Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Diamond Is Forever..and Ever...and Ever...

You will, of course, recognize one of the most successful advertising campaigns of all time - the "A Diamond Is Forever" shtick developed by a young advertising copywriter in 1947. In the year 2000, Advertising Age magazine named it the best advertising slogan of the twentieth century. It's been parodied, too - Mad Magazine years ago ran a full-page ad showing a flat-broke young man over the caption "Paying for a Diamond Is Forever."

This is true.

We all know that diamonds are hellaciously expensive, and the degree of expense is based on the famous "Four C's" - color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. The fifth "C" that is never mentioned is the most important one - cash - large piles of which you must bring to the jeweler in exchange for the miniscule piece of flashing carbon that symbolizes both your undying love and your indenture to the bank. And there's a sixth "C", the one on which the profits of the diamond industry actually rest - control.

The truth the diamond companies don't want you to know is that raw diamonds are just about as common as dirt, and prices are kept artificially stratospheric by manipulating the supply that eventually reaches the consumer. Whether they are "ordinary" diamonds, "conflict" diamonds, "blood" diamonds, "baseball" diamonds, or the Ace of Diamonds, isn't really important...the key to the success of the industry is control of the supply of diamonds in order to keep the price up.

But the ultimate fear of the diamond industry has recently been uncovered: astronomers have discovered a star they've nicknamed "Lucy" (from the Beatles' song, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"), about 50 light-years from the Earth in the constellation Centaurus. Lucy is actually the compressed heart of an old, collapsed star - a gigantic lump of crystallised carbon, 4,000 km across, weighing in at an estimated 10 billion trillion trillion carats.

Now that's a diamond.

So, consider this ...

Men, you can save a great deal of money on a 10 billion trillion trillion carat diamond. Just go to the International Star Registry, pay a modest fee, and have Lucy (her actual name is BPM 37093) renamed in honor of your beloved. How cool is that?

Of course, no self-respecting woman would let you get away with a dodge like that, but it's nice to dream, isn't it?

A 10 billion trillion trillion carat diamond. Now that's forever.

Have a good day. Consider cubic zirconia ... it may not be forever, but it's a lot cheaper.

More cheap thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo


7 comments:

Amanda said...

Firstly, the feeling of being given cubic zirconia is HORRIBLE!!!

Secondly, its nice to dream of diamonds but in reality, I don't want any. I can think of plenty of better ways to spend our money.

Gilahi said...

Neil Diamond tickets? Expensive. Neil Cubic Zirconia tickets? Super cheap. There's a reason.

Anonymous said...

Bilbo:
Your light column on diamonds sparked a heavy thought: Since diamonds are valued only for their artificial scarcity, it suggests the real reason behind the attempts to suppress blood diamonds would appear to not be humanitarian (except for those who sincerely work to suppress the trade out of moral concern), but strictly a cartel's attempts to use people's humanitarian impulses to ensure restricted supply. A very sad thought for those who know about the cruelty and malfeasance associated with the blood diamond trade.
Eminenence Grise

Raquel's World said...

HHMmm, a diamond conspiracy? Who knew.

KathyA said...

What would that be in light years?
I tried wearing a baseball diamond on my left hand, but frankly, there was something missing...

Daniel said...

I am leaning toward artificial diamonds. 1/4 the price and the only way the jewelers can tell the difference? They are too perfect.

Mike said...

Supposedly there are vaults filled with tons of diamonds being kept off the market.