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July 2016

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Celebrity Diamonds: How Pop Culture Impacts the Diamond Industry

Hollywood and the celebrity diamonds love affair is a long-standing tradition. Everything from celebrity fashion, to books, movies and songs have incorporated diamonds. But how do celebrities and the media affect the diamond industry? Diamonds are reflected in pop culture in both a negative and positive light. And while some may have you believe that any publicity is good publicity, that isn’t always the case.

Celebrity Diamonds: An Ode to Glam

Throughout history, many popular songs have featured diamonds in their lyrics. From as far back as the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe’s sultry “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” from the movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” had consumers racing to the store for diamonds. Monroe’s feminine sensuality and mass appeal spoke to women all over the world, and to the public in general.

Over time, many popular artists have used the diamond as the focal point of their songs. More recently, Rihanna’s song Diamonds illustrated the destructiveness of bad relationships, and emphasized that while something may look beautiful, you never know what lies beneath. Other songs with a negative connotation about diamonds are Shirley Bassey’s iconic Diamonds are Forever, which compares diamonds with the disappointments of love, and Lily Allen’s The Fear, touching on the destructive desire for superficial things. These messages can have a subtle effect on the way consumers perceive diamonds.

There are also songs that have impacted positively on diamonds in the media. Beyonce’s popular lyric “If you like it then you better put a ring on it” from the song Single Ladies generated a huge consumer spotlight on the diamond. Her 2000 hit with Destiny’s Child, Independent Women, features the line “Tell me what you think about me. I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings”. The song, which debuted at the dawn of the millennial generation, pinpoints precisely the new consumer worldview, which touts female independence and the trend of women buying diamonds for themselves.

Diamonds in Print

Diamonds in the media encompasses more than just songs. There have been many books with storylines that feature diamonds in some way. F. Scott Fitzgerald used diamonds in many of his books to emphasize the destructive greed that often comes with great wealth. Allan Quatermain’s perilous journey to find King Solomon’s legendary diamond mines in H. Rider Haggard’s popular book King Solomon’s Mines also had a negative spin on the desire for diamonds at any cost.

The Global Movie Impact

Movies have always had an impact on consumers. Fans run out to replicate styles and buy products promoted by their favorite stars and characters. The 2006 movie Blood Diamonds caused a certain fear in the diamond industry. The film, which starred Leonardo Di Caprio, was nominated for 5 Academy Awards and brought the issue of blood diamonds to a much wider audience around the world. Fearing that it would affect diamond sales, the World Diamond Council spent $15 million on a public relations and education campaign to enlighten consumers about diamonds. Experts also believed that the movie could cast diamonds in a bad light.

There is no way that the diamond industry won’t be affected by pop culture. Lyrics and storylines, served up to mass consumers who want to emulate celebrities, are bound to influence consumer spending. The question is, is any publicity good publicity?

Image: Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

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