The Fascinating History of Diamond Marketing

Posted on November 02, 2018 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments

Have you ever wondered how diamonds became the creme de la creme of gemstones? Yes, diamonds are the hardest mineral (with a Mohs score of 10), and they do have the unique ability to reflect light in the colors of the rainbow when properly cut (a quality known as fire). But it’s hard to deny that other stones are just as captivating, especially when we factor in different tastes. Plus, diamonds aren’t even particularly rare (in fact, they’re one of the most common gems on earth).

The Fascinating History of Diamond Marketing | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Blog

Yet, somehow, contemporary culture has maintained its adoration of the diamond. Since most of us can remember, diamonds have been the symbol of status, wealth, glamour, and even romantic love. While there are plenty of reasons to value diamonds, our generations-old fixation with the stone may actually be partially rooted in some clever marketing.

It all began in the 19th century. Thanks to what writer Edward Jay Epstein refers to as “the diamond invention,” marketers in the diamond industry were able to perpetuate the idea that diamonds are rare and incredibly valuable. This campaign, however, was born precisely because recently discovered large diamond mines threatened the profitable balance of supply and demand. Until 1870, diamonds were primarily found in a few riverbeds and in the jungles of Brazil, but a major discovery of diamonds near the Orange River in South Africa rendered diamonds more common—and therefore potentially less able to fetch a steep price. 

In response, diamond investors combined their interests in De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. in 1888. Although De Beers went by several names in different countries, its mission was singular—control the diamond industry and foster the illusion that diamonds were still rare and exclusive. To this end, the monopoly relied on a marketing scheme connecting diamonds to sentiment. In 1947, diamonds were cemented as a symbol of eternal love and high status through the famous “A Diamond Is Forever” ad campaign

The Fascinating History of Diamond Marketing | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Blog

The heavy marketing behind diamonds doesn’t have to ruin the stone for anyone, however. Regardless of diamonds’ ubiquity, they can still feel incredibly special once they’re in a perfect setting—and especially if they’re a gift from a loved one. And let’s not forget the allure of vintage diamonds, which usually have an interesting backstory. Also, there’s plenty of opportunities to be a positive force in the diamond industry. By supporting artisanal diamond miners and working with your jeweler to ensure your diamonds are conflict-free, you’ll be contributing to a market that promotes fair treatment of workers. Learn more here.

Canadian diamonds are conflict-free.

Are you a diamond lover? What’s your favorite diamond piece?

More about diamonds: 

Trend Watch: What Is a Raw Diamond?

What Is a Lab-Grown Diamond?

Diamonds vs. White Sapphires

Photos: Wikimedia Commons, De Beers, Barbara Michelle Jacobs

Posted in diamond rings, engagement, engagement ring, engagement rings

September Birthstone: The Rich History of the Sapphire

Posted on September 01, 2016 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments

Cross-culturally, sapphires have been associated with insight, truth, heavenly grace, and even clairvoyance.

Continue Reading →

Posted in birthstones, breastplate, crystals, eco friendly engagement ring, engagement ring, gem lore, sapphires

Tips for Redesigning an Engagement Ring

Posted on June 18, 2016 by Mary Hood | 1 Comment

 Reimaged engagement ring.

Our personal tastes change as we evolve and encounter new experiences. The thing you once loved in your twenties may no longer hold the same allure for you in your thirties or forties. A style that inspired you in your forties may lose its sparkle for you in your fifties, and so on.

This is a natural process that should be celebrated, not feared or regretted. As the poet Mary Oliver writes:

“We do one thing or another; we stay the same, or we change. Congratulations, if you have changed.”

Of course, your evolved tastes can pose a bit of a conundrum when a cherished piece or an investment piece (like an engagement ring or wedding band) no longer suit your current aesthetic. We may be faced with the choice of leaving it unaltered (but never gaining back the desire to wear it regularly) or altering it in some way with the hope of creating a new version of the piece that you’d enjoy wearing more frequently. 

Needless to say, the choice to alter such a piece carries its own risks, so it’s important to take time to think through your idea and work with a jeweler you trust. You can even ask to see photos of similar projects the jeweler has worked on and inquire about their experience altering a pre-made or vintage piece. 

Getting Started

There are several ways to begin designing alteration(s) to your jewelry. First, list the things you’d like to change—what no longer appeals to you about the piece? If it’s a ring, is the band too thick? What about the texture of the metal? Its color? Next, is there anything you’d like to see added? Would you like to include a stone setting for a new diamond? Would you like the band engraved?

If you’re feeling stumped, look at jewelry catalogs or scan Pinterest for fresh ideas. If a style leaps out to you, be specific about what appeals to you. You can even check our tips for couples designing their own engagement ring since many may apply to jewelry redesign.

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

When Barbara Michelle Jacobs jeweler Barbara Polinksy found herself wanting to change the look of her engagement ring, she turned to a family heirloom for ideas (and then some).

Tips for Reinventing an Engagement Ring | BMJ Blog


Using her grandfather’s wedding band, Polinksy created a new (i.e. repurposed) band and included a tapered bezel setting for the diamond from her original engagement ring. This process could be replicated with a heirloom band of your own—or with a vintage piece from Etsy or Ebay.

Altering your engagement ring, wedding band, or any other significant piece of jewelry is not a DIY project (unless you’re a professional jeweler, of course!). Such important work should be handled by a jeweler that you trust and enjoy collaborating with.


Have you altered a piece of jewelry? What inspired you to do so?

Photos: Barbara Polinsky


Posted in custom engagement ring design process, custom engagement rings, custom jewelry, custom ring, custom rings, engagement ring, engagement rings, redesign, redesigning jewelry, vintage, wedding bands

Choosing Your Wedding Day Jewelry

Posted on May 26, 2016 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments

You’ve picked out your theme, your colors, and even your dress. As wedding planning goes, you’ve made huge progress! Now it’s time to turn your attention to smaller—but still important—matters: the special touches that make your wedding day look unique and “so you.” We’re talking about wedding day jewelry.

Just like your perfume and wedding shoes, your wedding day jewelry will hold special meaning for the rest of your married life. Even new pieces chosen with special care will suddenly become dear treasures after your big day. The process of choosing jewelry shouldn’t be stressful, though—save your furrowed brow for narrowing the guest list. Rather, picking your jewelry should be enjoyable—something to look back on with fondness. You can even make selecting your jewelry an event by enlisting the help of your mother and bridesmaids. Alternatively, keep your jewelry shopping a private affair, and use the selection process as a time to relax and enjoy spending time with yourself.

The following are a few ideas to get you thinking about your wedding day jewelry. These are just suggestions, however; remember that when it comes to your wedding, you (the bride!) make your own rules.

Choosing Your Wedding Day Jewelry | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Jewelry

Consider your dress.

As the foundation of your wedding fashion, your dress will likely determine the style and kind of jewelry that you wear for your wedding. First, consider the silhouette of the dress. For example, if you’re wearing a dress with a detailed or high neckline, a necklace may “get in the way” or compete with the design elements on or around your neckline. If you’re wearing a simple, strapless dress, however, your décolleté may be begging for a statement necklace!

After considering the silhouette of your dress, think about its style. Is it ornate? Bohemian? Minimalist? Ideally, your jewelry will complement your dress. For example, a less formal dress may not pair especially well with a diamond tennis bracelet. Meanwhile, a fancy ballgown style probably wouldn't do well with a strand of semi-precious stones. (Of course, none of these guidelines are set in stone, and you’ll never really know about a particular pairing until you try it!)

Finally, don’t overlook the color of your dress. A pure white gown may clash with gold, so opt for pearl or white metal. Slightly off-white fabric pairs with just about anything, however, so don’t limit yourself by color. Lastly, an ivory gown is best paired with gold or rose gold metal.

Choosing Your Wedding Day Jewelry | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Blog


Gold complements off-white and ivory dresses. 

Barbara Michelle Jacobs Chandelier Twig Earrings with Peridot Dangles

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

Your jewelry is a great outlet for incorporating something old, new, borrowed, and/or blue—if you’re interested in following that tradition. Don’t feel pressured to wear something just because it checks off one of the “somethings,” however!

Think beyond the basics.

You can “wear” a piece of wedding day jewelry on your bouquet. If you have an heirloom brooch, bracelet, or necklace that you’d like to incorporate in your ceremony but not necessarily on your person, consider pinning it to or wrapping it around your bouquet. This will help your bouquet stand out from the rest while also giving it (additional) special meaning.

Choosing Your Wedding Day Jewelry | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Jewelry

Don’t forget that hair can sparkle, too.

Your wedding may be of the few occasions when you can wear diamonds or crystals in your hair. If you’re not wearing a necklace, consider adding some sparkle to your hair in the form of a repurposed brooch, a tiara, or crystal-blazoned comb. Keep in mind that your hair piece should complement (rather than compete with) your necklace, earrings, etc.

Choosing Your Wedding Day Jewelry | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Jewelry

Choosing Your Wedding Day Jewelry | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Jewelry

Choosing Your Wedding Day Jewelry | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Jewelry

Give it all a test run.

Once you’ve narrowed down your jewelry selection, try on your dress with your accessories. Move things around. Add a piece. Subtract a piece. See what arrangement you like best. And don’t forget to snap a pic!

Give a little TLC to your engagement ring.

The most important piece of your wedding jewelry ensemble is obviously your engagement ring! Chances are you already have one by the time you’ve picked out your dress (but if you need tips on choosing or designing an engagement ring, check out this post). On the day before your wedding, clean and polish your engagement ring. It will likely be given a lot of attention on the day of your wedding!

Choosing Your Wedding Day Jewelry | BMJ Blog Choosing Your Wedding Day Jewelry | Barbara Michelle Jacobs Blog

Barbara Michelle Jacobs Princess Diamond Twig Engagement Ring

Have you chosen any special jewelry to wear on your wedding day?

More wedding advice:  

Ethical and Eco-Friendly Wedding Ideas

Best Places to Get Married in Central Park
How to Sustainably Source Flowers for Your Wedding

Photo: Barbara Michelle Jacobs, Mary Hood Luttrell, Elizabeth Scott Photography,  Powder Blue Bijoux

Posted in engagement ring, wedding, wedding jewelry

On 'The Hidden Life of Trees'

Posted on April 21, 2016 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments

Describing a cluster of birch trees, Wohlleben remarks that the trees are “friends.” One can tell this because their branches angle away from each other, which prevents one tree from blocking vital sunlight from his “buddy.”

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Posted in engagement ring, nature, trees, wedding band

How to Stop “Ring Spin” When Your Ring Is Too Big

Posted on April 14, 2016 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments

Purchasing a ring that’s slightly too big is a common problem. Often, this situation is made more complicated when the ring in question is a custom-made engagement ring or wedding band that cannot be exchanged.

Continue Reading →

Posted in DIY, engagement ring, ring size, wedding band

Trend Watch: Lady Gaga's Heart-Shaped Engagement Ring

Posted on July 09, 2015 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments

When cut correctly, the heart-shaped diamond is almost as brilliant as a round-cut diamond (the most brilliant shape for a diamond).

Continue Reading →

Posted in diamonds, engagement, engagement ring, engagement rings, jewelry, style

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