With Feb. 14th approaching fast, I’m sure many guys out there are thinking about what gift to buy their sweethearts. The thought of purchasing diamonds is invariably not far away, and the ladies have long had expectations that diamonds are a sign of betrothal. But one of my favorite online stories about the making of the diamond and its success as a total marketing ploy is still available online, from the Atlantic Magazine monthly, originally published in 1982. It’s well worth reading. But not likely to make you popular.

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So if you or your betrothed are looking for certified diamonds, it would be worth drilling a little more in the history of diamonds in popular culture before splashing out. The success of managing the expectations, demand and supply of diamonds in the world markets is largely responsible for that, even though it is now largely forgotten.

In Taiwan, though, traditional marriages require gold. And in many traditional societies, gold is seen as both a measure of status and a cash investment. It’s only in modern cultures that gold has been traded as ‘less than pure’ alloys, … It’s odd.