I tend very much to dislike traditions and practices that everyone is expected to participate in and that people tend to uncritically obey without questions, despite blatant and obvious problems with them. I’ll be the first to admit something about these types of practices and the lemmingish way people follow and perpetuate them drives me crazy. This is of course how I feel about engagement rings.
Part of my dislike of the expectation that a man seeking to marry woman the expectation that I have to spend one month’s income on a piece of carbon that has little to know practical use and a has little to no resale value. The strikes me as highly sexist against men. Women are in no way expected to make extravagant purchases for men despite the fact that in this day in age, that there are increasingly more couples in which the woman makes the bigger paycheck.
Of course, much is made about how unfair it is toward men to demand men sink their money in what can only be considered a luxury item, but it should be noted that it is bad for women too. A woman demanding a man buy an expensive engagement ring, is most likely telling her man to throw away a significant amount of what will most likely become their shared income on an item that value is largely symbolic. This is money that could be used on countless other things, that in my view would have far more utility: cars, computers, vacations, food ect.
With the items you at least get the functional value of them, a ring is purely decorative, and as I mentioned before it is incredibly unlikely you will get your money back on it, if the marriage sours or the couple becomes desperate for quick cash. As one redditer notes:
“Custom jeweler here.
Tell you what…you go buy a decent 1 carat diamond. Then immediately go down the street to the next jeweler and try to resell it for what you spent on it. He or she will offer you 25-50% of what you paid for it if you’re lucky, assuming they will even deign to buy it.
Why? Because he or she can buy one just like it straight from the manufacturer for 25-50% of what you paid for it, and have assurance of quality, so why should they buy from you? They’re only going to buy from you if they can get a better deal than their supplier gives them. It’s all about profit margin.
This is because most brick and mortar stores double, triple, quadruple, or even quintuple the prices they pay for goods. And trust me…you’re lucky if you find one that only doubles their wholesale prices. Your best bet if you want a nice piece of jewelry is to find a nice little mom and pop shop where they have someone in-house who can make what you want. Jewelry artists who don’t work out of a storefront are also a good choice.
Bottom line, diamonds are not an investment, they’re a luxury item. Don’t expect to ever get back what you paid on one. As long as you accept that, and you still want one, go for it. Just don’t have any misconception that it will maintain or grow in value.”
Of course this is made worse by the fact that De Beers, a single cartel has a monopoly on nearly all the world’s diamond production and distribution. They have used their power, clout and some information asymmetries to see to it that, this relatively common form of carbon is sold with a huge mark up, and that resell value is kept extremely low.
This cartel also largely responsible for the expectation that men buy engagement rings. Diamond rings were not the norm prior to the late 1930’s when De Beers launched a hugely successful ad campaign telling Americans that only a diamond will do for couples getting engaged. Apparently the sheepish and gullible American public thoughtlessly obeyed this command, and now we are stuck with this idiotic and expensive ritual… all to make the people who run the diamond cartel richer.
It is so pervasive, that women now demand rings from male suitors, and they often reject synthetic diamonds or rings handed down from someone else in the family. Why would this be the case, if not to make sure the man not only spends, but waste a great deal of money on a ring they can show off to their friends. This of course is not to mention that the fact that the practice is linked to outmoded views on sexuality. To quote Wikipedia:
“marriage was the only financially sound option for most women, and if she was no longer a virgin, her prospects for a suitable future marriage were greatly decreased. The diamond engagement ring thus became a source of financial security for the woman.”
This is no longer the case women, a substantial and growing number of women are able to support themselves and the female sex is becoming increasingly less dependent on men financially. Furthermore, the social stigma of not being a virgin is no longer a problem except in some of the most backward thinking parts of society. Not that this is relevant being a ring can no longer be a means of financial security, with it’s lack of resale value.
Fortunately, for me, I have found a woman who shares my views on this subject, and I know that the numbers of such women are clearly growing as information about what a complete scam engagement rings are is spreading. With this in mind, always question norms and traditions that make no sens and of course always be vocal.