While wedding bands have been worn in many cultures over thousands of years, the diamond engagement thing is a very new part of the betrothal process—only about 60-70 years popular. And in that time we’ve learned much about the procurement and finishing of the stones (most of it horrible) but the diamond mining that’s hugely destructive, both of human lives and the environment.
But it’s not just that makes these rings problematic (we hate that part with a passion)–the whole diamond ring biz is kind of a huge racket, from the artificially low supply—actually diamonds are quite common—and how fast they lose value. Check out the infographic below from The Circle, and if you still want a diamond engagement ring, at least consider a fabulous vintage one.
Topmost diamond ring image via Noee on Flickr.