ring that starts the whole thing off. The ring that the other women drool over, point out to their boyfriends or rant to their fianc├ęs that the other woman's ring is bigger/prettier/whatever. It's sad, because it's just a symbol. It's not the size of the stone, or the quality of anything involved, but the fact that another person made a commitment to you and you accepted that you want to try and spend the rest of your lives together.

If diamonds hadn't come up as the stone to put in them, it would be some other precious stone that everyone would rant over. Or a cow (it's the biggest cow ever!), or a sheep (mine's fluffier than yours!), or a chest full of homemade blankets (mine are edged in silk...) or something. But it's none of those things, it's a diamond. A simple piece of carbon that has been superheated and polished over time in the deep recesses of the earth. It is, for all intents and purposes, a rock and that's how diamonds have been slang-termed over the generations. "Just look at that rock he gave her!"...

...well, at least I always know that I have a "friend" in the rock business.