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Old 12-29-2017, 11:31 AM
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 1
How did diamonds come to symbolize a wedding engagement? (Current Random Straight Dope Column)

Current Random Straight Dope Column

Dear Straight Dope:
...How did the diamond ring come to symbolize the event of engagement?
SDStaff Songbird replies:

A kiss on the hand might be quite continental, as lyricist Jule Styne once wrote, but diamonds are still considered a girlís best friend. Ö
SDStaff Songbird of 1999, did no one ever correct the "lyricist Jule Styne" attribution? Leo Robin wrote the words; Styne wrote the music. It's a common mistake to muddle lyricist/composer credits, but we expect more with our Straight Dope.

Introducing innocent SD readers to the wit of Anita Loos almost makes the lapse forgivable.

A good introduction to the lyricist:
Old 12-29-2017, 01:55 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: The Nekkid Pueblo
Posts: 20,101
Welcome to the SDMB, Progress Hornsby. It's helpful to link to the column you're discussing, especially since clicking on a random column doesn't bring up the same column for everyone. I've taken the liberty of doing so for you.

How did diamonds come to symbolize a wedding engagement?

I hope this is the correct one.
Old 12-30-2017, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 2
Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?

I thought this - from 1982 - was pretty much the definitive answer:
Old 12-30-2017, 03:44 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 29,889
Originally Posted by bencurthoys View Post
I thought this - from 1982 - was pretty much the definitive answer:
Not any more. Rachelle Bergstein's Brilliance and Fire: A Biography of Diamonds is far superior.
Old 01-01-2018, 05:52 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 59
What bencurthoys and Exapno Mapcase Said!

Thanks (and Happy New Year!) to bencurthoys and Exapno Mapcase.

I well understand that SD's mission is to inform and enlighten, such that responses avoid going into the "weeds" of sociopolitical criticism and exposťs. That's what the comments threads are for, I suppose.

But the abominable "blood diamonds" market, at least in part, is a consequence of reprehensible international diamond-cartel marketing hype.

At least in the US, the diamond-sellers inculcated the notion that any decent, respectable spouse-to-be is required to spend a small fortune, and even go into debt, in order to fufill the "traditional" imperative of putting a diamond ring on their mate's finger.

It's become permanently de rigueur-- virtually compulsory, thanks to generations of relentless commercial opinion-shaping.

Again: I don't expect polemics or diatribes in SD answers, but the posted answer could've been cribbed from a De Beers brochure. Even an allusion to the darker, artificial side of this hijacked and manipulated tradition would've been welcome.

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