Holy shnikes, the story on the front page now about diamonds and whether they are worth their cost
has gotten more comments on it than anything I've seen since Sept. 11th. Whoda thunkit? The general feeling of the
/. crowd seems to be away from diamonds and toward alternative gems that a) are less expensive, and b) have less moral, political and commercial baggage associated with them. I was only vaguely aware of this, but apparently DeBeers has a stranglehold on the world's diamond industry, and this plus the fact that there's virtually no aftermarket for diamonds (as one poster pointed out) means that DeBeers effectively controls prices and drives them up to insane levels.
Having bought a relatively expensive emerald-cut solitaire ring for my beloved bride (who cherishes it and gets compliments on it regularly) I felt a bit snookered and foolish at first, but the more I think about it the more I believe that /. is largely made up of nonconformist fringe players who have no problems doing things like getting wedding tattoos or not buying rings at all and going to Hawaii or something (as if that's any less conformist). Personally, I know that my wife expected a diamond ring and nothing else - we shopped for it together and then I covertly finished the deal and surprised her with it, again as she expected.
The point is, I resent being made to feel like a conformist tool for doing all of this - generally I do *not* just do what's expected of me, but in this case I loved her enough to recognize that this ritual would make her very, very happy, which it did (and the memory of it still does, quite often). That's not to blame it on her - I think every woman deserves to dream about, if not receive, beautiful jewelry. The symbolism is strong and meaningful, and the fact that DeBeers or any other cartel allegedly inflates prices artificially via strongarm tactics doesn't necessarily lessen the emotional impact of a diamond. The engagement ring, to my wife, represented the culmination of a wedding fantasy that she's had ever since she was a little girl, when she and her sister would page through bridal magazines and prance around the house in their mother's wedding veil. How far back do you need to trace this "conspiracy" to romanticize weddings and their symbols before you acknowledge that, on some level, people want this kind of fantasy because it taps into a deep-seated need for companionship and intimacy?
I have no love for DeBeers and their old-school almost-criminal behavior, and I hope that the cartel eventually crashes down and diamond prices are subjected to market pressures just like most other consumer goods. But don't take your cynical attitude and rain on our little parade here - regardless of where it came from, that diamond ring means a lot to both of us. Take your moralizing elsewhere, but keep it out of my marriage!
Yep, should have had a pair in there somewhere, but whatever. To cheer us (well, probably just me) up, here's a list of the specs for my G4 purchase that's now at step 2 of 4 in the Apple order status chain, "Being Assembled":
POWER MAC G4
- Dual 867MHz w/1MB L3
- 512MB PC2100 SDRAM - 1 DIMM
- 60GB Ultra ATA
- SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
- NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti,128MB
- Ultra SCSI PCI Card & Adptr
- 56K Internal Modem
- Apple Pro Keyboard
- Mac OS (10.2, baby!)
- Country Kit (whatever that is)
Okay, that's enough for today. Time to go entertain my sister-in-law some more. Yes, she's cute and 21 - no, I have no ulterior motives. :)