Diamonds have been a prized commodity in the jewelry industry for centuries and were incorporated into religious artifacts in India as far back as 300 B.C. Available in a wide range of colors and cuts, these versatile gemstones can put the sparkle into almost any setting or piece of jewelry. Their meteoric rise in popularity, however, began with the discovery of large scale deposits of these precious stones in South Africa and a remarkable advertising campaign by De Beers that made diamonds synonymous with romance across America. Diamonds are one of the most popular choices for Sugar Land wedding bands and are sought after both for their intrinsic beauty and for the emotional message associated with these glittering gems.
Once Reserved Only for the Wealthy
A rare commodity throughout most of recorded history, diamonds were also difficult to cut into manageable sizes. Large stones were often included in royal collections or as part of religious icons. Softer gemstones, including rubies, sapphires and amethyst, were easier to shape and cut to fit settings. As gem-cutting technology advanced over the years, diamonds became more popular; however, the rarity of high-quality gems continued to make them the province only of the ultra-rich.
An Unexpected Discovery
When diamonds were found in South Africa in 1867, the resulting influx of gem-quality stones into the global marketplace led to fears that prices would plummet. Mining companies in the area battled it out for control of the most productive areas and ultimately came together under the leadership of Cecil John Rhodes, an English businessman who began his career in South Africa as a supplier of water pumps to diamond miners in that country. Rhodes was the founder of De Beers, which was named after one of the mines he acquired during his rise to the top of the South African diamond markets.
Selling Diamonds to America
With the increased supply of diamonds available for purchase in international markets, De Beers needed a solid hook to attract American buyers for these precious gems. Most U.S. consumers continued to view diamonds as a luxury only for the very rich, limiting the market for De Beers products. Additionally, the near-monopoly enjoyed by De Beers in the international marketplace restricted its ability to advertise its products directly. Instead, it was forced to work with jewelers in the U.S. to brand its diamonds without directly mentioning the De Beers name. One method by which diamonds were popularized during this period amounted to an early form of product placement. Socialites and actresses were often photographed wearing diamonds, and gossip columns made frequent mention of the diamond jewelry adorning various luminaries of the entertainment scene.
Diamonds Are Forever
Perhaps the most important component of the De Beers marketing strategy, however, was the “Diamonds Are Forever” slogan originated by copywriter Frances Gerety at the N.W. Ayer & Son advertising firm. These three words linked the ideas of commitment and eternal love with diamonds, creating an emotional context for these gemstones that had been sadly lacking in previous advertising efforts. Diamond engagement rings soon became the accepted standard for couples across the United States.
The U.S. Diamond Market Today
Industry experts estimate that 75 percent of all engagement rings sold in the U.S. contain diamonds. While De Beers no longer holds a monopoly on these sparkling gems, the legacy created by this firm and its advertising associates continues to ensure that diamonds are the preferred choice for couples when selecting Sugar Land engagement rings and wedding bands. With $37 billion in U.S sales for the 2013 calendar year, diamonds still attract eager buyers throughout the American marketplace.
Your Sugar Land jewelry store is an ideal place to learn more about diamonds and to select a sparkling work of wearable art for someone you love. These gemstone experts can help you find the perfect physical representation of your enduring commitment and affection at a price you can afford.