With Valentine’s Day in the recent past the feed of your favorite social media outlet may be crammed full of photos of engagement rings posted by would-be brides who are already scrounging Pinterest for the next big thing in wedding trends (it’s Boho). Obviously love and diamonds go together like a horse and carriage.
Or craft beer and brownies.
Or Adele and singing in your car.
But how did a rock become the symbol of love? Well, Son, you’ve been played.
In the late 1800’s a large cache of diamonds was found in South Africa causing the groups of British mine owners to band together to create De Beers Consolidated Mines. This created a monopoly that controlled all aspects of the diamond trade. Their new mission was to create the supply AND the demand for their products.
The goal was for couples getting engaged to consider a diamond ring part of the matrimony package. But how? How do you brand a product as both wildly needed but also precious and rare? Investigation had found the practical folks who had lived through the Great Depression and then WWII were far more interested in procuring useful items such as household appliances than in jewelry.
De Beers hired a fancy New York City ad firm to get the job done. The campaign was handed over to the “Women’s products” copywriter, Frances Gerety.
In a hurry, Gerety scribbled down the only tag line she could think of. She didn’t love it and her cohorts weren’t that impressed, but no one could think of anything better.
The slogan: “A Diamond Is Forever”
Yep, one of the most enduring slogans ever came about because, well…why not.
De Beers began papering ads everywhere and spreading the idea that a diamond not only proved the man’s love, but the amount of his love. A bigger diamond was not only proof of adoration but also showcase the success of the husband-to-be.
At the same time, De Beers began loaning jewelry to celebrities to wear to noteworthy events, such as the Academy Awards, further cementing the idea that diamonds were a sign of success and elegance.
Today, over 75% of American couples, and an increasing portion of the world, consider a diamond ring to be an indispensable part of starting their life together.