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“Diamonds Are Forever”: How the Slogan Was Created and How it Changed the World of Diamonds




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Nowadays, three in fourbrides in the United States wear a diamond engagement ring. While it may cost a lot – around $4.000 – it has become a tradition. It is interesting how diamond engagement rings have become a global phenomenon.

Started by grandfathers and fathers, the tradition is continued dutifully by young men worldwide since such a valuable accessory speaks a lot even when the excited and nervous future husband cannot. The diamond engagement ring is now the universal symbol of marriage, love, and devotion. Interestingly, the story is not as old as some may think.


Where It All Began

The worldwide famous slogan “Diamonds Are Forever” was created in the 19thcentury, when several huge diamond mines were discovered in South Africa. The discovery triggered more people’s fascination with diamonds as the precious stones became commonly available on the market. However, the British businessmen behind the operations in South Africa realized that they needed to maintain diamonds’ aura of mystery and convince people that the stones were very rare.

In 1888, they started the famous cartel called De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd, now known as De Beers. The company began expanding its control over both the supply and demand for diamonds in the following decades.

In 1938, a big change happened when Harry Oppenheimer, the son of De Beers’ founder, enrolled an ad agency called N.WAyer. Its job was to change people’s perspective on diamonds especially in the United States, where people were already offering diamond engagement rings but with small and cheap stones.

Jewel Gem Refraction Diamonds Gemstone Stone

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“A Diamond Is Forever”

The falling price of diamonds began to be a problem all over the world. So, the people at Ayer launched an aggressive campaign. Thousands of young men were convinced that diamonds were indeed the symbol of eternal love and romance. Moreover, the bigger the stone, the more profound their love was for their significant other. The campaign targeted young women as well by trying to convince them that a suitor’s intentions must be true only if a diamond was involved.

In 1947, Ayer took the campaign one step further. The company hired lecturers to visit high-schools all over the country with the purpose of inducing this very idea. However, the famous “A Diamond Is Forever” slogan was conceived at the end of the 1940s. An Ayer copywriter came up with the idea and De Beers has been using it ever since.

For more info on the world’s most famous slogan – “Diamonds Are Forever” – and the brilliant marketing campaign that got millions of people hooked, check The Diamond Authority’s post dubbed “Diamonds are Forever: the Story Behind the Slogan.”

The idea that it proposed in the 1940s, and which still stands today, is that even if diamonds as objects are not eternal (they can be chipped, turned into ash, or discolored), their meaning is. It even got to a point where Ayer suggested the idea that diamonds had magical powers and made love eternal. Over the following years, De Beers and its marketers proved that it was possible to make an idea a reality just by pushing it into people’s heads long enough.

Later, in the 1960s, De Beers began expanding into the international market, except for Japan. At the time, arranged marriages were still common in Japan. In 1967, only 5% of future brides had a diamond engagement ring on their finger as the symbol of “modern Western values.” By 1981, about 60% of them had received one from their beloved, transforming the De Beers marketing campaign into a legend. Japan is now the second biggest diamond market after the United States, further proving how times and traditions have changed.


Finally, even if The De Beers Group of Companies and its marketing campaign didn’t have much success in countries like Brazil or China, it achieved the desired fame almost everywhere else. De Beers’ famous slogan entered pop culture and inspired books, songs, and even movies, like the James Bond spy film called “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971).

Diamond engagement rings continue to be one of the most popular symbols of eternal love even now when most people know these valuable stones are not that rare. It may be the mystery surrounding diamonds, the way they look, or simply their high price that continues to fascinate millions of people all over the world. Something still pushes them to go to the nearest jewelry store and choose the prettiest diamond. It is something for eternity after all, right?