Tracing Diamonds Through the 20th Century Essay

Tracing Diamonds Through the 20th Century Essay

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In the 1940s, DeBeers consolidated mines hired N.W. Ayer advertising to market their diamonds in America. During the depression, DeBeers had made the transition of from marketing the diamond as a good to marketing it as an emotion. Diamonds were marketed as an essential part of relationships, courtship, and proposals through their placement in Hollywood film scenes and carefully phrased advertisements (Ghilani, 232). Diamonds, which had been given value solely by DeBeers’ control of their supply, became the ultimate symbol of love and commitment – because, after all, love doesn’t experience recessions like commodities do.
As the Second World War continued, the goal was to influence consumer behavior with political movements, because a war ravaged Europe left the U.S. as the best possible market. But, in a time when the entirety of America was in a type of conservative war mode, who would be lining up to buy something as luxurious as a diamond? Ayer tried to the meld the values of patriotism, American citizenship, and luxury consumerism (Ghilani). DeBeers’ gems were no longer just diamonds, they were “Fighting Diamonds,” “Jewelry Jeeps,” and Diamonds that “go to the front” (Ghilani, 236). Thus, their ads juxtaposed the images of shiny diamonds on rings and industrial diamonds cutting the materials to build the machines that would lead the United States to Victory (235).
In 1944, DeBeers placed an ad in Life magazine that did just that. The ad, which can be found attached, shows a church with writing above it that describes a diamond as the treasured keepsake of any young woman in “the days of parting that so often follow” weddings – referring to the periods where young men had to go off to fight (DeBeers’ Advertisement). A blurb ...

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... 2014.
Ghilani, Jessica L. “DeBeers’ ‘Fighting Diamonds’: Recruiting American Consumers in World War II Advertising.” Journal of Communication Inquiry 36.3 (2012): 222–245.
Meredith, Martin. Diamonds, Gold, and War :The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa. 1st ed. New York: PublicAffairs, 2007. Web.
Roberts, Janine. “Without Congo’s Diamonds, World War II Could Not Have Been Won.” New African 444 (2005): 24–27. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.
Sullivan, J. Courtney. “How Americans Learned to Love Diamonds.” The New York Times 3 May 2013. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.
Thomas, Martin. Violence and Colonial Order :Police, Workers and Protest in the European Colonial Empires, 1918-1940. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Critical Perspectives on Empire Web.

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