Dear Ed,

December 18, 2001

Twenty years ago I was strongly influenced by your article in the Atlantic magazine. The article described the myth about diamonds. What appalled me the most (at that time I was a 24-year-old newly married woman sans an engagement ring) is the careful campaign of romanticizing the engagement ring.

I have been trying to influence my small circle of friends about the engagement rings, to no avail. Why is it so difficult in your opinion to convince the intelligent thinking women that diamonds are not what they are portrayed to be? How aware do you think is the general public about the concept of diamonds and engagement rings?

Thanks in advance,

Irene Peltzer


Diamonds have been marketed not as gems but symbols. To the extent the campaign has succeeded. They symbolize the worth attached to a person by a fiance or significant other. They are, in short, tokens, which may not be redeemable for their presumed value. I suggest that a better symbol would be a T-bill, which could be folded up, or worn like a luggage tag.



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