DeBeers and the Creation of the Myth of the Diamond Engagement Ring

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About Kathryn DeHoyos

Kathryn DeHoyos currently resides on the outskirts of Austin, TX. She is the News Editor for the Good Feed Blog and absolutely loves what she does. She is the happy mommy to a wild 2 year old girl-child, and is blissfully happy being un-married to her life partner DJ.


  1. One quibble: this is the second post I’ve seen recently (another one was from Chloe Angyal at New York Magazine) where it is asserted that *couples* spend X dollars on engagement rings. I don’t know what the precise statistics on this are, but I’d estimate that 95% of engagement rings are purchased by the husband-to-be.

    • Chuck, I would love to know the actual statistic on how couples pay for their engagement/wedding rings. My husband and I share the cost of “our” rings. Yeah…I get to wear the big ol’ diamond but it’s just as much his as it is mine. I’d hate to think we were in a tiny 5% minority but, who knows?

      Statistics anyone?

      • The stats would be interesting. After a quick google search I came up with nothing. All the debates seem to be about how much the groom to be should spend (most popular, one month’s salary), but I’m sure at least some couples share the cost.

  2. Yeah, quite a scam. Thanks for the heads up.

    • And guess how much difference this knowledge is going to make with regard to women’s expectation of diamonds as ‘proof of your love’? (Hint: Zero.)

  3. During World War II De Beers had it within their power to deny Germany the industrial diamonds they needed to make weapons of war. They let the diamonds flow to the Third Reich. And De Beers over-charged the United States for industrial diamonds, profiteering from the war. Even while doing this they had the audacity to advertise in the U.S. “Buy our gems, because they pay for mining which produces the industrial diamonds America needs to win the war.”

    Think how many fewer people might have died if De Beers had been done the moral and right thing during this tragic time rather than pad their profits.

    For more information see:

  4. I really really don’t like stones that stick up out of rings (snag on everything in my world). I really am not a fan of diamonds since they haven’t completely addressed the conflict diamond issue. It fascinates me how engagement rings have evolved over the years (even recent years) in general. For a long time I didn’t know many people would get the “set” of wedding band and engagement ring. Kind of makes me thinks more women are picking out their own engagement rings so they get the appropriate matching set of diamonds in their wedding bands. Most of the women I talk to freely admit that their now husbands popped the question but they bought the ring together ahead of time to assure the right ring was bought.

    These ring sets kind of turn of me off too because I don’t like wide banded stuff on my fingers like that and they look like they’re a little much when it’s all said and done. Little bit dated and a gawdy to me.

    DeBeers also manipulates the industry by flooding it with diamonds they have too much of. So you’ll see a huge advertising push toward large stones for awhile. Then suddenly you’ll see a push toward jewelry speckled with lots of tiny stones instead of the large stones.

  5. Alyssa Royse says:

    This is such a pet-peeve of mine. Here’s an old post that I wrote about it, And, true to form, At our wedding last weekend, my husband graced my finger with a $26 sterling band to go with the $36 sterling and Peridot (my daughter’s birth stone) engagement ring that he gave me. Perfect. Inexpensive, and if I lose them, it won’t be a big deal. For that matter, we can change them up whenever we want. Or go without. ;)

  6. Money is a fictional human construct. Love and marriage might be, but if you’re living in it you really shouldn’t believe that. Which is why I’ve always believed that if I loved someone enough to want to marry them, I’d dig the ore and stone from the Earth myself with my own two hands and I’d forge the ring myself. Maybe in that mine fire in Pennsylvania. Also, maybe fight some ninjas or some MMA guys along the way just to make it a little challenging. It’s just because to me, if I don’t love someone enough to want to do all that, why am I marrying them? I mean there are those penguins that hunt for the shiniest pebble and then spend forever kicking it through the dirt and snow to smooth it out even more to present to a mate. Like I’m going to let a penguin that doesn’t even have opposable thumbs be more romantic than me?

  7. When I was engaged, I found a ring online I fell in love with for about $30 and my partners was $20. I ended up buying them both. Cheap thrills :D Its the fact that you have some sort of shiny symbol I guess. I couldn’t care less about diamonds or silver or gold. The engagement broke off some years ago, and I still have that $30 ring. Haha

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