Diamonds. One of the most enduring gems with a Mohs hardness of ten. The tangible promise of true and ever-lasting love. The monetary burden for young, devoted men. Scientifically, the component is no different than cheap pencil leads, yet despite the chemical identity, the vast difference in prices are a reflection of people's beliefs. Nonetheless, no matter how embellished the precious stones may be, the sought-after diamonds are a product of a combination of excellent marketing strategy and advertisement campaign.
First discovered in India, diamonds were mined and valued as a kind of cherished material ever since. As the greatest South African diamond deposit was unearthed in the 1800s, its influence bought increased diamond demand to Europe and the United States. However, diamond engagement rings were not as mainstream as other more exotic gemstones, such as opals and rubies, until De Beers, a cooperation established by a British businessman, Cecil Rhodes, changed the global market with an excellent marketing strategy. Nonetheless, before launching an eye-catching advertisement with a widespread slogan, they had to monopolize the supply market to ensure the largest profits. In order to control the amount and price of the diamonds they want to sell, De Beers organized exclusive contracts with suppliers and buyers, whom the diamonds would be changed hands by a De Beers subsidiary.
In 1948, a young copywriter at the N.W. Ayer advertising agency coined the advertisement of the century, "a diamond is forever". The slogan successfully created a connection between a man's commitment and an indestructible gemstone; it was also described as the most romantic item a man could ever purchase for his partner. Ironically, such a significant object was already been put on a price tag since the beginning as the advertisement clearly stated that two month's salary is equivalent to "forever love". Although the advertisement did not immediately cause a stir in the market, the number of brides receiving diamond engagement rings soared to 80%. De Beers group's revenue also skyrocketed from $23 million to $2.1 billion in 40 years. Despite the astounding success, the company never stopped marketing its products. As the demand slowly declined, De Beers pushed another trend of reassuring the partner with another diamond ring in the marriage. Mottos, such as "Marry me sounds so much better than just Merry Christmas" were prominent once as well, yet they were not comparable to their first one.
Despite being the representation of love, diamonds are seeming to face their decline in the market. Millennials are not as interested in diamonds as the baby boomers' generation even though couples spent $26 billion for precious stones in 2015 alone. Nevertheless, whether they decide to buy their significant halves diamond rings, or not, the rings will ultimately be worth the love between them. Not their price tags.
Written by Yuning Gu