Tag Archives: De Beers

The Weird Origins of 6 Wedding Ceremony Symbols


Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold

The tradition of carrying the bride over the threshold symbolizes the entrance of a newly betrothed man and woman into their new home and their new legally married life together, but the reason behind doing those precise motions to symbolize this moment in life are less lighthearted than it may seem.

It’s not exactly new knowledge that women were considered buyable and sellable property, but you probably didn’t know about the kidnappings. Back in the day, as they say, brides were chosen by a hormonal male, and he and his tribe of merry men would hunt her down and take her—just pluck her from her surroundings—then carry back to his lair and train her to be a submissive wife. Probably wasn’t a photographer present to capture the moment…

Other, gentler versions of the history of the threshold tradition say that the bride was vulnerable to evil spirits, especially in the threshold of the house, a place where spirits liked to lurk. The new husband would lift her up and protect her from said spirits as she entered her new home.


Matching Bridesmaids’ Dresses

Lots of evil spirits seemed to be lurking about back before we had science, and it seems they liked weddings. Bridesmaids, or friends and family of the bride, used to wear all white to match the bride, which was intended to confuse the evil spirits that wanted to hurt or kill the bride. That’s friendship right there! Nowadays, bridesmaids spend an average of $1,695 on their friends’ weddings, but back then, they risked their lives.

This tradition transformed into only the bride wearing the white dress (duh), but that trend wasn’t actually re-popularized until Queen Victoria did it in 1840. Before that, brides simply wore their best dress and the small ceremony was conducted in their homes, unless they were nobility. (Patches from the Past)


Bride on the Left, Groom on the Right

The etiquette of placing the bride on the left and the groom on the right, it is said, is derived from the ol’ capture method of finding a wifey. Apparently, marriage had to happen quickly when the wife was a stolen good, because the husband-to-be held the bride with his left hand while slapping away the bride’s tribe with his right. (This begs the question: What happened if old boy was a lefty?) Other versions of history state that scripture is generally interpreted to place the bride on the left and the groom on the right for what seems to be no apparent reason.



The honeymoon tradition derived from yet another overt expression of ownership. The groom, after marriage, traditionally burrowed his bride away for about a month for, as one website put it, “mating purposes.” The “moon” part of the word is directly related to the bride’s menstrual cycle, and the “honey” part is related to the couple boozing it up. After getting hitched, a new couple drank honey mead, a sweet, beer-like drink that was supposed to make the woman more fertile.


Wedding Bouquet

People stunk back then. And not just because they stole and bought girls for “breeding,” but because they plain old smell bad, especially when there are a bunch of them in a room together. Some sources say bridal bouquets did double duty on the day of the wedding, warding of both evil spirits and bad smells.

Other sources say the wedding bouquet itself was kind of stinky, being made of garlic and dill in an effort to ward off the plague. Garlic and dill were thought to prevent people from contracting the illness.

Engagement Rings

Today engagement rings are pretty much the norm for most couples getting married.  The history of the engagement ring is pretty storied in and of itself.  Before actual rings were fashioned for this purpose by civilized man, “The caveman tied cords made of braided grass around his chosen mate’s wrists, ankles, and waist, to bring her spirit under his control,” according to Reader’s Digest.

The concept of the “diamond engagement ring” came into vogue (not coincidentally) around 1948, just as DeBeers unleashed their “Diamonds are Forever” campaign.  As DeBeers stockpiled diamonds, they essentially had a stranglehold on the market, as they could dictate supply.  Bolstered by their catchy new marketing line, DeBeers began to foster the idea that diamond engagement rings should always be held on to, and never sold.

Luckily, for many people who have diamond jewelry they no longer need, the stigma of selling diamond rings and things has all but disappeared.  At Diamond Lighthouse, we specialize in getting people the absolute best value for their unwanted diamond jewelry.  The past will always be the past; it’s nice to know that the future looks quite bright.


How Diamonds Became “Forever”


The Birth of Diamond Marketing as We Know It

Diamonds haven’t been forever…well, forever. In fact, they’ve only been “Forever” (with a capital F) since 1948, when “A Diamond is Forever,” the tagline Advertising Age would later dub “Slogan of the Century,” was launched. The grammatically incorrect ad campaign was created by N.W. Ayer & Son, a Philadelphia advertising agency hand selected in 1938 by the chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines, Harry Oppenheimer.

N.W. Ayer himself was on the problem immediately, and stayed on it for nearly a decade, slinging diamond encrusted everythings at celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Rosalind Russel, and even the British Royal family. Five years after Oppenheimer showed up in his offices, Ayer hired Mary Frances Gerety, a Philadelphia-area woman who can be credited with the string of four words that altered the American Dream, bringing on a much-needed change for the fairly flailing diamond industry. (It wasn’t actually “flailing,” more just “anticipating a slight downward spiral,” as De Beers still owned 90 percent of the world’s diamond production. However, Oppenheimer did sense trouble in the midst due to the onset of war in Europe and distress in the Great Depression.) Gerety was hired “at the right time,” because Ayer had just lost a female copywriter, according to the The New York Times.
Continue reading How Diamonds Became “Forever”

The Diamond Ring… A Symbol of Love??


Many people associate diamond rings, and rings in general, with the beautiful union that two people share.  Be it marriage or another strong bond between individuals, rings project a message of deep emotional involvement.  In short, rings convey love.


A look back into history provides us with some different information on the origin of rings and their evolution through time.


Rings have symbolized a man’s ownership of a woman for thousands of years, but that meaning has morphed into a symbol of love and unity rather than ownership. The tradition has been traced back to cave men, who placed rings made of garlands of sticks and flowers around a woman in an attempt to rein in her spirit.

According to the American Gem Society, the trend of using diamond rings to symbolize unity and love began in 1477, when Archduke Maximillian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy the first diamond engagement ring on record. The ring was set with thin pieces of diamonds in the shape of an “M,” igniting the trend of using diamond rings to signify an engagement among European nobility.

The United States was a little slow to catch on, but when we caught on, we did it with gusto. Diamond engagement rings didn’t become popular in the United States until the 1930s, but quickly rose in popularity after that. By 1965, a reported 80 percent of all marriages in the United States were represented by a diamond ring. What happened in between?


That vast change was made possible by the discovery of African diamond mines in the 1870s by De Beers, a company that enjoyed a position as the sole owner and operator of the mines for many years. De Beers was founded by Cecil B. Rhodes and Charles Rudd in 1880. Rhodes formed the Diamond Syndicate, a business alliance in South Africa that agreed to let Rhodes lead the charge as he orchestrated a public perception of scarcity of the precious gem. This perception of scarcity led to high demand.

In the 1930s, De Beers combated a tough national economic situation by marketing photographs of famous people wearing their diamonds. It worked, spreading the diamond ring tradition from European nobility to the majority of American brides.

De Beers’s 1947 slogan, “A Diamond is Forever,” spawned an intense increase in diamond sales, solidifying the image of the diamond in the American psyche as a symbol of everlasting love.


So why is the diamond worn on the ring finger on the left hand? The answer to that question started thousands of years ago as well. The Greeks and Romans believed a vein from the fourth finger on the left hand ran directly to the heart, and to put a ring over it meant the ring was almost directly touching the vena amoris, or the “vein of love.” This idea has since been proven untrue, but the sentiment is still going strong.



Just as all trends and mentalities can change with time, diamond rings have naturally followed suit.  The “diamond is forever” concept is largely a thing of the past.  If you have an unused or unwanted diamond ring sitting in a jewelry box, there’s no time like the present to turn that diamond into something useful.  Diamond Lighthouse helps people find the best value possible for their unworn diamond jewelry, every day.  Find out the very best way to sell your diamond here.


Are Diamonds Really Forever Anymore?


In 1947, the De Beers Corporation came up with a heretofore unique campaign slogan: “Diamonds are forever.”  This nicely summed up their marketing philosophy that with a diamond ring, you can solidify an eternal bond to your betrothed.

A diamond is forever = it symbolizes your undying love.

A diamond is forever = it will stay in your family for countless generations.

A diamond is forever = it is literally unbreakable.

As the decades have passed by, and while many people still have these messages deeply ingrained in their brains, diamonds have lost a bit of their luster.  A variety of factors could be responsible for this: from the fact that divorce rates have seen an overall increase, to people becoming more prudent with their finances, to the desire for some to express their individuality by breaking away from the norm.  Here we take a look at what specifically has contributed to the slight fall of diamonds from grace. Continue reading Are Diamonds Really Forever Anymore?

Do You know What a Synthetic Diamond Is?


A “synthetic” diamond is not a fake diamond.  

Did you know a synthetic diamond is a real diamond – it’s just man-made in a lab – and can actually have better clarity and color than a naturally occurring diamond? Continue reading Do You know What a Synthetic Diamond Is?