“Aren’t gemstones just a cheaper alternative to diamonds?”
- Nothing could be further from the truth.
Ever heard the phrase “a diamond is forever”? It was part of a widespread marketing campaign in the 1940s to promote diamond engagement rings at a time when diamonds weren’t nearly as popular. The company behind the push was De Beers, which controlled the global supply of rough diamonds and has had a questionable reputation ever since.
The thing is that the ad slogan ‘A Diamond Is Forever’ cleverly implies that diamonds will last forever. Like the marriage that follows the magical duet of proposal and diamond engagement ring. That they cannot break or get damaged. That they are somehow very rare. The reality is that diamonds aren’t forever if not properly looked after, they aren’t truly rare, and young women around the world are starting to realize they’re not as sacred as they once thought they were.
Diamonds in fact have atomic weak points - an inherent structural weakness - and can crack when hitting a hard surface at the right angle. So, no casually leaving your diamond ring on the edge of your bathtub when you have a stone bathroom floor for instance…
Moreover, diamonds up to 3 or 4 carats of average quality (and the majority of diamond jewelry consists of average quality diamonds) are not rare at all. There are more than enough diamonds in global stock to satisfy demand, but companies like De Beers control prices, keep them artificially high and create demand by hoarding stones off the market.
Contrast this with colored gemstones. Real special stones like green tsavorites, sapphires, spinels and tourmalines are objectively more rare in the earth than diamonds, and because of a fragmented industry, are limited to centuries-old, small family businesses who mine them. This means they don’t have powerful institutions supporting them nor can they afford the marketing tools the diamond industry has always had.
Also keep in mind that color stones are rare, but 'fine quality' colored gemstones (which have fantastic brilliance, luster, hardness, toughness and come in bigger sizes) are even rarer. Exceptional gemstones like spinels can sell for more than $10,000 per carat… and can be found in historic crown jewels of emperors and royalty across the world.
Another thing to be aware of is that virtually all gemstones, including diamonds, can be treated today - except for a few colored gemstones which basically become uglier when treated. Some of these treatments are fully acceptable in the market as long as you aware of the treatment and are willing to accept and pay for it.
The diamond marketing machine has done such a good job however, that people seem to forget their common sense when buying diamonds and fall for stones like ‘black diamonds’ or ‘champagne colored’ diamonds for crazy prices and without asking any questions. Not knowing that black diamonds are often heavily treated and literally worthless and that ‘champagne colored’ is a nice word for brownish diamonds which are much lower in value than the good white or colorless diamond.
A new threat to today’s diamond industry is the rise of synthetic diamonds, meaning man-made diamonds. Synthetic diamonds are extremely hard to spot without expensive lab testing, also for the diamond dealers themselves, and make it even harder for the average buyer to know what they’re really paying for.
I am not saying that colored gemstones cannot have treatments (because they can) or don’t appear in synthetic form (because some do) but I am saying that to treat diamonds as sacred and to buy the marketing story surrounding diamonds without doing any research on your part - no matter how small - is ludicrous.
There’s a reason why colored gemstones are making a huge comeback in the US and Europe. Women today are more informed, individualistic, and care a great deal about how their goods are sourced. When compared to colorless diamonds, colored gemstones are:
- Endlessly diverse in color array
- More individualistic (and daring)
- More authentic
- Equal or higher in quality for a fairer price
Women often ask me why gemstones are better than diamonds and my answer is simply this - high quality gemstones are the new and real diamonds. They’re the stones that will give you the quality, value, brilliance, rarity and feeling of indulgent luxury you’re looking for.