We all know diamonds are the world’s hardest natural substance,
but the jewelry industry doesn’t seem to believe it. Judging by the
sappy ads popping up on Monday night football, in men’s magazines,
and on billboards along Highway 101, diamond peddlers seem
convinced there’s nothing more dense and impenetrable than a man’s

“White horse and shining armor sold separately,” the slogans
read. “Carve the turkey any way you damn well please” and “She
hasn’t kissed you like that since, well, has she ever kissed you
like that?” The ads assure guys that if they surprise their
sweetheart with a crystalline rock, she’ll express her gratitude in
promising ways: She’ll stop nagging him, start wearing more
lingerie, and forgive him for saying that thing about her

Are women really that easy? It’s true: Women take a shine to
diamonds, and our fondness is as multifaceted as the stones
themselves. “Diamonds are the clearest, purest, most sublime
creations on this earth — something raw made into something
beautiful,” insisted a friend who fell in love with the gems as a
girl, when she was eye-level with her granny’s diamond ring-adorned
hands. “It seemed the epitome of ‘grown up,’ and all that is

As shallow as it sounds, women adore diamonds for the same
reason we swoon over sunsets and wedding cakes and candy-apple red
toenails. They’re miraculously pretty — dazzling even. “They’re mad
sparkly,” said one friend.

“I’m distracted by shiny objects,” confessed another. Still
another friend argued that the bling’s not actually the thing.
“Women don’t love diamonds merely because of how they look,” she
said, pointing out that cubic zirconia is just as flashy. “Diamonds
are valued because they are expensive. It’s a status thing.” I’m
not convinced a diamond says “I love you,” but it does say, “Look
how much cash my man can hack up for the mere sake of making me

Even if purchasing power isn’t your top man-hunting criterion,
there’s something about sporting a chunky, platinum-set,
emerald-cut diamond that makes even a modern feminist feel like the
Princess of Privilege, the Duchess of Don’t You Wish You Were Me.
“Diamonds,” as one of my girlfriends summed it up, “make me feel
fancy.” But that doesn’t mean every giftless schmo with two months’
salary to burn should be out shopping for ice. Before you shell out
for an overpriced carbon nugget, here are some things to consider:
  — Diamonds are controversial. And the controversy is über trendy
right now. Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie Blood Diamond, released this
week, illuminates the ways diamond mining in places like Angola and
Sierra Leone has been used to finance brutal civil wars or even
terrorism. You can ask your jeweler for a certificate proving his
diamonds are “conflict-free” — or you can buy your lady a day at
the spa, where there’s no such thing as “unrest.”

 — Diamonds are impractical. Call me a romantic, but I don’t
want anything that expensive dangling from my body, where it will
likely be sucked up in a treadmill, caught on my $15 scarf, or
swallowed by my undiscerning toddler. Shine is shine, and lots of
my friends swore they’d just as soon satisfy their itch for glitz
with something that doesn’t need to be insured — sequined
flip-flops, say, or a shimmery blush. “I would much rather have my
backyard fixed up,” admitted one. “Now that would sparkle.”  
— Diamonds are a cop-out. Yeah, yeah, they cost a bundle and come
in a cute velvet box, but they don’t absolve a guy who’s too lazy
to find out what his girl really wants for Christmas. Save your
money and invest your time in finding out what’s precious to her.
It may surprise you. “Diamonds do nothing for me,” declared one
friend of mine. “I want real estate.”

For more, visit www.StarshineRoshell.com.


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