Pearls before swine, Diamonds before fools.

‘A Diamond is Forever’ – the best advertising tag line EVER! Talk about turning your problems into opportunities.

The symbol and token of enduring love between a man and a woman is given to underline a commitment to nurturing each other and what children may come their way till death do they part. In a world where fewer and fewer promises are kept, it behooves us to examine these casual assumptions from time to time to check out their validity.

In many ways, a diamond is forever. Formed in the bowels of the earth millions of years ago under pressures and temperatures unendurable and almost unimaginable to us, they sit there waiting for us, or the forces of Nature, to dig them out. Once exposed, they unblinkingly hold our gaze – and whatever else we care to throw at them.

No acid will harm them. No heat will burn them. Light, even laser light, passes though and is made harmlessly pretty. They will cut you and anything you place under them but you will never so much as scratch one. You may shatter a diamond but what you get are just more diamonds, endlessly winking at your folly in trying affect a diamond.

Diamonds have almost no character or distinguishing marks, which makes them a favourite with every class of criminal who needs portability and anonymity, is his transactions.

Diamonds come to us mainly from the blood, sweat and toil of some of the most exploited workers on the planet. The working conditions are tough and dangerous, often violent and lawless. The despoliation of the land around the mines is unregulated and extensive. The security at these places is the tightest on Earth because of the contrast between the value of the product and the paucity of the wages paid.

And why are they so expensive? They are actually plentiful, mined in many places and they never wear out, as we know. They should be just another commodity.

They are expensive because they are traded in a rigged market that is run by a cartel of ex-communist dictators and failed supporters of apartheid, whose interests are in fleecing the customers of as much money as possible rather than supplying the most diamond possible for your money. The trading is done secretively with few records and no comebacks. A wit of my acquaintance once remarked knowingly; “the clearer the diamond, the dirtier the history”.

In a world where democracy, responsibility, accountability, fairness, trust and respect for others and the Earth are the virtues we try spread and instill in our children, why is the cold, hard, immutable, corrupt and over-priced diamond our token of our highest aspirations. Is this really a token you wish to give? Or, to receive? What does it say about your love? Will you be a victim of the marketing campaign and go along with the herd, or are you a couple with your own minds and your own opinions?

Think about pearls for a minute.

Pearls benefit from being worn and their luster grows from contact with skin. Hide them away and they fade and wither. The diamond, however, is indifferent to you. Pearls have a character that is distinct and observable to the naked eye. They are as varied in colour and form as Humankind is, yet self-similar and coming in distinctive colours and forms.

The cultured pearl industry and the wild pearl diving business are both fierce protectors of the pure waters and clean habitats that support their mollusks. The cultured pearl industry is a process that harnesses cooperation between Man and Nature. It is environmentally friendly and economically beneficial to its local communities.

Pearl trading is financially transparent as it operates in countries with , mainly, open accounting and taxation policies. There is no cartel manipulating prices against you.

Organic, not inorganic. Warm, not cold to the touch. Needing and benefiting from human contact and warmth. Subtle, opaque and reflective; these are more feminine qualities than hardness, coldness and indifference. Pearls are much more in tune with our aspirations than any diamond can ever be.

I promise you that the more pearls you buy the more the price will come down. That happens in all normal markets. And if you stop buying diamonds the price of those will also collapse.

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