Part of what’s so exciting about starting a company right now is that we’re living in a world where information is easily accessible, and by extension, it’s become easier to poke holes in the stories we’ve been told. The idea that mined diamonds are rare, unique, and an investment is a myth.
On rarity: “Diamonds had little intrinsic value—and their price depended almost entirely on their scarcity,” wrote Edward Jay Epstein in his seminal 1982 article for The Atlantic, “Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?” In it, he outlines how De Beers orchestrated a dual lie: that the diamond is rare, but also that the diamond is a symbol of commitment and love that no relationship should be without.” To top it off, De Beers made it seem like the value of the diamond was tied to how much you paid for it. When in reality, price gouging is so out of control in this space that there’s no straight line between quality and price.
On uniqueness: “Diamonds are the hardest material found on earth. They resist scratching better than anything else. Other than that, they hold no unique distinctions. All gem-quality materials are rare. They compose just a tiny fraction of the Earth. However, diamonds actually number among the most common gems.” (Gem Society)
On investment: In the 1990’s, a 1 carat D color diamond was about $90k. Today, it’s less than $20k. (Rapaport list). On top of the fact that diamonds have depreciated massively over time, there is the issue of price gouging and inflation in the luxury jewelry industry. Let’s say a retailer sells you a diamond ring for $20. According to industry standard, it probably the retailer $7-10, and when you look to resell that piece, you might be lucky to recoup $5-7. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your $20 investment will find its way back to you.
This is all to say, don’t buy the diamond because decades of marketing campaigns have told you that you need one to memorialize your love, or because it’s the only one of its kind, or because it’ll retain its value over time. Only buy the diamond if you’ll enjoy it in the present, if it was brought to the market through ethical and transparent means, and if it’s something that you’ll be proud to wear.