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November 16, 2018

Being ‘engaged’ seems to work...

A couple smiling to each other.Photo/Courtesy
A couple smiling to each other.Photo/Courtesy

The party at the VIPS house is in full swing and the conservations keep getting repetitive as the men get drunker. “Did I tell you this story?” one asks.

Yes. Five times already.

“No. What story is that?” I ask instead and struggle through it. Again.

The VIP's wife shows up after a couple of hours.

“Is everyone OK?” she asks.

The men nod and smile indicating their comfort levels as her eyes meet mine.

“Be good to Samantha since her fiancé is not here to make sure all of you are well behaved,” she says.

The men turn to me. “You are engaged?” one asks.

“Yes,” I respond. “No ring yet, I’m still waiting for my black diamond.”

The VIP's wife looks smug as she takes note of the disappointed looks around the table.

“Black diamond?” Her husband asks. “Aren’t you the unique one? Are they cheaper or more expensive than white diamonds?”

“It depends,” I say. “Natural black diamonds are very rare and can only be found in Brazil and Africa. They are also called carbonado.”

“Yes, I’ve read up on them,” Mr N chips in. “Some say they were created within the earth under high pressure whereas others think they came from space.”

“I prefer the latter theory,” I say. “That an asteroid that hit the earth two million years ago will adorn my finger.”

 “But still,” the VIP's wife says. “This is more expensive,” she says as she flashes her white rock. The brilliance of her stone is not lost on anyone at the table.

“It’s truly a matter of taste,” I say. “The moment you leave a jewellery shop with that ring it immediately loses 50 per cent of it’s value.”

I take a sip of my drink and continue. “The demand for white diamonds has always been a marketing invention. They aren’t actually rare. De Beers (known around the world for creating the finest engagement rings) has restricted access over the years thereby keeping the price up, but it’s really one of the most common stones in the world.” 

The VIP’s wife looks shocked. “Honey, how much was this?” she asks him.

“It cost me a lot,” he responds. “But she’s right, the resale is about half what I paid.”

“I want a black diamond because it’s interesting and exotic. In real terms that costs more than what is on your finger even if market prices say different,” I conclude.

There is silence around the table and I suspect I have gone too far. So I laugh and add.

“Who am I kidding? Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, the sparklier the better! I’ll make sure my hubby buys me one like yours when we can afford it!”

There are a few relieved laughs.

“Your ring is beautiful,” Mr N says to the VIP's wife. “Few of us can compete with your husband here.”

She smiles but the look she gives me says it all. It’s time to go. I stand up and say my goodbyes. I’m not clear why women place so much importance in something they put around their finger. A diamond is a depreciating asset masquerading as an investment. Gold yes. That will always be valuable. Diamonds no.

She looks happy to see me go and the men do not put up much resistance either. Oh to hell with them. This tying-the-knot nonsense was something I made up. I’m not getting married. It’s ironic that the phrase originates from a time when monetary bullshit wasn’t associated with being engaged. The saying is said to originate from the Roman Empire when the bride wore a girdle that was tied in knots. The groom untied the knots prior to the consummation of their marriage. This custom grew to the couple actually tying their hands together as part of the wedding ceremony.

Another origin stems from Sweden where illiterate soldiers would send home a piece of rope with two ornate knots, as a marriage proposal. If it came back tied together it would mean yes. This overcame literacy barriers since they could not write the words “Will you marry me?”

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