Advertising, Fashion, Holidays and Seasons, Lawsuit of the Day, Sexism, Shopping, Shopping For Others

Diamond Makers Sue Over Who’s Best At Parting Fools From Their Money

Of all the ways to say ‘I love you’ this is the most boring.

I hate diamonds. Besides oil, no natural resource is responsible for as much suffering. Wars are fought over diamonds, totalitarian regimes are propped up with diamond money. It all happens because of anachronistic cultural traditions that tell us women should be dressed and adorned like dolls.

Today, western women buy into the convention — because, well, that’s what happens when an entire people is hobbled by generations of unequal treatment — but do not forget that giving engagement diamonds to women is a holdover from a time when a man would pay to buy off the bride from her father. A holdover that has been amped up by the modern diamond industry. It’d be like if every time a white employer hired a black person, they got to strip him down and check his teeth… you know, for old times’ sake. “Here’s your price, now cook me something and be quick about it so I don’t have to beat you” — is what every woman should hear when she receives a shiny bauble for her ring finger.

Of course, my wife wears a diamond engagement ring, because I’m not a freaking hero. In this ridiculous world, even if the woman says “I’m not really into that diamond stuff,” you can’t really be sure and you don’t want to insult her or her family by proposing with a shared New York Times subscription (that made more sense back in the 90s, trust me). Luckily, my wife and I have been able to resist the nearly constant overtures from the diamond industry ever since. Even though every season the television tries to tell us that I just don’t love her very much unless I’m committing 25 percent of my yearly income in a constant shower of stones.

To call the diamond industry “evil” is no overstatement, as reflected in a new lawsuit….

Their insipid games are most noticeable during the holidays. The one that is particularly odious this season is the one where the would-be-stepfather buys a diamond for the daughter of the mom he’s banging. The little girl says “it’s just like yours, Mommy,” and aside from the REALLY CREEPY PEDOPHILIA/INCEST ANGLE, there’s the maddening implication that guy is going to be a good stepdad because he’s buying rocks for the whole family.

If we had a planned economy, the entire diamond industry would be shut down and couples would cement their union by purchasing U.S. Treasury bills. But Communism lost, and so the best we can hope for is that the industry annihilates itself through illegal attempts to dupe consumers and foreign governments. A new lawsuit from one evil group of jewelers against another keeps that hope alive.

The company behind Kay Jewelers, Sterling Jewelers Inc., is suing Zale Corporation over Zale’s claim that its “Fire diamond” is more brilliant than any other. To put that in dude terms: Yes, you could have bought the cheaper diamond and the more expensive box, and nobody would have been the wiser.

For the particulars of the federal case, we go to the Dallas Morning News (gavel bang: ABA Journal):

The lawsuit was filed last month in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio by Sterling Jewelers, the Ohio-based U.S. division of Signet Jewelers Ltd. which is based in Bermuda with operations in the U.K…

“Zale’s claim that it has proven its Fire diamonds to be more brilliant than any other cut of diamonds in the world can be true only if its Fire diamonds have been tested against every other cut diamond in the world,” Sterling said in is complaint. “Zale’s admission that it has tested only a “select” subset of round-cut diamonds renders this claim false.”

The response from the Zales chain is surprisingly self-aware:

Zale said Sterling’s request would force it “to shut down a multi-million dollar marketing campaign” in the middle of the busiest shopping period of the year.

See, nobody cares about the facts of the freaking cut of the diamond. The point here is the marketing. What can they sell to desperate women and their gullible boyfriends? Because getting married isn’t really about love and a lifelong commitment, it’s about making your friends jealous. For Christmas!

It’s not like these Kay people are fighting a good fight, mind you. I’m sure they timed this suit so that it would be bubbling up in the news in time for the holiday season. They don’t care about damages, not really. This is the “damage” they want. They want some odious woman saying, “I hear Becky got a Fire diamond,” while some equally dreadful lady says, “I read on the internet that the Fire diamond was a load of crap” — all so that some woman who is just as horrendous as the other two but doesn’t think she is goes home and drops hints that her boyfriend shouldn’t waste money on this “Fire” diamond, all the while knowing that her uncreative lump of a boyfriend will just run to the nearest non-“Fire” outlet and buy some other diamond because he can’t think of anything else to get her for Christmas.

That’s what this industry is about. It doesn’t profit from our love, it profits from our fears. I don’t much care about the industry’s internecine squabble over whose fear-mongering ad campaign is most legitimate. But I do hope that any story that questions the veracity of any of these diamond claims encourages one more couple to swear off the diamond industry and find some other material expression for their love.

Jared and Kay Jewelers’ parent company hauls Irving-based Zale into court over diamond ads [Dallas Morning News]
Judge to Consider Suit Challenging ‘Most Brilliant Diamonds’ Claim by Zales Jewelry Chain [ABA Journal]

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