Thursday, March 5, 2009

On Bling

Today I'm gonna write about the shiny stuff.

Take pearls, for instance.

Do you really know what pearls are? Some folks don't. Since (I think) most of the folks who read my blog are of the feminine persuasion, I'm assuming you do. But for those 3 male readers, here it is.

You start with an oyster. The little guys in shells that live on the bottom of the ocean. The bottom of the ocean = sandiness, so sand will, of course, periodically make its way into the shell of the oyster.

If you've ever eaten an oyster (I'd recommend it, once, just so you can say you've done it), or even seen one for that matter, you'll know that the flesh of the oyster is very soft and tender. Which, when the oyster was alive, = sensitive.

Do you know what it feels like when something as smooth as an eyelash gets caught in your eye? Ouch! And what about something as jagged as a piece of sand? Triple ouch! So imagine what the poor oyster feels like...

But, that's usually okay because since they move around by shooting water, I'm sure they can usually just flush the sand out, similar to how your eye will tear up until the sand/eyelash/whatever is washed away.

Sometimes, they can't do that because of the placement of the sand so, in an effort to stop the constant pain of something hard and sharp digging into their sensitive skin, they start to coat it in whatever they secrete (kinda gross, I know), to smooth out the edges.

I don't know if the edges really get smooth enough to not be uncomfortable, because they keep surrounding the grain of sand with more and more layers to soften and smooth its surface for as long as it's inside the oyster's shell.

And that, my friends, is a pearl.


Maybe this is just me, but the thought of wearing something that was created by an innocent living being in order to avoid intense pain just ain't that appealing. Not to mention the fact that many pearls that are used in jewelry are made on farms used for that sort of thing, so you've got people intentionally shoving ouchy sand into the oysters' shells. Gives me the heebie-jeebies.

2nd example? Diamonds.

Ooh I might get yelled at for this....

But whatever. It's my blog and I can say what I want.

Have you ever seen them movie Blood Diamond? Go, rent it, watch it.

I couldn't get over what I saw in that movie for days. And I'm not exaggerating. (doesn't sound like that much, but taking that long to be upset over a movie definitely seemed too long to people who were hanging out with me on those days...)

So, you think the answer is to buy conflict-free diamonds. Okay, at least no grownup got an arm chopped off for it and no kid had to shoot his friend while high on god-knows-what (sorry if you don't understand what I'm saying, if not, go see the movie).

A couple months after the fact that I'd reconciled myself to never buying anything but conflict-free diamonds (which cuts out anything that was made before "conflict-free" came into being), I was on an airplane, flipping through whatever magazines they give you in the little seat pockets, and I came across a fact page on diamonds.

note: I do love diamonds. I love how they sparkle and shine, and they're my birth stone. But, with all that included, this is still how I feel. Strongly, if you couldn't tell already.

One of the random facts on the sheet was that it takes one ton of earth to be moved in order to find one 1-carat diamond. A ton of earth. That's crazy. Have you ever seen a diamond mine?

And we have people toiling and sweating and working for little pay, even in conflict-free mines, and (excuse my language) raping/violating/stealing from Mother Earth to get these shiny pieces of rock that we wear to look pretty.

Hmmm....does something seem wrong with that to you? It kinda sorta does to me.

Within a day or two, I came across (in another magazine - serendipitous, I know) information on man-made diamonds. Having all these things fresh in my mind, I was interested to see what the deal was. I'd always thought that fake diamonds were gross and fragile and yellowed and/or dulled over time, so I did a smidge of research on it the next time I was around Google.

Turns out that the original cubic zirconias were made by scientists who wanted to create synthetic diamonds in order to cut materials being studied. Not for jewelry.

Now, if you get quality fakies, they're completely clear, as hard as diamonds (they can cut glass), and (here's the part that got me) even a jeweler can't tell the difference. The only way to tell a quality man-made one from a natural diamond is to heat them. At some ridiculous temperature the weight of a m-m is different than the weight of a natural diamond.

So? On that day I decided to never buy a real diamond again. And got into fights with my bf at the time, and subsequent people, over the fact that I never wanted a real diamond. Ever. As in, engagement-ring-ever. (How does T feel about it? That's for another post...)

I'm cool w/ that decision (that happened 3 or 4 years ago). And I'm not gonna lie, the fact that it'll make my pockets remain heavier over time doesn't hurt.... :)

I'd love to hear thoughts on this one! I know it's controversial, but I think I'm making sense here...

Oh, and happy Thursday! Weekend tomorrow, woohoo!


Stephay said...

Works for me. This way I can save TONS of money buying you pretty cubic zirconia birthstones :)

The Shabby Princess said...

OK, so, I live in a city where big rocks are the thing to do (although, isn't that everywhere these days?--i digress)...Anyway! The only diamond I have is my wedding ring and I know my husband spent a lot of time researching before he bought it, but, of course, nothing is ever for sure... Sometimes, I get caught up in wanting a bigger ring (hangs head in shame), but, it's soooooooooo not worth it, ya know? Anyways, I'm a huge fan of (judge away) aren't uber high quality fakies, but, decent--and hey, if I want to look like I'm rockin' diamond studs, it's the way to go. And really, I've been wearing CZ earrings for years and no one has ever had any idea.... Ah.... victory....