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A diamond is forever?

September 21st, 2006 at 01:01 am

I watched "The Sixth Sense" a while back, and I remember this scene from it (don't worry, no spoilers).

Anna is showing an antique engagement ring to a young Indian couple.

ANNA: It's Edwardian. Beautifully worked. Entirely platinum with a mine cut diamond and an actual color Burmese Sapphire... It's timeless.

YOUNG MAN (looking wide-eyed and somewhat horrified): You got anything a little... plainer?

YOUNG WOMAN (brimming with indignance): Plainer? You want a plain ring to go with your plain fiance. Is that how it is?

YOUNG MAN (knows he's in trouble now and backpedalling furiously and hilariously): No, baby. Don't get in a tizzy. It's just... you're so beautiful... you're like a Burmese Sapphire all by yourself. You don't need all that.

YOUNG WOMAN (neither impressed nor appeased): Uh-huh.

I remember being very amused by this scene because I sympathized with the man. Big Grin

And then there's a story that a friend told me, about her friend who recently got married. It wouldn't have been quite so big a deal if the girl wasn't just 19, and dating for all of three months before becoming engaged (and married 9 months later).

Oh, and then there's the Ring. A 1.5 carat diamond, surrounded by 0.5 carat diamonds, with 0.25 carat diamonds going all around the band. The stones were already in his family, so he just had to spend $2000 getting them set in the band.

"Just" $2000.

My friend estimated the cost of the stones to be at least $20,000.

EEK!

I wouldn't have believed this, except I actually *saw* a $25,000 diamond engagement ring in the Costco jewelry display case the other day.

Actually, I thought it cost $2500 until I realized I missed the extra 0. It did seem to *sparkle* more once I realized my error.

Anyway, these recent events have caused me to reflect upon the nature of EDAs--Expensive Displays of Affection. I know it's not Valentine's Day, but I've made my peace with V-day when I turned down a gift of an iPod shuffle two years ago.

I don't know if this makes me a horrible person, but a $25K ring would simply horrify me. I'd probably be more likely to dump the guy than accept the engagement offer.

I know different people value different things, but EDAs never impressed me. Maybe it's because it is such a transparently manipulative marketing scheme--the product of a consumerist culture that tries to place a price tag on everything, including "love".

And since "love" is supposedly "priceless", you can charge whatever you want for it, since the main emotional value of EDAs come as a direct consequence of their high monetary costs. How convenient!

Furthermore, this marketing scheme shamelessly capitalizes on the "If you truly loved me" mythology, which is ultimately meaningless because you can use it to justify just about anything.

Observe:

"If you truly loved me, you'd get me this ring."

And:

"If you truly loved me, you wouldn't need a ring to prove it."

Two polar opposite statements, and both are "validated" by the "If you truly loved me" myth. This is the main reason why I never use this expression.

Now this does not mean that I don't have any romance in my soul, or even that I don't like pretty rocks. Actually, I love pretty rocks. I find their molecular crystalline structures and indices of refraction to be sexy as heck... in the name of chemistry and physics. Wink

But if you must pop $25K on something to display your affection? Don't buy a ring, or even a fancy wedding/honeymoon.

Put it towards a down payment on a house that we're going to buy together. *That's* true commitment, to me.

Now if only the SO read my blog... Heh. Big Grin

12 Responses to “A diamond is forever?”

  1. Broken Arrow Says:

    I love the Sixth Sense. So far, it remains as M. Knight Shyamalan best work I think.

    Oddly enough, I don't remember the diamond scene though. Not at all abnormal for a guy to block something like that out of his frightened mind though.

    My ex loved jewelry. As far as I know, it was fairly normal. Fortunately, she wasn't someone who needed "a whole lot", but the ring still came out close to around $1800 when we were done with it.

    Since our split, oddly enough, she wanted to keep it even though she pretty much left behind just about everything else that reminded her or me. Well, anyways, I didn't object so... that was that.

    As a guy, I really can't comprehend the allure that is jewelry. I mean, you can't turn it on, watch HDTV, play video games, nor does it have ear-popping audio. Ya know? Big Grin So, I just don't get it. I suppose that's fairly normal as well.

    I suppose if I have to make an observation, I believe it is the symbolism more than anything? That is, rather than the objective deconstruction of the ring itself, perhaps it is who gave it to you, and under what circumstances, and what it means to you emotionally-- be it positive or negative-- is what matters?

  2. Broken Arrow Says:

    By the way, I think I found the perfect ring for you ladies to give your man. Big Grin
    http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/remember-ring-gives-you-a-burning-reminder-202202.php

  3. amberfocus Says:

    Its value is definitely the symbolism, but it is a false, manufactured symbolism, in my view, which takes the "pricelessness" of love to justify, well, totally exorbitant prices. In that sense, jewelry such as lockets are much better symbols, because at least they are somewhat concrete.

    Diamonds have gotten to the point where they are so... I don't know if 'cliched' is the right word, but I feel it's such an easy way out. If someone really wanted to impress me with symbolism, they would hand-craft jewelry that resembled buckyballs. *That* would get my attention. And I'd also even wear it, since it's shrieking, "My SO knows I'm a huge geek!" instead of "MUG ME! MUG ME NOW!"

    I think the jewelry industry profits off the insecurities of both men and women. Women want to "feel" loved, and men want to "show" love, and the accepted way of doing so is in the purchase of large sparkly carbon crystals.

    I still want a house, though. I'm high maintenance that way. Smile
    ~mimi

  4. amberfocus Says:

    Haha, that's hilarious, Broken Arrow!

    It's hopeless with my SO, though. After two years, he still doesn't remember my birthday, much less our anniversary. It's a good thing I don't care (I only pretend to be peeved because I find it amusing)!

    ~mimi

  5. kashi Says:

    I once knew a girl who had an extremely expensive wedding ring...and she was an artist. The ring sat on her dresser because she didn't want to sully it with paint or clay. Not so much with the practical there...

  6. LuxLiving Says:

    Still just as happily married all these long years later with our $90 (combined price) plain gold bands.

  7. Broken Arrow Says:

    I hope people don't get the wrong impression about me here.

    I am LOVING you ladies with your low-dollar jewelry needs. Wink

  8. amberfocus Says:

    kashi: I'm in a similar situation where a ring of any sort conflicts with my work in the lab. A band might be okay, but a stone would not fit well under latex gloves. And I don't want the mice I handle to be attacking it. Blink
    LuxLiving: Congratulations! Sometimes, I think the simplest symbols are also the most powerful.

    Broken Arrow: You crack me up! But I wonder how many guys would trade RING for HOUSE. *watches them all run away* Sigh.

    ~mimi

  9. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    If my beloved had tried to give me any kind of diamond ring, I would have known that he didn't know me well enough to to be proposing....I have so many reasons to not want a diamond.... I'm not impressed by anyone's jewelry either, and dislike that finger-twittering "please admire my ring" ritual of newly engaged women. I always say nice things anyway.

  10. Broken Arrow Says:

    Are you kidding me? If my ex had said, "I don't want the ring. I just want a house", I'd be like "You got it!" I'm literally trying to save up enough to the point of buying a house myself.

    Maybe this is weird for a guy, but I really want a house someday.

  11. amberfocus Says:

    Joan of the Arch: The SO would have to be pretty dense if he hasn't realized that I'm not big on jewelry. Let's start with the fact that I don't even own a watch, nor do I want one. Actually, come to think of it, he may not have a watch, either. We both just use our cellphones. Can diamonds give me the time of day? No! Not unless you construct some sort of diamond-based sundial thing. Which come to think of it, might be kind of amusing.

    Broken Arrow: I know more single women are buying houses than single men, but is it really that weird for *anyone* to want their own house? I mean, who wants to be beholden to a landlord who tells you when you can run your washer/drier/garbage disposal, what animals you're (not) allowed to keep, and how loud you play your music/movies at night? Oh, not to mention the financial sinkhole that is rent payments?

    But still, most guys my age are NOT financially ready to buy a house, so it's a lot to ask for. At least a ring can surreptitiously go on a credit card? But I gather that won't work so well for a down payment. And it's not really their fault, either. My own house fund is... not doing too hot at the moment. It is all of... $90.06. Yeeeeah, gotta work on that...

    ~mimi

  12. joeswife Says:

    my wedding ring is a plain gold band, cost $20 at walmart, and the engagement ring is a 3 stone cz set that i liked, it cost 35 at walmart. i personally like a bit of sparkle but i dont think the ring has to be "real" to be REAL. know what i mean?

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