Romance Industry Backlash

As a parent of a teenager, I was able to observe the Valentine’s Day gift giving traditions of a small subset of teenagers. From what I saw, it was far more one-sided than when I was younger: the girls were gifted (rather lavishly), and some of the guys didn’t even get a card. I would have thought that things would be trending the other way, but maybe my sample is too limited.

The video is from College Humor’s site, and it’s a pretty clear, non-political explanation of why diamonds are a rip off. One of the claims in the video is that there’s no resale market for diamonds, but I thought you could still get a reasonable price for used diamond jewelry. Does anyone know whether buying a diamond is like driving a new car off the lot?

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206 replies
  1. 1
    c u n d gulag says:

    I got a few cards – but never got roses. ;’-(
    Not even from my sister, who sent me most of those cards. :”””’-(

    And Red Buttons never got an Oscar… :-(

    Excuse me – I have to go and kill myself………………………………………………………….
    GAK!

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    From what I saw, it was far more one-sided than when I was younger: the girls were gifted (rather lavishly), and some of the guys didn’t even get a card.

    More evidence of the feminization of our culture.

  3. 3
    Dead Ernest (Thought Wrangler) says:

    No idea, except pretty sure there’s no ‘New Diamond’ smell.

  4. 4
    Dave says:

    Unless you are buying investment grade diamonds it is even worse than buying a new car.

  5. 5
    Gindy51 says:

    Resale diamonds. It all depends on the rarity of the stone, cut, clarity, carat, and color. All of my preowned diamonds were dirt cheap. You can pick up really cheap ones from ladies or gentlemen trying to offload that engagement ring that is no longer needed or wanted.
    That said, if you have a superior pink, yellow, or blue diamond it can be worth a lot more than a white diamond. The nicer the stone, the more you get for it. Same as a resale car, the better shape it is in the more it goes for.
    Of course, if no one wants to buy the car or stone it is worth zip.
    FYI, never buy retail jewelry, ever.
    Here’s another, similar take on the subject:
    http://blog.priceonomics.com/p.....e-bullshit

  6. 6
    Tyro says:

    Does anyone know whether buying a diamond is like driving a new car off the lot?

    If that were true, then everyone would buy diamonds on the secondary market and at jewelry auctions.

    The idea of diamonds and things like expensive watches having no resale value seems like it could be true, but it never seems to work out that way in practice.

    My guess would be that prices tend to track either inflation or income growth– not an especially good investment, but not like investing in Beanie Babies, either. It could be that some breaking of the diamond cartel could upend the market, but the value of diamonds isn’t some invention of DeBeers– diamonds have been considered precious stones for a while.

    Granted, don’t pay retail prices, but that is true about everything.

  7. 7
    Tokyokie says:

    @Dave: I always make the spousal unit chocolate-covered strawberries for Valentine’s. Seems to work for both of us.

    And yeah, the diamond engagement ring “tradition” is pretty much a scam that’s not recognized much outside the U.S. that was promulgated by the staunchest backers of South Africa’s apartheid regime. Years ago, when a couple of my friends got married, she got a lovely emerald ring that is a lot more stunning that the diamond they would have been able to afford back then would have been.

  8. 8
    Lee says:

    Yes buying a diamond is like driving a new car off the lot.

    I had a buddy for his engagement ring browsed pawn shops until he found a diamond he liked.

    Bought the diamond (very cheaply) then had it mounted on a new custom setting. IIRC the cost was about 1/2 of what he normally would have paid.

    I was friends with another couple that were getting married right out of college. They decided to buy a fairly substantial CZ instead.

    I’ve got 2 girls and I hope when they get engaged they either go with a fake or used diamond or even a non-diamond engagement right.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    SuperHrefna says:

    Diamonds really don’t have much resale value. They are actually one of the more common gemstones, if you want to buy a gem that maintains its value try one of the sapphire family ( rubies are included here). They are much rarer, and get a higher price on the resale market. And so pretty and sparkly!

  11. 11
    Cermet says:

    So-called man-made diamonds are so close to appearing natural that the De Beer’s have given up trying to create new more expensive tests to tell them apart; now, they just laser inscribe a serial number in their ‘so-called’ natural diamonds (I say so-called because no one knows if they too are making these things. Its a fact that the De Beers have been making artificial diamonds long ago. So, who knows? Especially for the larger diamonds … .)
    That is now close to “natural’ gems these “man made” gems can be made. Lets be real – a man-made diamond only differs in age, not atomic structure/material/crystal/ impurities etc. A so-called man made diamond costs a tiny fraction of a so-called natural diamond so, be realistic – only someone stupid buys a so-called real diamond: don’t support the De Beer’s they are thief’s.

  12. 12
    Walker says:

    I gave my wife my great grandmother’s engagement ring. Far more meaningful than buying one.

  13. 13
    tominwv says:

    @Lee: Like all rackets, think casinos, the business plan is to get you to buy retail and sell wholesale. Buying used, pawn or estate sale is wise but bearer bonds or other negotiable securities are better.

  14. 14
    BD of MN says:

    Since I’ve only been engaged and married one time, my experience is somewhat limited, but don’t other people just buy a wedding band that wraps around the engagement ring? That’s what we did, so our, uh, initial diamond investment has a longer term depreciation…

  15. 15
  16. 16
    cat says:

    @Tyro:

    diamonds have been considered precious stones for a while

    Which is why Diamonds are still mined so inefficiently by mining interests worth billions of dollars? Sorry, but no.

    The lack of a secondary market also says nothing about a commodities resale value either. You have to have buyers and sellers that sync up in demand and supply and then someone has to make the market that supports itself.

    Also, too, Pawn Shops.

  17. 17
    SuperHrefna says:

    This 1982 article from The Atlantic is the classic debunking of the idea diamonds have a high resale value. It’s a scam! http://www.theatlantic.com/mag....._page=true

  18. 18
    Davis X. Machina says:

    You might be able to support local providers, like we try to do with food and such.

    My wife’s Maine tourmaline — pale green — has gotten tons of comments over the years. Came out of a hole in the ground 17 miles away.

  19. 19
    dmsilev says:

    I use diamonds professionally, so I’d love it if the cost of moderate-sized gem-quality stones dropped by a factor of two or so. It’d be one less strain on our budget (diamonds for us are a consumable; after being used for a while, the chance of breakage is nearly certain).

  20. 20
    gussie says:

    “the girls were gifted (rather lavishly), and some of the guys didn’t even get a card”

    They’re teenagers. The girls control access to the most important resource in the guys’ lives.

  21. 21
  22. 22

    I used to use engagement rings in my business classes as an example of marketing at its purest and most manipulative – it’s a purely manufactured need that combines with an extreme amount of emotional manipulation and social pressure. (“If you don’t get her a nice ring it shows you’re an economic loser who doesn’t really care, and she AND HER MOTHER will know it.)

    Of course, that wasn’t enough for the corps (and they’re nasty corps – deBeers, etc.) – so they invented a “right hand ring” for women to buy for themselves under the guise of false feminism. Here’s an ad, complette with a cylon looking model:

    http://www.penduluminaction.co.....-we-cycle/

  23. 23
    aimai says:

    @gussie: Right and still, culturally, giving the valentine’s gift is the power position for boys, its a weaker position for girls and not clearly beneficial to boys. Hunting and capturing romantic prey is still culturally valued for boys while it is depreciated for girls just like being sexually active and agressive is a high valued act for boys while it is quite dangerous, socially, for girls.

  24. 24
    Comrade Mary says:

    My ex-husband should thank me for adamantly refusing to take a diamond engagement ring because I saved him a few more non-refundable bucks.

    It wasn’t just the money, and it wasn’t just that I would only, maybe, accept a Canadian diamond. As the daughter of a jeweller, I can state with some confidence that gold and diamonds are really, really boring. Give me a lovely coloured stone of some sort instead.

    The only Diamond Rings I endorse.

    Better yet, put this on.

  25. 25
    gussie says:

    @aimai: I’m not sure I understand. You mean that giving an expensive Valentine’s gift is more powerful, culturally, than receiving an expensive Valentine’s gift? That boys are culturally supported for the act of spending resources to gain sexual access in a way that girls are not?

  26. 26
    geg6 says:

    It’s not just the rings that are a ripoff. Have you seen what a wedding costs these days? And even taking into account inflation, it’s insane. My John’s daughter is getting married in August and she has done a lot of cost cutting by doing things herself and by using her mom’s farm as the venue. They are even building their own tables for the reception because they found that the expense of renting what they wanted was more than they would spend on making them and that they could then rent them out to others who want the same (yes, the mom has storage space on the farm). But this wedding is still going to cost $10K+. And that’s with less than 100 invited guests. And for what?

    I’ve never married and don’t own any diamonds except a promise ring with a diamond chip from my junior high boyfriend. I like sapphires and my John has gotten me a couple. He also got me an onyx ring I really love. But the jewelry means next to nothing next to the love, companionship and friendship he gives me. I don’t need any of the rest of it, but he enjoys the gifting so I’m happy to wear the rings.

  27. 27
    Ruckus says:

    Does anyone know whether buying a diamond is like driving a new car off the lot?

    My personal experience is…. no.
    It is far, far worse in depreciation. At best you might be able to get 10% of retail in a resale situation. Generally, if you find yourself in the situation that you end up with a diamond ring, buy a baseball bat, find a lake or the ocean and enjoy batting practice. You will work out the stress of finding yourself in that position, you won’t be out much more money than the hassle of selling it and the damn thing will be gone and out of your mind so you can move on and give life another shot.

  28. 28
    Botsplainer says:

    @geg6:

    Thankfully, Greek Orthodox tradition doesn’t require a parish-wide extravaganza, so when our oldest daughter marries, we can tailor it to their closest friends with a modest (but fun) reception afterward. Probably about 30-40 people, tops.

  29. 29
    Jibeaux says:

    The stuff you should know guys (recommended podcast) did a diamonds episode you can find online. It really sounded like a total scam, with supply tightly controlled by De Beers to inflate price, when there really is a lot more supply than most people think there is.

  30. 30
    Ruckus says:

    @dmsilev:
    I second this. I’ve used diamonds in my work for decades. Not all gemstone sized but the price has to be maintained across the board or the entire thing falls apart, which would be such a shame.

  31. 31
    Felonius Monk says:

    Does anyone know whether buying a diamond is like driving a new car off the lot?

    For many, it’s more like driving a new car off of a cliff.

  32. 32
    tybee says:

    many years ago, i ran a jewelry store for about a decade.
    driving a new car off the lot has a positive financial impact compared to buying a diamond.
    debeers could pave your city’s driveways with the stones they have stashed.

    it is an excellent deal for the jewelry store, the wholesale diamond buyers (another ripoff) and, of course, debeers.

    personally, i like emeralds. :)

  33. 33
    Corner Stone says:

    I’ve only ever bought one, and it was an excellent diamond. I was very pleased with the purchase. Have no idea what she got for it when she sold it back to the guy I bought it from, and I honestly don’t care.

  34. 34
    Doc Sportello says:

    @SuperHrefna: A fantastic article!

  35. 35
    Seanly says:

    My wife hates diamonds. I gave her a Claddagh ring with a heart-shaped garnet (my birthstone). My brother who’s always crowing about that creepy Suze Orman dropped a huge amount on eBay for a ring.

  36. 36
    WereBear says:

    I got a gorgeous amethyst as my engagement ring for a fraction of the cost of a diamond, which I refused, enlightening Mr WereBear along the way.

    Colored stones are much prettier… even though they are rarer. Take that, free market!

  37. 37
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gussie:

    You mean that giving an expensive Valentine’s gift is more powerful, culturally, than receiving an expensive Valentine’s gift? That boys are culturally supported for the act of spending resources to gain sexual access in a way that girls are not?

    I think aimai is talking about the role of gender in Valentine’s gifts. If a boy gives an expensive gift to a girl, he’s showing that he’s powerful and has disposable income to burn. If a girl gives an expensive gift to a boy, she’s desperate and needy and doing everything she can to cling to the relationship.

    And let’s not even get into the gender difference between a boy spending money for sexual access to a girl (The Way Things Ought to Be) and a girl spending money for sexual access to a boy (WHORE!).

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, ring-wise, when my grandmother passed away and all of her children got together to divvy up her jewelry, they drew lots and my dad was able to get her wedding set. The wedding band was too delicate to be resized for me, but we used her diamond-and-platinum engagement ring as mine.

    Before that, I had a silver claddagh ring with a green cubic zirconia that I really loved.

  39. 39
    StringOnAStick says:

    Well, damn. I just inherited a bunch of lose diamonds and I was just starting to think about how I should go about trying to sell them; now I get the impression they aren’t worth anything at all. I’m not even sure what would be my best venue for trying to sell them, and I was hoping I could get some hints here.

    The story behind them is a bit sad, so I don’t think I could have them set into anything I would wear without feeling the sad from them, plus I’m not a big jewelry person, I prefer plain-ish stuff and colored stones. A few came from 2 platinum rings (I guess I can sell them for the metal value) and the rest came from various sources. As I was going through my husband’s late mom’s jewelry, I found all these, plus a note from the jeweler who was going to create something from them that they had planned, but she entered hospice and died before that could happen. That was when my husband was 17. From what I’ve heard from so many, she was a wonderful person; I wish I could have met her.

    My plan was to sell all this stuff and use the funds for a plain wedding band since I’ve never had one.

  40. 40
    AdamK says:

    @SuperHrefna: Sapphires! Hard, durable, colorful, gorgeous. Diamonds make great industrial grit.

  41. 41
    Comrade Mary says:

    @WereBear: /high fives WereBear!

  42. 42
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    OT: Did anyone bring themselves to watch Marsha Blackburn debate Bill Nye on climate change? I looked up MB’s bio because I wanted to see if she had any background at all in science, a BS at least. She actually majored in home economics. I figured there was a fifty/fifty chance she was an attorney, but her official House bio says she was a “small business woman”, but neither her own nor wiki bios say what kind of business it was.

  43. 43
    aimai says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah. Basically. That long atlantic piece is very worth reading in this regard. I just read the whole thing out loud to Mr. Aimai. One of the insights of the DeBeers group when they began researching gifting behavior in order to increase diamond sales is that the gift giver (male) and the gift receiver (female) (in the case of engagement rings) have a pretty culturally pre-determined relationship. Its quite important to the gifting moment that the gift be both large and also a “surprise.” Why a surprise? Because if the woman’s formal consent is asked and received for the gift she would feel obligated to refuse it as “too much” or “too expensive.” Extravagance and surprise are two ways that the man is able to express his status and her status to him.

    There’s basically an entire anthropology of gift giving and power embedded in the Atlantic article on diamonds and an enormous history of the gender imbalance in gifting and valentine’s behavior. It can’t be reduced to a single blog comment. My point in my original comment is that gendered relationships around gifting and sex are not equivalent–men and women lose and gain status through gifting and sex differently.

  44. 44
    Keith G says:

    @Baud: Actually, I was thinking it is yet another example of rampant female privilege.

  45. 45
    PurpleGirl says:

    I’ve bought myself various rings over the years — gold, sterling, cubic zirconia, topaz, amethyst, turquoise. I like colored stones. I like diamonds too — mined or manufactured. I like the sparkle. When I’ve bought any of these rings, it was because I like the stones and the rings. None are exactly investments. Especially the 10-point diamond stones. Bought because that was the size I wanted and the stones I wanted. Frankly the gold in the settings is probably worth more. (I read my first article about diamonds and DeBeers in the 1970s.)

    When my brother got engaged he gave his girlfriend a diamond which he had reset. The perfect, third of a carat blue-white had been my grandmother’s. His intended didn’t know a lot about diamonds and one evening she complained to me that something was wrong with diamond because when she held it in the light it had all these blue sparkles. I was aghast. I told her that the stone was supposed to do that. I asked her why she thought that was bad; she answered that her aunts had diamond wedding sets they’d bought when working the rings were cloudy and didn’t sparkle and they were so proud of the rings. I told her that the rings needed to be cleaned, they are not supposed to be cloudy.

  46. 46
    aimai says:

    @StringOnAStick:

    Why don’t you have the platinum melted into a single plain band by a local jeweler and have the diamonds set in them in a funky, interesting, way? Or go to a local jeweler, an artisan, and ask if they would charge you a labor and design fee and take the materials and use them creatively in a way you would like? Its true, apparently, from the article that there’s no real market for the diamonds because of cartel stranglehold but that doesn’t mean that you have to lose money on the deal.

  47. 47
    tybee says:

    @StringOnAStick:

    the stones and settings aren’t worthless, just not worth as much “used” as they would be at “retail”.

  48. 48
    gussie says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oh! Yeah, makes sense. There’s often an odd disconnect between power and ‘power.’ I sometimes think, when we’re talking about gender and power, that two elements get entwined: one is the actual power inherent in an act or position, and the second is the cultural assignation of power to that act or position. We’ spend an awful lot of cultural energy ascribing masculine power to acts and positions that aren’t necessarily powerful in other-than-culturally-encoded ways.

    That said, I think girls very rarely feel inclined to spend money for sexual (as opposed to other kinds of) access to boys. There’s a basic biological imbalance there.

  49. 49
    Keith G says:

    …giving the valentine’s gift is the power position for boys, its a weaker position for girls…

    A very unique interpretation fabricated by someone was never been a teenage boy – much less a teenage boy who felt the pressure to perform this task up to expectations.

  50. 50
    JPL says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Yes. It will take me a long time before my brain recovers from the garbage she was spewing. ABC This Week had an interesting panel, including a climate scientist. I know having a climate scientist is viewed as heresy for some networks but it led to a more interesting discussion. The economic costs of climate change is huge and Marsha kept talking about cost effectiveness of doing something would be to high. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Keith G:

    I kind of assume you’re snarking but, if you think about it, it’s a really creepy vestige of “traditional marriage” where a woman sells sexual access to her body in exchange for financial support. Generally speaking, the privileged person in that relationship is the buyer, not the seller.

  52. 52
    aimai says:

    @Keith G: Oh, no, its not at all. Just because teenage boys are competing both for access to desirable girls and with each other for positions as leader of the pack doesn’t mean that the girls are actually in a powerful position vis a vis the boys. You make an enormous but very common mistake of assuming that the feelings of any single individual in a cultural system trump the reality of the cultural system and its logic.

    So, for example, in our current valentine’s system the boy must ask the girl–if she propositions him she loses status with other girls and can be labled sexually aggressive/a slut by other boys. In the world of actual, real life, teenagers (and I have two right fucking now you dope) a woman’s reputation is something that can only decrease over time, while that of the boys can increase, through sexual success. There is a long standing western tradition of seeing female sexuality as being like a loaf of bread (see slice off of) or other food item which can spoil (the bloom is off the peach/the rose is blighted) over time and use. While male sexuality increases according to the number of seductions a man manages.

    I’m so very sorry that you felt oppressed by the ruthless boot of the female industrial complex to pay more for the company and attention of teenage girls than you felt you could manage. But you are a grown up now and you ought to know a bit more about power, politics, and gender than you did as a teenage boy.

  53. 53
    Ruckus says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    That must be a pretty small business. Not to list it anywhere. Or it had a whiff of something about it or was a total failure. Or both.

  54. 54
    Corner Stone says:

    From what I saw, it was far more one-sided than when I was younger: the girls were gifted (rather lavishly), and some of the guys didn’t even get a card. I would have thought that things would be trending the other way, but maybe my sample is too limited.

    I’m not sure why you thought it would be trending the other way?
    What gift that costs money would a teenage boy desire?

  55. 55
    Corner Stone says:

    Valentine’s Day…another special day brought to you by the shareholders of Hallmark.

  56. 56
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    And Googleads strikes again, offering up diamond rings (conflict free!) on the page.

    What a fucking racket.

    De Beers REAL problem with “blood diamonds” is that they threaten their monopoly.

  57. 57

    @Mnemosyne:
    While I agree with the general idea that there’s a major gender imbalance that’s revealing to how messed up our sexual dynamic is, I argue with your specifics. I would argue that the social interpretations are:

    Man Pays Money For Sex: This one varies a lot. Not insignificant amounts of the population read this as predatory or a declaration that the man can’t get sex without paying, but mostly it seems to be a non-issue because all is fair in love and war (IE, whatever it takes to get laid).

    Woman Receives Money For Sex: Whore, doing something dirty, both shameful and preyed on.

    Woman Gives Money For Sex: Unimaginable. Our culture believes this is so rare and makes so little sense that there’s no set reaction.

    Man Receives Money For Sex: From a woman? Boy, is he lucky. From a man? Feelings about homosexuality overwhelm feelings about prostitution.

    Would you say I’ve got the major cultural stereotypes right?

  58. 58
    JPL says:

    @Corner Stone: My favorite holiday is Mother’s Day. The sons come over and we cook out after a day of chores. haha

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Guilds in WoW have a message of the day feature, which transmits information to you as you log in to one of your toons in the guild. On Friday, the MOTD wished everyone a “Happy Hallmark Day”.

  60. 60
    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne: Some snark, of course.

    As a society, everything we do has some type of antecedent, creepy or not. We are part of the mammalian family tree known as primates – talk about creepy reproductive behavior. Fortunately in this society during the dying decades of the industrial age, more and more females have not found it necessary to engage in those older rituals Although, some have found such rituals, in a modified form, useful.

    when a 16 year old boy is looking down money for a stuffed teddy bear on Valentines Day, he is not paying a bride price, he is trying to avoid passive-aggressive hostility and/or mockery at lunch time.

  61. 61
    J R in WV says:

    Mrs J R didn’t get an engagement ring before we got married, and her wedding ring came from the PX on my ship, I was young and in the USN at the time.

    Eventually we were offered my Grandma’s wedding ring, which she has worn nearly every since – the nurses used surgical lube to get it off her hand when she was in the ICU.

    Some years ago we visited the East Coast Mineral Show in Springfield MA. There was an Indian (S Asia) guy selling loose cut stones. I spent an hour selecting a loose emerald. Later on back in WV we used a pair of diamond stud earrings on either side of the emerald, all set by a local jeweler in platinum.

    It’s a Colombian emerald, a few nearly invisible inclusions attest to its natural history. It’s very transparent and a deep green. She gets lots of comments on it. I spent time learning about using a loupe to inspect stones, and bought many inexpensive cut stones in the online minerals market, as opposed to the jewelery.

    As others remark, diamonds are a seller’s market, you can’t get nearly your money out of it.

    @StringOnAStick: I think you should reuse your diamonds for your own hands, earrings, or whatever. Find a guy who makes pretty things to use your stones in honor of your MIL. Or if you have kids, they can use them as their engagement rings. But don’t sell them, it isn’t worth it.

    But that’s just me. Ignore me if you want, your feelings here are what counts.

    I agree about sapphires, beautiful stones if you get them clear enough to sparkle. Lots of blue sapphires are too dark to really show up. They come in all colors, yellow, green, pink, orange, red (ruby) etc.

  62. 62
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @JPL: Odds Bodkins! A climate scientist on two Sunday shows, even if they were paired up with the usual run of boobs, knaves and nitwits. The sad thing is that’s something of a record for the last ten years.

  63. 63

    I don’t know if buying a diamond is like buying a new car off the lot but when I got married 12 years ago the whole “blood diamonds” thing was a big story in the news, so I insisted that we get a vintage diamond instead of a new one. We found one that had an inscription inside the band that was from the 1930s and it’s beautiful. I always liked that I had a ring which was pre-loved by another couple. I wondered who they were, but of course it just had initials.

  64. 64
    NotMax says:

    @Villago Delenda Est

    A favorite WoW Message of the Day from my guild:

       When life gives you lemons, list them on the Auction House.

  65. 65

    @J R in WV:

    Sounds like a gorgeous ring. Emeralds are soft stones, tell your SO to be careful with it.

  66. 66
    Anoniminous says:

    @Corner Stone:

    What gift that costs money would a teenage boy desire?

    A Lamorghini Huracan.

    (When I was a teenage I would have cheerfully sold my grandmother to buy one of these.)

  67. 67
    Botsplainer says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Valentine’s Day…another special day brought to you by the shareholders of Hallmark.

    Mighty bold talk. Try telling that to a significant other, video the response and put it up later for our amusement (after you are discharged from the hospital and gathered your incinerated belongings, of course).

  68. 68
    Keith G says:

    @aimai: Thankfully in high school I was a faggot and still am – again thankfully. The only oppression I experienced was purely voluntary and none of it at the hands of a female.

    Maybe I grew up in a rather peculiar pocket of the society during the mid to late 1970s, when local school girls felt a lot more important and empowered than their predecessors. There were a lot of strong young women. I didn’t get the sense that they were waiting by the phone in their bedroom for a phone call to go out and have a fun evening.

  69. 69
    NotMax says:

    @Anoniminous

    (When I was a teenage I would have cheerfully sold my grandmother to buy one of these.)

    That’s a rare shot of one in the wild, its natural habitat being up on a rack in the shop.

  70. 70

    I thought the entire idea of having Marsha Blackburn “debate” Bill Nye was stupid. Blackburn will raise beaucoups of money off of it, though.

    It’s since been scrubbed from her bio but before she was in congress Blackburn worked as a color analyst, and by that I mean of the “I think you’re a fall” variety. Not exactly the person I’d go to for information on science.

  71. 71

    I thought the entire idea of having Marsha Blackburn “debate” Bill Nye was stupid. Blackburn will raise beaucoups of money off of it, though.

    It’s since been scrubbed from her bio but before she was in congress Blackburn worked as a color analyst, and by that I mean of the “I think you’re a fall” variety. Not exactly the person I’d go to for information on science.

  72. 72
    Corner Stone says:

    @JPL: I dislike all of them. Can’t stand the creepy consumerism being crammed down my throat!
    Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day and Grandparents Day and Boss’s Day and Staff Appreciation Day and Whacking Day and Salma Hayek Day and on and on and on.

  73. 73
    ThresherK says:

    I had just gotten over the Christmas rush of jewelry ads, and the Valentine’s rush began.

    I’m putting on my Red Green “Don’t Worry–I’m Fixin’ Dinner” apron, and my wife will be getting chocolate-covered bacon toffee.

  74. 74
    Anoniminous says:

    @NotMax:

    Lucas: Prince of Darkness!!!

  75. 75
    Fred says:

    A friend who was a salesman in a jewelry store told me the markup on diamonds over wholesale is 500%. He said it’s the biggest rip off in retail.

  76. 76
    Lolis says:

    If I ever get married, I don’t want diamonds or any engagement ring, really. It is all pretty stupid.

  77. 77
    Another_Bob says:

    I’d always hoped that the feminist movement would free both sexes from the limitations of their traditional roles. No doubt it’s done so for women, although glass ceilings still exist in most fields, including business and politics, where women still lag in top leadership roles and in income. But for most women, they are now largely free agents, with their own careers and their own incomes, on an equal footing with most of the men in their lives and under no social or financial pressure to submit to any system of patriarchy. However, I’m not sure that the movement has freed men to a similar degree. Valentines Day is a trivial example, but it seems like men are still at least tacitly expected to live up to higher standards of income and social status as always if they want to earn respect. Sure, there’s no absolute requirement to do so, but if they don’t, the “loser” label will be applied without apologies for being outmoded and unfair. The same old standards of gallantry still apply in romantic matters too, where you’re always free to let your date pick up the tab, but good luck being seen as anything but a cheap-skate and a loser if you try.

  78. 78

    “It’s bacon, baby!” If you don’t live in the south you might have missed this ad, but just imagine if we ladies got bacon instead of diamonds …

    BTW that ad was filmed in Nashville on our Shelby Street Bridge. I think it’s hilarious.

  79. 79
    gussie says:

    @aimai:

    A boy ‘must’ ask the girl.
    If he fails to ask, he loses power.
    If she rejects him, he loses power.

    A girl ‘must not’ ask a boy.
    If she asks, she loses status with other girls (and, in my experience, gains status with boys, but your experience is different).
    If nobody asks her, she loses power.

    I’m deeply dubious about this: “… doesn’t mean that the girls are actually in a powerful position vis a vis the boys.” I suspect it’s a near-universal experience of straight teenaged boys that they feel powerless vis a vis teenaged girls. It’s not quite as a strong as ‘the only way for girls to breath is to ask boys for oxygen,’ but it’s stronger than ‘the only way for girls to hear their favorite music is to ask boys to play it for her.’

    In that analogy, there is a strong cultural prohibition against boys letting any girl listen to whatever she wants, whenever she wants to. But I’m not sure that, in that case, ostracizing boys for giving girls the thing they obsessively desire shows that _girls_ are more powerful. It seems to function more as a ‘failsafe’ to ensure the power imbalance.

    (Which isn’t, of course–embarrassed that I feel I have to say this–to deny that power imbalances in other facets of life pervasively, and cruelly, preference men.)

  80. 80

    I think one of the reasons that DeBeers was able to so successfully con everyone with the diamond thing is that women were far more financially disadvantaged 100 years ago. Couldn’t open checking accounts without their husbands, weren’t supposed to work in higher wage careers, etc. At least a diamond gave you something you could sell later if you needed to.

  81. 81
    redbeardjim says:

    @Corner Stone:

    What gift that costs money would a teenage boy desire?

    This time of year? A new game for that console they got for Christmas.

  82. 82
  83. 83
    Botsplainer says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Salma Hayek Day

    Um, I could see myself possibly enthused about such a holiday.

  84. 84
    Cassidy says:

    All men pay for sex. The prostitute is kind enough to give you the cost up front.

  85. 85
    muricafukyea says:

    Wannabe grownup muckyux still trying to understand the world around him.

    The WHOLE fuking wedding industry is a scam. Do I need to even explain this obvious sheit?

    Have you ever stopped to think of all the ways people get fleeced when they participate in the traditional storybook wedding industry?

    As far as the diamond thing….heaven forbid people take reasonable advice from people with half a brain that the money one puts towards the archaic diamond traditions could be put to far better use as part of a down payment for a house.

    Of course the diamond industry would rather that people continue the stupid tradition of buy something symbolic that they cannot afford and does absolutely nothing towards improving their lives.

  86. 86
    Liberty60 says:

    One of the reasons my wife is the most perfect woman on the planet, is that she sneers at diamond rings- in her words, “How many months of the family income, or rent, should someone carry around on a pretty stone on their finger??”

  87. 87
    Tokyokie says:

    @Corner Stone: Aren’t Whacking Day and Salma Hayek Day one the same?

  88. 88
    Corner Stone says:

    @Botsplainer: Actually, one of the good things about my ex was that she was sentimental about family traditions, not bought and paid for consumerist card days. She also didn’t like expensive jewelry or clothes, and much preferred what I would consider funky type bracelets, baubles, etc.
    And when I was a teenage boy I was more concerned about what I was going to do about eating, than worrying too much about the socio-economic power dynamic of wanton consumerism.

  89. 89
    beltane says:

    @StringOnAStick: I’ve also just been given some of my grandmother’s diamond jewelry and don’t know what to do with it. Being that I dislike owning things that I have to worry about getting lost or stolen, I’m inclined to sell. I’ve already managed to lose my gold wedding band, plus my parents’ gold wedding bands, so I really don’t feel comfortable having my grandmother’s jewelry in the house.

  90. 90
    Cermet says:

    @Cassidy: Trolling, I see …

  91. 91
    WereBear says:

    Sadly, while BJ folks are enlightened, a substantial chunk of the populace could hear the whole sordid story, smile brightly, and continue to demand a glittery rock on their finger.

    Because they have always wanted one.

  92. 92
    Cassidy says:

    @Cermet: Go ahead and add up the cost of dinner, movie, and drinks.

  93. 93
    Cermet says:

    Weddings are something that woman need to realize is a terrible tradition – one that says a female is property and an item, like an animal head to be mounedt on a wall, shown off; this is a tradition that my daughter will discover I will not permit. Woman are not a trophy to be looked at and if this is “Their big day”, are they losers in life – marriage should not be what every girl dreams of; that is just sick. Luckily, at least, this last part my daughter does not buy into. Getting family together is one thing – inviting friends, and even friends of friends for a marriage ceremony is stupid.

  94. 94
    ice weasel says:

    One of the most telling things about the value of “used” diamonds is this. Take most diamond and gold rings to any jeweler or pawn shop who advertises “cash for gold”. They weigh the gold, subtract the diamond weight and pay for the gold. The schtick to the customer is, it costs more in labor to take the diamonds out of the ring than they are worth. Mostly a lie since all the resellers I’ve encountered do remove the stones and recycle them, at full “retail” value but there it is anyway.

    One interesting thing about colored stones is how many of them are getting harder and harder to find. Not in general but good quality colored stones. It is not uncommon to see estate stones or “old stock” stones being hawked because, if it’s older, it’s better than what is available from recently mined stock. There are stones that are outrageously common as well. It’s just makes the whole issue more confusing.

    Like any business transaction, knowledge is power and value. If you know more, you’re more likely to come out on the good end of the deal.

  95. 95
    SuperHrefna says:

    @redbeardjim: yeah! The holiday-industrial complex really has to get on that one. Think of all the money there is to be made! If it were culturally acceptable for teenage girls to give big gifts to their boyfriends ( and I’m with Aimai in doubting that it is) you’d see ads targeted to girls encouraging them to get the latest installment of Assassin’s Creed (or a Steam gift card) to please their honeys on the Big Gifting Occasion.

  96. 96
    RuhRow_Gyro says:

    Gifts are to be felt, not consumed.

  97. 97
    WaterGirl says:

    @Tokyokie: I googled Salma Hayek photos since I don’t know who she is. First or second suggestion from google, before I could even type “photo”, was “Salma Hayek cup size”, which tells me all I need to know.

  98. 98
    Cermet says:

    @Cassidy: Not what I was getting at; rather, comparing dating to that other profession is a bit out there and indicates that all woman are prostitutes but require an unknown payment. Then again, I have and never believed dates required sex. Old fashion, I guess.

  99. 99
    Corner Stone says:

    @Tokyokie: Well, there is a lot of Barry White involved on both occasions, so…

  100. 100
    WaterGirl says:

    @beltane: Perhaps you have a sister, niece, daughter, etc who might be more sentimental than you and would treasure the jewelry? I would kill my sister if she sold my mom’s wedding ring.

  101. 101

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    To a certain extent, but you’re forgetting that in more conservative circles, men are still expected to essentially “buy” a wife, who will then stay home and take care of the kids. Having a stay-at-home wife with no job (and hence income) of her own is still a status symbol, and it still has the basic exchange of money for sex at the base of it. That was one of the objections to marriage that first wave feminists had — it basically required “respectable” women to be whores.

    @aimai:

    The way I got engaged was by sitting in G’s lap and announcing that I wasn’t getting any younger and our anniversary was going to fall on a Saturday the following year, so we should start planning our wedding. Luckily, he agreed. ;-)

  102. 102
    Cassidy says:

    @Cermet: Just commenting on social dynamics. People will date. Maybe sex will happen. It definitely won’t if the pursuer doesn’t fork over substantial cash in appreciation for said date. In the end, sex is used as currency and no matter how enlightened people around here claim to be, I’d call everyone a liar if they say they haven’t treated it as such.

  103. 103
    Belafon says:

    @WaterGirl: Selma Hayek was the muse Serendipity in Dogma. She also played Frida Kahlo in the movie Frida.

  104. 104
    Corner Stone says:

    @WaterGirl: Salma Hayek is a talented Mexican and American actress with a wide ranging portfolio to her resume. She’s an activist for raising awareness on violence against women and has previously testified before the US Senate on this and other matters related to immigration.
    She also happens to be stunningly beautiful, IMO, and has been for some number of years now as she approaches 50.

  105. 105
    WaterGirl says:

    @Belafon: Good actress, or just hot?

  106. 106
    NotMax says:

    Got a 2½ carat antique emerald cut diamond ring which was handed down to me.

    Ought to have that sucker appraised.

    One of these days.

  107. 107
    Ash Can says:

    @Cassidy:

    Maybe sex will happen. It definitely won’t if the pursuer doesn’t fork over substantial cash in appreciation for said date.

    You’re evidently hanging around the wrong women.

  108. 108
    Corner Stone says:

    @Anoniminous: Justin Bieber, is that you?

  109. 109
    Cassidy says:

    @Ash Can: Sure.

  110. 110
  111. 111
    Gene108 says:

    @Another_Bob:

    As long as only women can get pregnant and nurse infants there will always be an imbalance in the careers of men and women.

    I really do not know a way around this, because women in the years adults move up the career ladder are also in their peak child bearing years. Usually one partner takes a less aggressive career path to manage the family.

    Since having a kid does not directly put a man in the hospital, the man keeps working.

  112. 112
    WaterGirl says:

    @Corner Stone: Wow, well known, lots of awards. I need to get out more.

  113. 113
    Ash Can says:

    @StringOnAStick:
    @beltane:

    For selling your items, get quotes from multiple jewelers. Different jewelers will pay different prices. Avoid the “cash for gold” chains; they’re paying their overhead out of the gold they buy, whereas a jeweler will have the lights on and doors open anyway. And jewelers who use the scrap themselves and make their own jewelry items with it will tend to pay the highest prices, so keep an eye out for those. But by all means, have reputable, professional jewelers look at your items. As others have said above, some stones are more valuable than others depending on their characteristics — characteristics that a trained eye will be able to spot. So stick with the pros, and get multiple opinions. Good luck!

  114. 114
    Cassidy says:

    Yup no one here has ever traded sex for favor or rewarded someone with sex for doing a “good job”. Yup, so enlightened.

  115. 115
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Cassidy: much bait so ploy wow many ignore

  116. 116
    Corner Stone says:

    So, better name for a cover band?
    “Shot Rock” or “End 10”

  117. 117
    WaterGirl says:

    @Comrade Mary: Is that a haiku? :-)

  118. 118
    Cassidy says:

    @Comrade Mary: Nah, just enjoying making fun of those who talk about how commercial holidays are and how archaic weddings are, etc. I’m genuinely amused. Every guy in this place has forked over cash in an attempt to get laid by the person they were trying to have a relationship with and every chick here has put out at least once to get something from their SO.

  119. 119
    JPL says:

    @Cassidy: haha.. Well so much for pleasant conversation.

  120. 120
    Yatsuno says:

    @Comrade Mary: It had to happen. The first doge comment. I wonder if the creators of that meme knew that word actually has a meaning.

  121. 121
    Hungry Joe says:

    I inherited my grandmother’s diamond ring, which is now my wife’s. My wedding ring is steel, I think — we got it from a pushcart for $10. It’s not quite round anymore because it got hit hard by line drive in a softball game.

  122. 122
    Stella B. says:

    I didn’t want a diamond, possibly because the practice wife had had one. However, over the years Dr. Mr. Dr. Barbone has taken to gifting me with expensive and inappropriate purebred puppies. More fun than diamonds, but with the same drop off in value. Rescue would be fine with me.

  123. 123
    Hungry Joe says:

    It’s not just diamonds that are a recent corporate-driven phenomenon — big weddings are, too. Used to be that only royalty and the rich spent invited dozens, or even hundreds of people, then fed, liquored up, and entertained them all, for the simple reason that they were the only ones that could afford it. Ordinary people invited immediate family and a handful of friends, if even that many. It changed post-WWII, and Brides magazine (and movies) had a lot to do with it. A new wedding industry sprang up, and suddenly everybody HAD to have a big show. And go into debt to get it done. Madness.

  124. 124
    Tumbrel for Hire says:

    I’ll never forget going with a nervous buddy of mine to help him shop for rings in NYC. His budget was around 10K. We’re in a studio talking shop with a salesperson when a younger dude rolls in to pick up a custom ring. The whole place went over to him – we got flat out ignored mid-sentence. Young Dude had a certified check for the balance of the cost of his ring: $110,000.00. Who knows what the total cost was. Young Dude was up front that his mom had given him the money. Before he left, he put the ring in his backpack.

    After they were done fawning, the salesperson came back over, looked at my friend, and said, “It’s all about the bling.” Indeed.

    We left and got drunk. He wound up buying her a beautiful custom ring with a colored stone in the center for about 10% of his budget. She loves it.

  125. 125
    MaryRC says:

    @aimai: Well … that Atlantic article is 30 years old and the N.W. Ayers study even older and engagement and wedding culture has changed since then – as I can attest from a friend whose niece is getting married and who sends me horrified bulletins on the happy couple’s ever more egregious grabs for money. Did you know that asking the guests to pay for their dinner at the reception as well as a gift is a thing now?

    The surprise element has pretty much disappeared from the engagement ring purchase these days. Furthermore when the bride is involved in choosing the ring, it can be a more expensive purchase than when the groom chooses it alone (often because the bride will chip in to get the stone of her dreams). Whatever the cause, it’s working out to the retailers’ benefit.

  126. 126
    🎂 Martin says:

    Ms Martin does jewelry appraisal.

    Antiques and unique pieces hold their value reasonably well.

    A good diamond is resellable. The setting generally isn’t worth more than the value of the metal. Regarding the retained value of the diamond, it depends on how much you overpaid for it. If you go to the mall, you’re paying probably 4x-6x commodity price. If you go to a diamond dealer/discounter, it’s probably 2x. The insured price will the mall price.

    So if you go to dealer/discounter and get a good stone (VVS, D-E-F color) you’ll lose 50% of the stone price plus virtually all of the value of the setting the moment you walk out the door. If you go to the mall, you’ll lose 75%, and the likelihood of you choosing a high quality stone is lower at the mall. For lower quality stones, yeah, there’s almost no market for them – there’s more of them than deBeers can move, and the diamond dealers are usually taking those for free if they buy enough of the better stones.

    Tiffany is a little bit of an exception. If you buy Tiffany (seriously overpay) and hold onto the box, Tiffany will certify the piece at resale and the resale value will be much better than a comparable non-Tiffany piece of comparable quality (though the Tiffany piece will be more expensive at the outset, so it’s generally a wash, but it’s easier to find buyers).

    All that said, if you’re treating your engagement proposition as if it were a 401K, you’re doing it wrong. If a shiny bauble makes her happy, buy it. After all, the whole point of these things is to never resell it – to wear it for life. Similarly, kids are the worst financial investment you can make, but I highly recommend having them.

    My advice is to buy an antique piece (which is what I did – an art deco era wedding set, had the set taken apart into the engagement/wedding rings, had the stones in each piece re-set, got them sized, and after the wedding put the set back together again.) She got a much more unique piece of jewelry that gets more comments than some boring stone on a circle – particularly from people a generation older that may have inherited a piece like that from their parents or grandparents. And the savings went into the downpayment on our house – we could probably sell the piece for more than we paid + cost of maintenance on the basis of gold prices being so much higher than when we bought it. Finding the piece takes time, though. Her’s came from an auction house 300 miles away. A lot of hours went into finding it, which I think was more appreciated than if more dollars went into it. It also takes away a lot of the upsell pressure to put in a bigger/higher quality stone. Antique pieces come as is. You get what you get, and you could swap in a nice stone, but not really a bigger one. Keeps you grounded.

    But she got a piece that she likes better than a new ring, and we saved money. Best of both.

  127. 127
    🎂 Martin says:

    @MaryRC:

    Furthermore when the bride is involved in choosing the ring, it can be a more expensive purchase than when the groom chooses it alone (often because the bride will chip in to get the stone of her dreams).

    Actually, it’s a pretty good test of the relationship (as recounted by a friend of ours who runs his 4 generation old jewelry store). If the girl pushes for the bigger ring and the guy doesn’t feel that he can balance that against his budget, that’s a bad sign for the relationship. If she’s aiming for a smaller ring and he’s aiming for a larger ring, that can go either way. If they’re up-front on the compromise and on the same page, those tend to last.

    Guys are almost as inclined to overpay to look like the hero as girls are to over-ask. He thinks they usually come out with a slightly more expensive ring in the case where they’re on the same page because both of them trust the other to compromise on other things down the road, so they feel more comfortable putting more in on the ring.

    Jewelry store psychology…

  128. 128
    🎂 Martin says:

    @MaryRC:

    Furthermore when the bride is involved in choosing the ring, it can be a more expensive purchase than when the groom chooses it alone (often because the bride will chip in to get the stone of her dreams).

    Actually, it’s a pretty good test of the relationship (as recounted by a friend of ours who runs his 4 generation old jewelry store). If the girl pushes for the bigger ring and the guy doesn’t feel that he can balance that against his budget, that’s a bad sign for the relationship. If she’s aiming for a smaller ring and he’s aiming for a larger ring, that can go either way. If they’re up-front on the compromise and on the same page, those tend to last.

    Guys are almost as inclined to overpay to look like the hero as girls are to over-ask. He thinks they usually come out with a slightly more expensive ring in the case where they’re on the same page because both of them trust the other to compromise on other things down the road, so they feel more comfortable putting more in on the ring.

    Jewelry store psychology…

  129. 129
    fidelio says:

    @Southern Beale: Let me just note here that we’re talking about Marsha “I’m to busy to attend the funerals of military casualties from my district” Blackburn.

    Yep, she said that to a member of the press. Bless her heart.

  130. 130
    Another_Bob says:

    @Gene108: But even at that, it seems like most of my female coworkers (and I work in a tech field with a youngish workforce where many of the women are in their prime child-bearing years) are having their kids, taking their maternity leave, then resuming their work relatively seamlessly. It really does seem to be going OK for most of them. My company is very well balanced in numbers of men and women, with a lot of women in senior management roles. It’s just when you look at the very top, among the executives, COOs and CEOs that all of a sudden it seems to be all men.

  131. 131
    Steve from Antioch says:

    @ice weasel:

    This is true up to a point.

    If you buy a ruby from a mall store or Macy’s you are buying essentially a ruby matrix that has had its voids and occlusions filled by leaded glass and other things under intense heat and pressure. You can buy a 2 carat “ruby” on ebay for $20. It’s essentially not any different than one you for which could pay Macy’s $1,200. True it will come in a gold setting, but that will be worth only the weight of the gold – 50 or 100 bucks maybe.

    The composite rubies sold by Macy’s and other stores can be so fragile that they will develop spider web discoloration internally just from being exposed to dishwashing liquid.

  132. 132
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @🎂 Martin:

    Well, there’s the entire “two months salary” standard that the diamond swindlers push as the standard by which women are supposed to judge the engagement ring.

    It’s total fucking bullshit. The assholes who came up with that should all be hunted down and subjected to Auric Goldfinger’s laser between the legs thing that he did to James Bond.

    “Do you expect me to talk?”

    “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!”

  133. 133
    Emily68 says:

    @Lee:
    My husband and I got married in the hippie days. He gave me a bicycle instead of a ring. We peddled off together on our honeymoon. (Got married in Santa Barbara, honeymooned in Solvang. Had to push the bike partway up San Marcos Pass because I was in crummy shape.)

  134. 134
    Glidwrith says:

    I guess I really go against the traditions: we, together, picked out said ring. Ring was emphatically NOT a solitaire because why the hell would we blow money on something so useless? Instead the ring is a pretty leaf pattern with a dozen small diamonds embedded in the gold. Wedding? Kept it small because we had no interest in someone’s friends’ cousin showing up – photography was done by giving everyone a disposable camera so that all sorts of moments could be captured (and just about died laughing when the ceremony started and everyone was winding the cameras – reepa, reepa, reepa, reepa). Reception? Hate, hate, hate wedding dinners because the food is seldom warm or tasty anyway – we did finger food that everyone could grab as needed and walk around chatting with whomever they wanted. Going on 18 years now and damn what a ride it has been!

  135. 135
    Cassidy says:

    @JPL: Just think people should be honest. It’s perfectly okay to be nice and want sex.

  136. 136
    Bex says:

    @tybee: Late to the party, but if you’re still here do you know the resale value of emeralds these days (small but good quality)?

  137. 137
    Gene108 says:

    @Another_Bob:

    Time off due to kids is not just about 3 months off for maternity, I think it encompasses a broad range of activities that people looking to climb the corporate ladder must invest time into to do.

    For example, you need to travel to you MNC’s Panama office on a regular basis. Who gets to make the trip? Can you do it, with kids to look after?

    From my anecdotal experience, women with young kids defer taking up these opportunities because they have to (and often want to) have time for their kids, while the husbands are then freer to pursue such opportunities.

    I think this sort of trade-off puts more men in positions to be considered for C-Level positions.

  138. 138
    Cacti says:

    Well, gold jewelry can be resold for its meltdown value, but that’s always less than what it retails for.

  139. 139
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gene108: America has culturized all of us to think that work is the most valuable thing we can do/perform. And so if a person may not be available 24/7 for access or client service, they are seen as less than in the workplace.
    That damages their career, relationships and advancement as much or more than any actual time missed.

  140. 140
    Regnad Kcin says:

    @Ruckus: Went to my jeweler friend and had him melt it down, along w my band. Gave him the stone to sell on consignment and took all that melted white gold down to the ocean and threw as far as I could.

  141. 141
    MarkusR says:

    When I think of the piece of jewelry on my wife that I think she values the most, it is the simple $50 necklace I got here on our first visit to my home country. When I had to replace the chain, the chain actually cost more than the necklace originally had, and I do sincerely believe that is was the precious metal and construction work of the chain, rather than some totally arbitrary price. Anywhoo…even though the stone on her neck is nowhere near as costly as a diamond, it is many times more precious. She would be much more devastated by the losing the necklace than her wedding ring.

  142. 142
    catclub says:

    @Ruckus: But can’t you and dsmilev go for manufactured diamonds now?

  143. 143
    catclub says:

    @Glidwrith: “Going on 18 years now and damn what a ride it has been! ”

    That’s a long wedding reception.

  144. 144
    WaterGirl says:

    @catclub: It’s usually the wedding ceremonies that can seem like they last for years.

  145. 145
    catclub says:

    @NotMax: “Ought to have that sucker appraised.”

    Never. I hate Antiques Road show for just that reason. I plan on keeping said item anyway, so I really don’t want to know.

  146. 146
    Talentless Hack says:

    @Tyro: Of course, you could go to a pawn shop for an engagement ring, but it’ll be out of style, and you’ll never know whether you get a real diamond or some cheap-ass cubic zirconium POS because you’re not a jeweler. However, I would look at the ring itself. If it says 14K, the rock mounted on it is probably real, even if you have no clue whatsoever what you’re looking at in terms of the four Cs or five Cs or whatever.

  147. 147
    Talentless Hack says:

    @SuperHrefna: But while white is the color of purity (which you hope you can ascribe to your bride), red is the color of, uh, the opposite of that.

  148. 148
    Ruckus says:

    @catclub:
    A lot of it is mfg. And the price has come down some over the years. But the price is still artificially jacked up by BS. And unlike being batted or thrown into the sea, we actually wear them out. I am assuming we both use them for similar purposes. At one time I used to mfg specialty diamond tooling for the graphite and carbon fiber industries among other uses, some of those uses I still do today. One can buy diamond infused tooling at home centers for $10-30 today.

  149. 149
    StringOnAStick says:

    I want to thank everyone for their input. I still haven’t decided on what to do with my inherited collection of stones and 2 ruined platinum settings, but I like aimai’s idea about coming up with something artistic, and whoever made the comment about having a “pre-loved” estate ring certainly got my attention. Time to think a little harder….

  150. 150
    tybee says:

    @Bex:

    nope, too many decades since i was in the biz.

    what i now know about emeralds is that what i like in emeralds i cannot afford.

  151. 151
    Joel says:

    I always wondered why Kyocera never busted into the retail jewelry market. They could do a candid camera-style ad campaign where they show that appraisers have no fucking idea which gem is “natural” and which one is synthesized with a few well-placed flaws thrown in.

  152. 152
    tybee says:

    @NotMax:

    my favorite cut for a diamond.

    usually the better stones are used because flaws are easily seen in that cut.

  153. 153
    tybee says:

    @Cassidy:

    as was said previously, you’ve been “dating” the wrong type of woman.

  154. 154
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MaryRC:

    Did you know that asking the guests to pay for their dinner at the reception as well as a gift is a thing now?

    Oh, no, it’s not a new thing — I know Miss Manners was railing against such “innovations” 20 years ago. There have always been greedy bridal pairs and there always will be.

  155. 155
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MaryRC:

    Also, too, you can tell your friend that Miss Manners gives explicit permission to skip any weddings that are being run along those lines. Technically, no one is obligated to give a wedding gift no matter how much they eat or drink at the wedding.

  156. 156
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: Sure, sure, sure….this place has the “above it all” schtick down pat, but again, there isn’t a single one of you that hasn’t spent money in the genuine hopes of getting laid and/or fucked a SO in return for something.

  157. 157
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cassidy:

    There’s a difference between horsetrading (I’ll give you X if you give me Y) and purchasing a specific service.

    If you want to test this out, you can try putting $100 on your wife’s nightstand the next time you guys have sex and telling her it’s her payment. You’ll probably end up sleeping on the couch for the rest of the month, but at least then maybe you’ll understand that there is an actual difference between hoping to get sex after buying someone dinner and straight up giving them cash for sex.

  158. 158
    Joel says:

    I always thought a wedding was the opportunity to show off your largesse. Ritualized bragging for the families involved. Certainly has been the case for most of the weddings I’ve been to.

  159. 159
    tybee says:

    @Cassidy:

    you need to prove your bullshit instead of parading it around as fact.

    perhaps you’ve “paid for it” repeatedly in some bizarre fashion but that proves nothing about the rest of us.

  160. 160
    Cassidy says:

    @Mnemosyne: Is there any real difference? Whether it’s a $100 for an hour or several months in the hopes of getting a rock with a couple grand it’s still using sex as currency. It happens every day, “honey, would you like a shoulder rub?” or “maybe if I fuck him he’ll be in a better mood”, etc. Does that mean we’re prostitutes? Of course not, but we’re still trading sex for favors even if it’s from the person we love. Seriously, do you really believe you’re having a night out because you had a rough week? Or is G trying to get a couple drinks into you for some drunken sexytime later? The answer is both.

    @tybee: Yeah. Sure. Keep at it. Next time you got your face in your partner’s naughtybits, be honest about what you’re hoping to get later.

  161. 161
    another Holocene human says:

    @gussie: If a boy is rejected, he retaliate s.

    You see, we went to high school too. Save that mra weak shit for reddit.

  162. 162
    tybee says:

    @Cassidy:

    so you have no proof, just more bullshit.

    P.T. Barnum identified your ilk correctly.

  163. 163
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: Yup, next time you’re slurping away, think about what you’re hoping to get later….slurp, slurp, slurp, dinner would be nice…lol. Hypocrites are funny.

  164. 164
    tybee says:

    @Cassidy:

    suckers like you aren’t funny, just pitiful.

  165. 165
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cassidy:

    Again, I suggest you pay your wife in cash for her services the next time you two have sex and report the results back to us. After all, it’s all the same thing, so why not pay her cash instead of futzing around with backrubs and favors?

  166. 166
    tybee says:

    it does make one wonder what kind of twisted fake-love cassidy has experienced during its life.

    or perhaps cassidy is a “pure” capitalist, always looking for the profit in any relationship.

  167. 167
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: Slurp, slurp, gag….does your SO do extra chores if you swallow?

    @Mnemosyne: Oh stop. You know I’m right. You’re gonna sit here and claim you haven’t one time in your life put out hoping to get something in return? Lord knows I have. Fuck yeah I’ll go antiquing for a little head. Whether it’s hard cash or favors, sex is the currency of a relationship. Anyone who says different is a liar.

  168. 168
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: You must be a lot of fun. Makes me wonder what number in your SO’s head is worth it. I’m guessing, at a minimum, your SO has to drop at least a $100 on your sorry ass just to get a piece of it.

  169. 169
    Tyro says:

    @Ruckus: At best you might be able to get 10% of retail in a resale situation.

    If this were true, then everyone would buy their diamonds on the resale market at 90% off. If you want to price jewelry, look at what these pieces are getting at auctions.

  170. 170
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cassidy:

    You’re gonna sit here and claim you haven’t one time in your life put out hoping to get something in return?

    Not at all. What I’m saying is that there’s a difference between trading favors (I’ll do something I don’t enjoy now in the hope of getting the favor I want later) and paying cash money for sex. The first one is the reciprocal give-and-take of having an equal relationship with a partner; the second one is a demonstration of power between a dominant person and a non-dominant person.

    There’s a reason conservative Christian wives are told they have to put out every time their husband wants sex and it ain’t because they will be getting their own favors in return. They’re told to do it because it’s their j-o-b, just like it’s a hooker’s job to stand on a street corner. That’s a very different thing than agreeing to go antiquing with your wife in the hope of getting nookie later.

  171. 171
    Cassidy says:

    @Mnemosyne: The only difference is the nature of the relationship. If I pay a hooker, we’re trading money for sex. If I take a girl out for a nice dinner and drinks, etc., I’m hoping I’ve met the price threshold to get lucky later. If I’m doing something I don’t like with my wife in the hopes of getting some later, I’m still using sex as currency: my pleasantness and participation is being bought with sex. The only difference is the nature of the relationship.

    I’m not saying that people’s relationships aren’t loving and respectful and all that shit. I’m just pointing out the lying jackasses who think they are so enlightened and above it all to think that there sexual relationship doesn’t involve a little pay for play. I don’t care how much of a feminist you are, you’ve given sex in exchange for something from your SO, and no matter how much you think your man is enlightened, he’s paying attention to just how much liquor he’s adding to those drinks. These are not bad things. They don’t imply some sort of lack of respect or whatever. Anyone trying to suggest that these actions haven’t taken place in their sexual relationships is full of shit.

  172. 172
    Ruckus says:

    @Tyro:
    No one has ever over paid in an auction? Or gotten not exactly what they thought they were getting?
    OK, not my experience at all, YMMV.
    Just for the record I was talking about reselling to a jeweler or a pawn shop. I don’t have a lot of experience but I do have some in this area.

  173. 173
    MaryRC says:

    @Mnemosyne: @Mnemosyne: I know, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. In this case my friend has to weigh going, and appearing to accept this behavior as the new norm, or boycotting her sister’s child’s wedding. She’ll go, and also attend the rehearsal dinner where guests are also expected to pay for their meal. However she did draw the line at giving cash or a store card as a gift to the bride for the “no boxed gifts please” shower — her gift was indeed in a (nicely-wrapped) gift box.

    I have followed Miss Manners’ King Canute-like attempts to stave off the growing tide of wedding-couple greed over the years, but honestly — telling guests that they’ll be billed for the cost of their meal at the reception is a new one for me and my friend. It’s actually on the invitation.

  174. 174
    Ruckus says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    You aren’t going to make any progress here. Some just want to hold onto their views about women or gays or poc or…. no matter what. They aren’t capable of nuance.

  175. 175
    Cassidy says:

    @Ruckus: I just don’t believe in lying to myself. I also don’t walk around with an “above it all” stick shoved up my ass.

  176. 176
    Ruckus says:

    @Cassidy:
    You aren’t lying to yourself. More the shame.
    What everyone has been trying to tell you is that neither are most of the rest of us. That stick up your ass really is just up your ass.

  177. 177
    revrick says:

    Walk into any department store and the two departments you hit first are cosmetics and jewelry. These are the stores profit centers. Which means they have the greatest mark-up. Which means even when they’re being sold at 50% off you’re still getting hosed.

  178. 178
    Cassidy says:

    @Ruckus: That made no sense. It’s like you didn’t read the thread.

  179. 179
    Ruckus says:

    @Cassidy:
    Someone has a reading comprehension problem. It isn’t me.

  180. 180
    jake the snake says:

    It all goes back to the days when the only property of value a woman could claim as her own was her personal jewelry.
    Everything of value belonged to her father or husband.

  181. 181
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cassidy:

    So, for a third time, since everything you do for your wife (like cooking dinner, picking up your own dirty underwear, etc.) is merely currency towards getting sex from her, I suggest you stop cooking dinner and just give her $100 in cash every time you fuck her. Since currency is currency is currency and it doesn’t matter what form it comes in, she’ll have no problem with that once you explain it to her, right?

    Put your own philosophy to the test or STFU.

  182. 182
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MaryRC:

    Her gift to the couple is paying for her own meal. Period. If they try to whine about not getting a gift as well (and they will), she simply tells them that she didn’t have any money left after paying for the meals. What are they going to do, bill her for the “missing” gift?

    And I certainly wouldn’t have given anything for the shower, either.

  183. 183
    Cassidy says:

    @Ruckus: Sure. Whatever makes you feel better.

    @Mnemosyne: You’re too hung up on the act of handing over money. You’re missing the point. Next time your man takes you out for a nice, romantics evening just remember that he probably doesn’t give a shit about the movie.

  184. 184
    tybee says:

    @Cassidy:

    you never get any as no one would stoop so low and you can’t pay the price to get something to hold it’s nose that long.

  185. 185
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: I’m sure you’re lovely, but I don’t spend that kind of money on people I just meet. I don’t do high maintenance.

  186. 186
    tybee says:

    @Cassidy:

    i don’t do trash like you. your issue is that you just can’t find anything that will sink to your level. not surprising but still amusing.

  187. 187
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: I don’t know, you seem pretty fixated. I might be willing to buy what you’re selling. Turn around, let me get a look…;)

  188. 188
    tybee says:

    you’re not worth the penny it would take to buy you.

    you’ve taken an old saying and turned it into your belief system.

    you should return to the brothel from whence you sprang.

  189. 189
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: But you keep coming back. You’re a sub aren’t you?

  190. 190
    tybee says:

    you claim that in your family, all sex is paid for. that makes one of your parents a whore.

    congrats.

  191. 191
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: Mmmmmm, shake it sweet thing. Keep giving me that sugar. Walk on over here slow like.

  192. 192
    tybee says:

    @Cassidy:

    so how much did your daddy/brother pay your mommy/sister for that encounter that produced scum like you?

    enquiring minds and all that.

  193. 193
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: You just can’t get enough. Lol. That’s okay, give me about 10 mins and I’ll have some more for you.

  194. 194
    tybee says:

    i’ll bet you were conceived on a “dozen for one” sale at your home/brothel because no one had change for a penny.

  195. 195
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: Oh yeah. God I live it when you talk dirty. Now bend over and slap your ass..,.yeah, real slow…

  196. 196
    tybee says:

    i’ll slap an ass, step over here and get what you deserve.

    now about the price your daddy/brother paid your mommy/sister, did mommy/sister do the entire village or was that part for free?

    and i’ll bet you’re paying your other sister/mommy to keep the family business producing more just like you.

  197. 197
    tybee says:

    if your ass itches, it means you’re pregnant. again.

  198. 198
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: Mmm mmmm, feisty….this is a face down, ass up moment if I’ve ever seen one!

  199. 199
    tybee says:

    and i’m sure you’ve stared at the floor many a time as much as your ass “itches” from the attention from your daddy/brother.

  200. 200
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: all this flirting. Have you thought about putting up a craigslist ad? I mean, I would love to give you what you obviously need, but irl I’m happily married and you just ain’t the one for me.

  201. 201
    tybee says:

    so you married your hooker. how amusing.

    or are you the whore in that marriage?

  202. 202
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: You sound jealous.

  203. 203
    tybee says:

    no, just amused at your fucked up life.

  204. 204
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: as much fun as this has been, I gotta take care of stuff. Here’s a $20 for your time. I’ll just place it here on the dresser. ;)

  205. 205
    tybee says:

    by your own admission: either you or your spouse is a whore.

    one of your parents was also a whore.

    two of your four grand parents were whores.

    four of your great great grandparents were whores.

    eight of your great great great grandparents were whores

    and so on into history until the first of your ilk climbed out the primordial brothel.

    most people would retch at such a wretched history but you appear to be so proud.

    but you do have an excuse: you’re from jacksonville and i’m sure some of your lineage involves drunken sailors from the naval base.

    (but, in your favor, i did laugh when you verbally nailed mandalay in the “dunn” thread).

  206. 206
    Cassidy says:

    @tybee: Seriously, I had fun. You’re awright.

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