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Are Diamonds Rare?

To know if diamonds are rare, we must trek into territory that you may not have considered: marketing. Some ad campaigns are so pervasive in our society that we don’t even think of them as ad campaigns. Brands with marketing geniuses have ingrained their slogans into our lives whether we wanted them to or not — from Nike’s “Just Do It” to the dairy industry’s “Got milk?”, these types of campaigns move beyond ads and become statements. When it comes to jewelry, we’re sure you’ve heard these: “Diamonds are forever” and “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”. And beyond branding slogans, there’s something even bigger at play — seemingly everyone (in the US) believes engagement rings must include a big, shiny translucent gemstone. In this blog, we’ll explore how marketing has shaped our worldview on diamonds — and get to the bottom of whether they’re rare.

Before there were diamonds...

De Beers Jewelers has been the world’s leading diamond company since the late 19th century. If you’ve seen an Earth-formed diamond, they probably mined it. While De Beers has a lot more competition in the diamond industry these days, the company succeeded in single-handedly changing the way people think about diamonds — specifically how we, as consumers, connect them with marital bliss and personal success. De Beers is also behind the popular notion that diamonds are particularly rare, which to be fair, at one time was true, but is not so much the case anymore.

Engagement rings have historically been exchanged between the betrothed, but diamonds haven’t always been a part of the equation. A simple gold band usually sufficed, but even sapphires or rubies were more common than diamonds. Diamonds WERE rare and usually reserved as a luxury item for the super-rich.

All of that changed in the 1870s when a huge pipeline of diamonds was discovered in South Africa. Suddenly, there was a mega supply of a product that didn’t really have a market, especially for the everyday consumer. De Beers bought up most of the industry and began planning what would become one of the most famous marketing successes of all time.

Diamond Marketing 101

After De Beers bought up the surge of newly-discovered diamonds, one thing worked in their marketing favor: the general public still considered diamonds to be rare, even though the pipeline discovery in Africa made them widely available. Their creative brains went to work thinking of something that would entice consumers to get their hands on something so “rare”, and they began thinking of something else that is naturally rare, beautiful, strong, and long-lasting — love.

They hired the New York-based ad agency N.W. Ayer to help draw this parallel between diamonds and love, and soon after copywriter Frances Gerety pitched a solution that would affect the diamond market for the next 100 years. The brilliant slogan “Diamonds are forever” was born. The thinking behind this is that a diamond will last forever, just like your love for your partner. The meaning is simple; the message short and sweet. If you love someone, buy them a diamond, and the bigger the better. It worked like a charm. By the end of the 1930s, 10% of American women had diamond engagement rings. By the time the year 2000 rolled around, the number rose to 80%.

What about now — are diamonds actually rare? up 95% of the total value of diamonds.

When you think about what goes into the making of a diamond, you’ll find the process is not terribly complicated and doesn’t require any specifically rare elements — just heat and pressure. Furthermore, diamonds are made of carbon, which is the fourth most abundant substance on the planet. All the diamonds on Earth have formed over a billion years ago, and while production is predicted to slow down over time as we collect them, we’ll still have all the diamonds we’ve already pulled from beneath the Earth — which is a lot.

The one exception here is colored diamonds, which appear less frequently in nature and make them a truly rare substance. Therefore, a colored diamond will cost substantially more than a white diamond. But, now that we can create colored diamonds in a lab just as easily, anyone who can afford a white diamond can also afford a pink, blue, orange or purple diamond. At New World Diamonds, more colors are being experimented with every day to see what new and exciting shades we can come up with, as well as to satisfy our growing curiosity and the public demand. (If you want to see what colored diamonds we already have, browse here.)

If diamonds aren’t rare, why are they priced so high?

We’ve established why most modern Americans wouldn’t dream of getting engaged without a big shiny rock, and something else that the illusion of rarity created was the high price tag on diamonds.

Because of this perceived rarity, sellers of diamonds were able to markup their prices anywhere from 100 to 200 percent, to not create suspicion among consumers who might think they’re getting a gem of lesser quality. Diamond suppliers were also worried about buyers of increased means (aka rich people) being offended by a drop-in price, causing them to lose interest in diamonds because of their decreased intrinsic value.

So, distributors kept their prices at pre-diamond boom levels. Since diamonds were considered a mysterious, almost magical substance that grew in the ground and took millions of years to create, the average consumer didn’t question the price and was willing to pay top dollar. Indeed, it is often the high price of the diamond that makes it so desirable — until you have the insider knowledge that you’ve been fed a lot of misinformation about diamonds’ rarity and worth via marketing campaigns!

Lab-grown diamonds are the solution

Feeling duped about diamonds? Don’t let all this history get you down. Diamonds are still incredibly beautiful and serve as powerful symbols of celebrations of your moments. And, lab-grown diamonds never had the same rocky start as mined diamonds did (pun intended).  Lab-grown diamonds were born out of scientific curiosity and have never been sold as a means of exploitation. The cost of creation and the beauty alone set the prices of our diamonds, and at New World Diamonds, you’ll find the most affordable diamonds in the industry, period (compare prices here).

When you buy one of our lab-grown diamonds, you’re funding the miraculous process that forms a beautiful, special stone. Just because diamonds aren’t rare doesn’t mean each one isn’t entirely unique, because we make them especially for you.

If you have any questions about our diamonds, or diamonds in general, don’t hesitate to call us at 877-653-2250 or email us at We’d love to show you just how special our diamonds can be.

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