Tauriq Moosa has a righteously indignant article on diamonds and engagement rings. Diamonds are rocks with industrial utility, but we’ve been fed this horrible line of propaganda that they’re essential geegaws for lining the bower to attract a mate; it’s an incredibly dumb myth, leading to much waste and obscene profits to a monopoly. Meanwhile, the whole engagement/wedding ring ritual is absurd: jewelers have unilaterally declared that the rule of thumb is that you should spend three month’s income on an engagement ring…and people actually fall for it. Why three months? I don’t know. Maybe because the jewelers thought it was the maximum they’d be able to bilk the rubes out of.
When my wife-to-be and I decided to get married, we went to the local jeweler and spent about $100 on plain gold bands, simple and adequately symbolic. We would not have spent more, because we were already committed to a freakin’ partnership, and sinking more into a pointless status symbol would have been a reckless waste of our mutual funds. I wasn’t buying her, I wasn’t trying to impress her into thinking I was rich (we knew exactly what we were each worth financially, and that didn’t matter), and tying up our limited capital in a useless rock was not part of the agenda.
Also, Moosa says he’s giving a man’s perspective — but it’s also a sensible woman’s perspective. My wife was even more insistent on keeping our little tokens appropriately priced than I was.