Saturday, November 22, 2008

the dark side of diamonds

Some people think that vegetarians don’t like Baby Back Ribs smothered in barbeque sauce and so tender you could shake the meat off the bone. Some people think that environmentalists wouldn’t enjoy driving a Hummer with a full tank through an moss-covered streambed. Some people think that Feminists don’t enjoy being gently fussed over by men and called “Princess.” Some people watch Nanny 911. “Some people” are stupid.

I love diamonds. I found the perfect ring the other day. Just the kind of ring I never knew existed, but as soon as I saw it I loved it and can’t live without it. It had a wide band with dozens of tiny sparkling diamonds creating a simple design across it. Very renaissance. I could see myself at 89 years old still gazing down and tilting my hand back and forth to let the gems catch and throw the light into dazzling colors. I love diamonds. I love how they sparkle, I love the variety of styles and rings, I love how clear and white and perfect a diamond is. I love how you can tell just by looking at a person’s left hand if they are married or not. I love that in a confusing world of changing styles and life-styles that wedding rings have stayed constant.I showed off the ring that my fiancĂ©e and I had picked out together, everyone had a comment for it. His friends called him cheap, my parents were confused, “it’s not even a real engagement ring,” and everyone asked, “oh, you didn’t want a diamond?”

I hate diamonds. Everything about them disgusts me. I hate shallow girls comparing carat size with each other, I hate admiring people’s rings, and I hate walking past ostentatious jewelry stores. I hate the fact that people fight and kill each other over control of diamond mines so that a guy can spend four months working in order to purchase something for a girl in order for her to show off. I hate the materialism and vanity that goes with diamonds. I hate fake salespeople and their slick ways of talking you into buying the latest tennis bracelet. I hate how infants are starving to death or people are dying of easily curable diseases while people spend thousands on a tiny ridiculous rock. I hate how I can’t bring myself to wholly hate diamonds. Sparkly, shimmery, beautiful diamonds.

I have to continually remind myself of why I abhor diamonds. As soon as I do I can walk away from the polished glass diamond counter, breathing a sigh of relief that I’m not the type of girl who likes things like that.




The biggest reason that I don’t get into the diamond market is that buying diamonds hurts people. Somewhere between 4 and 15 percent of diamonds traded are part of something called “conflict diamonds.” This means that people with guns and weapons take advantage of people without guns and weapons and make them mine diamonds in horrible conditions. These guns also keep those without guns from causing a fuss about anything illegal or atrocious that the mine operators do. In the last ten years 3 million people have been killed. Countless more have lost their hands or feet so that they could serve as examples to others. These people with guns also use the profits from diamonds to buy more guns to support other unwholsome activities.


But let’s say that a person really wants diamonds. Let’s say they are willing to go the extra mile and pay the extra dollar/pound/euro/yen/whatever to purchase a certified, non-conflict diamond. They can’t. There’s no way to be sure you’re not buying a conflict diamond. (Well…there is, there is a type of laser scanning technology, but it is not used, due to little demand for it.) There are also organizations and sanctions trying to keep the diamonds straight, but nothing works really well. In the process of mining, cutting, polishing, and setting, a diamond passes through many hands. And it takes just one person with their eye out for number one to scramble up the pot and ruin it for the rest of them.

Let's say that somehow, you have gotten a hold of a non-conflict diamond. You went to the mine yourself and saw well-paid, of-age, happy workers mining diamonds. They worked in safe conditions and could go home to their family with all four limbs intact. Can you dish out your hard-earned dough, feeling good about what you’ve done? Maybe you can, but the toddler who lost both hands to serve as a lesson to his parents working in the mines can’t.

Diamonds are not as valuable as most people believe. The price is kept unnaturally high by very powerful diamond lobbies. By paying that lofty price for your non-conflict diamond, you are keeping conflict diamond prices high, and making it very much worth their while in Congo to keep those mines open and keep on mutilating and killing for profit.




Stepping off that soapbox for a while I’ll jump onto another one. Another reason I don’t like diamonds is all the materialism, greed, and vanity that goes with them. It’s hard to even know where to start. From all these ads on television and billboards, I am almost starting to believe that diamonds are no longer just a symbol of love, they actually mean love. If I were to take them seriously I would believe that my significant other does not love me unless he spends the equivalent of four months of work on an engagement ring, and then periodically throughout our life together, he purchases other precious stones. I have to have a bigger ring than other girls so that they will admire me and be my friend. I need to have bling or I am not a worthwhile person. Any problems my relationship or my life has, a new piece of jewelry will fix it.


A husband should feel as though he is a lesser man because he didn’t buy his significant other a large enough stone. That his love doesn’t mean anything unless it comes paired with a full carat stone affixed atop a platinum band. His wife doesn’t need quality time or support or even some help matching the socks, just a new pair of diamond earrings come Valentines day.

I hope that isn’t how real people think. Oh man, I really hope that is not how people think, but I’m pretty sure some people do. Isn’t love how you treat each other, not the size of a ring? Isn’t love is letting your girlfriend put her cold hands on your stomach when she comes in from walking the dog? Isn’t love ordering out pizza when you really want sushi and kissing someone (o

n the lips) when they smell bad from being sick?

And why else do people buy bling, if not to express their love for another person? To impress people? To feel better about themselves? I hope both of those reasons are empty enough that I can leave it at that.

Diamonds are a huge waste of time and resources. We’ve already been over how their price is inflated, but besides that. Newly married people are generally not very well off. They are frequently young people fresh out of college or working their way up the ladder of success. They still have a lot to learn about managing finances, bringing together two incomes, and perhaps they are hoping to embark on the most expensive pastime around, having children. What better way to start that relationship than getting into debt over a ring with a clear stone? W

ouldn’t the money be better spent towards a down payment on a house, paying off some student loans, or an investment in their future rather than an accessory? I’ve always wondered how people felt wearing such an expensive article of clothing on their left hand day in and day out. Doesn’t it make them nervous?


I don’t condemn anyone who has a diamond ring; I don’t look down on anyone that buys diamonds. But just in case some people didn’t know the inside scoop on conflict diamonds, or in case anyone was hovering between spending hundreds or even thousands on a ring or not, I thought I would throw this out there for your perusal.

So go out there you vegetarians, and eat your tofu

while imagining juicy crisp bacon. Drive to work in your Geo Metros, you environmentalists. Feminists, split the dinner bill right down the middle, don’t even let him pick up

the appetizer. I will continue to walk past jewelry stores like a recovering alcoholic walks past taverns with my head held high without even sneaking a peak at the light catchers inside.

-Sara


http://saraallsop.blogspot.com/2005/11/diamonds.html




Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Eclectic Maids!





Click on the image to enlarge

Here are some wonderful ideas of alternative options to the hum-drum frumpy bridesmaid dress. I've been trying to convince my bridesmaids that this will totally work. I think it helps to have a visual!
What do you think?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

When I'm not in class...


Except for my wall mate typing on her keyboard and the occasional shuffle down the hallway, my cubicle is eerie quiet this afternoon. Quiet and grey. Very grey.
(But as fate would have it as soon as I type those very words, my cube phone rings with a wrong number. No big deal however my transfer button stopped working. What an adventure this has become for the ladies that surround my cube!)

I feel like Rapunzel trapped in a tower of grey concrete. Fortunately for me my walls can be decorated with colorful pushpins! I think I’m a little jealous that Rapunzel gets a window.

Here are some outlandish cubes any corporate hamster would take in a heartbeat!









Thursday, November 6, 2008

LET THERE BE COLOR!



I cringed the other day when I heard a bride was going to have a vase of red roses for her centerpieces. How unoriginal! Behold, I offer you alternative colors!!! I have a ridiculously large stack of bridal magazines that I will be collaging together this week to make inspiration galleries like the one above.

What have been the most unique and successful color schemes you've seen at weddings? Share your thoughts!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Recycling your wedding!


KiDaPoT's photo

There are plenty of leftovers once the “I Do’s” have been said and guests trickle out of the reception. So what do you do with the excess party favors, programs, food, plastics, and decorations? You can donate or recycle them! Make your wedding charitable and make somebody's day!

Collaborate with your caterer and make a food donation to a local food bank, drop-in center, hospice, or senior center. If you need to advocate your idea remind your caterer that their generosity can be tax deductible. Here are some things to consider:


  • Place food in clean plastic bags, plastic containers or boxes.



  • Perishables should be refrigerated; other recyclable materials must be separated.

  • Food must also be edible—if dressing has been poured over a salad, for example, it won’t be worth eating the next day.

  • To make a donation, look online or through your phone book to find a local Food Bank or call organizations to make advance arrangements.

  • Call your local recycling center to arrange a pickup of plastic bottles, glass, metal and paper. And don’t forget if you do plan on recycling, the cost for extra garbage containers can be cut.
Couples spend so much time and money on their wedding's floral decor, it's a shame everything's only used once. Instead of throwing your flowers away, arrange for them to be delivered to an assisted living center or hospital! The links below can help you find a local place to donate. Ask a friend or faimly member to help make the deliver happen once the wedding is over.

http://www.nursinghomeinfo.com/search.html
http://www.assistedlivinginfo.com/search.html

Here is some more informatin I've found that may be helpful for the charitbale couple:

The I Do Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring a charitable focus to special life events. The Foundation helps engaged couples raise charitable wedding donations through three channels:

Gift Registry: When couples register with our partners-including Target, Linens 'N Things and Amazon.com-up to 8% of all spending is donated.Travel: The I Do Foundation's partner, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, donates 5% of all honeymoon packages.

Donation Registry: With our flexible Donation Registry, guests can make a donation directly to charity in place of, or in addition to, traditional gifts.

Favors for Charity: The Favors for Charity program allows couples to make donations in honor of their guests in place of (or in addition to) traditional favors.

To learn more, visit http://www.idofoundation.org/ or contact Customer Service.

If you have any other suggestions concerning donations or recycling please post your thoughts!!!

Wedding Day Countdown