I love sparkly baubles. Don’t you? I especially love gaudy rings with big gems in them. This is likely an extension of my enjoyment of nail art. I’m not too interested in other types of jewelry, but I do love flashy rings. And, as we learned in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”. They shine like nothing else, are hard like few other gems, and society tells us they are THE standard for showing your love for another person. But today I want to make a case for buying cubic zirconia (CZ) instead of real diamonds. First, let’s review the pros for buying diamonds. I have quite a few small diamonds myself and it’s good to remember why I (or my husband) bought them. Before we start the comparisons I should note that I do NOT work in the diamond or jewelry industry. I am simply a thoughtful consumer.
- Status symbol – Diamonds are the standard, especially for bridal jewelry. Once you become engaged, people you’ve never spoken to before will come out of the woodwork asking to see your ring. When that time comes, you’ll probably want to be able to say it’s a real diamond. Especially if this is your first E-ring (more on that later).
- ohhh, shiny! – Diamonds have a refractive index of 2.42, 0.044 dispersion, and luster index of 17.2. Diamonds are eye-catching, especially the high quality diamonds.
- They’re tough – Diamonds rate a 10 on the Mohs hardness scale. That means you don’t have to worry about them chipping as you would some other gemstones.
Maybe there are others for you, but those are my top three. A fourth could be that they are an investment, but I believe the only way they would truly be an investment is if you plan to pass on your diamonds as heirlooms in order to save your heirs some money. Try selling your used diamond on eBay or a pawn shop and see if you get more for it than you originally paid. More than likely you’ll get significantly less! In tough economic times, people are likely going to chose buying food and other necessities over diamonds, so you wouldn’t even be able to sell your diamonds in the event of a recession or depression.
Now let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should not buy a diamond:
- Ethical concerns – Historically, the mining industry is hard on its laborers – poverty due to little to no wages, long hours, and child labor is rampant. Mining conditions are dangerous and environmental degredation occurs because of the mining. My list here only scratches the surface.
- The price of a diamond is artificially inflated – and has been since the 1880’s thanks to the De Beers diamond cartel. As a person who tries to be frugal, this one really burns me up… But it’s really just simple economics of supply and demand. Spending two month’s salary on a diamond, knowing it’s not worth that, sounds like a poor financial decision.
- Diamonds are just a mineral – When you look at the science and logic of it, and forget the sentiment, diamonds are simply an allotrope of carbon in which the atoms have formed in a diamond cubic arrangement. While this is what gives them their sparkle, they’re really just a transparent crystal just like other gemstones such as quartz. All those science terms take away from the romance of it, no?
- Reality check – how many people do you know that can spot a high quality diamond versus a cheaper, or even an imitation, diamond?
- No proof needed – Do you really need your fiance to spend a ton of money to prove how much he loves you? Or, conversely, if you’re insisting that your future hubby buy you a real diamond (especially now that you’ve read this far into my post!) you might need to reconsider the value of your love. I’d rather my husband show his devotion in other ways. Actually, buying a diamond is working in the wrong direction since I value financial savviness in my man.
When thinking through my jewelry purchases I have to ask myself if I have things I would rather spend my hard-earned money on. And the answer is a resounding “yes” – house payment, car, home improvements, lots and lots of gel nail polish…