The answer to that question depends on two things, really. The first one, who are you buying them for? The second one, what are they planning to do with them? For example, if you’re going to buy a ring for the love of your life and they’ll wear it proudly for the rest of their days, then the answer is an unqualified ‘yes’. If, instead, you’re buying it for yourself as an investment (admittedly, a strange thing to do for Valentine’s Day, but who am I to judge) then reconsider.
The reason for this division comes down to one thing. This is that what we believe about diamonds and what is actually true about them aren’t quite the same thing. We have this image of them being a stable, worthwhile investment that is sure to make you money in the long run. A lot of people think diamonds are a great place to park your wealth.
The truth about diamonds
It turns out they’re not. Like we discussed previously, the moment you buy a diamond in a high street store, they lose between half and three-quarters of their value. That’s because the markup between wholesale (as in when you buy in bulk) and retail (as in when you buy a ring in the store) is big. For shops like Cartier and Tiffanies, for examples, it can run between 100 to 200 percent. And as you can’t sell those diamonds back to them at the same price (or, for that matter, at all), that money is gone.
Now, to be fair, that markup isn’t that bad everywhere. For example, online the markup can get as low as 18%. Still, that does mean that from when you buy a 500 dollar diamond to when you give it, about 100 dollars of value has disappeared (Don’t tell them that).
That’s not the half of it. A financial hit like that wouldn’t be that bad if the diamond’s value would then rise over the decades to come. In that way you’d recuperate your loss and then some. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen either. In fact, the price increase of standard store-bought diamonds rarely beat inflation. So yeah, unless you can get your hands on the rare stones (e.g. unusual colors or massive ones) it’s not a good plan to buy them.
Terrible financial investment, great emotional one
The thing is, society at large doesn’t know that. They’ve bought the diamond story hook, line and sinker. They believe they’re scarce (they’re not), they’ve been part of love and marriage for centuries (not even 100 years) and that they’re a rock solid investment (nope).
Heck, even if they did know the truth, it might still not make any difference. You see, there is another force at play – and that is an emotional one. Through some clever marketing about a century ago, the diamond suppliers have created a bond between love and diamonds. This one is so strong that you might as well call it an equals sign.
As a result, when somebody presents their lover with a diamond, they won’t think, ‘oh my they gave me a rock-solid investment that’s signaled love for centuries and is scarce!’. Admittedly that is for the best, as that’s an unwieldy thought. Instead, they’d think, ‘Oh my! A diamond? (S)he must really love me!’
And therein lies the power of these stones.
But that makes me feel dirty
Sure, I get it. Now you know that this feeling of love isn’t something innate to diamonds but rather something imposed upon them, you feel they’re sordid.
Don’t feel that way. After all, you didn’t create that feeling. You didn’t play our heart strings to make a profit. Others bear the blame for that. And besides, if we’re going to object to things that have been created by modern-day marketing to make a profit, then Valentine’s Day as a whole will have to go!
The past doesn’t matter. What matters is that today diamonds say ‘I love you’ and ‘you are special to me’. Therefore, if that is what you want to say to somebody on this Valentine’s Day, then go for it! Buy a diamond! Just make sure that if you do you (or your lover) don’t plan to sell it somewhere down the line.
Bought diamonds for the wrong reason? Then check out our reviews of diamond buyers who’ll gladly take them off your hands and sell them on to somebody who instead wants to signal their love and devotion.