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Natural Diamonds are a Scam

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  • Tip Bones

With Valentine's Day coming up in a couple of weeks, I'm excited to see all of my social media feeds light up with blissful couples. Like every year, some of them will proudly show off a newly adorned ring finger, glittering bright enough to make anyone just a LITTLE jealous. Diamond rings are a staple of engagement, but here's the thing:

We pay way too much for them.

Popular wedding planner the Knot reports that U.S. couples pay an average of $5,900 for their ring (ouch!), but their users say they spend $1,000-$3,000. But why, when you can buy a pretty nice used car for that much? The answer is really marketing and social pressure.

Diamonds aren't actually rare at all. In fact, compared to other popular gemstones, like rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, they're actually very common. But wait, didn't we all learn in economics class that high supply of a product means low prices? Yes, if it weren't for two things: high demand and artificial supply restriction. Recognizing that the public had a huge appetite for the rocks, companies like DeBeers, who at one point held 85% of diamond mining operations, began to artificially restrict the supply of diamonds. This drove prices way up, because the demand didn't decrease.

With prices through the roof, these diamond giants kicked off ad campaigns designed to increase profits. Have you ever heard the 'rule' that a ring has to cost two months' salary? Yeah, that's not a rule, but it's a holdover from a DeBeers ad campaign from the 1930s. The ad told consumers that "a diamond is forever," so that they'd spend more, and never try to sell the ring back.

Is there any way to avoid the expense of a shiny rock in your ring? Maybe. If you're buying a ring, your partner probably has a preference, so ask if they'd be interested in a lab-created diamond. These are chemically and structurally the same as natural diamonds, but cost a lot less. Alternatively, you can choose a different gemstone (which are sometimes also lab-created!), or use a plain band. As long as you and your love are happy with what you choose, there's no reason to spend a huge chunk of your income on even this special piece of jewelry.

Photo: Pixabay