Enduring Stories: Are Diamonds Really Forever?
A blog post by our newest team member: Naomi Franklin
Are diamonds really forever? The answer is not a simple yes or no. Left in the earth under very specific conditions, they may re-crystallize and re-form, explains Dr. George Harlow, a gem curator at the American Museum of Natural History and research scientist at Columbia University. On the other hand, if diamonds make it near the earth’s surface, it is “very hard to get rid of them,” in the words of Dr. Harlow. The amount of pressure and temperature it would take to re-form them is not available nearer to or on the earth’s surface. Therefore, in a sense, diamonds really are forever. (Citation: Are Diamonds Really Forever? C. Claiborne Ray, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/12/science/diamonds.html.)
This incredible fact is something that didn’t really dawn on me until I started working at Ruback Fine Jewelry. But it’s something that binds Hal to the jewelry industry. When I first met him, his deep passion for the industry couldn’t help but surface: as he explained to me, these gems will be around much longer than you or I. There is something enduring about them that transcends our lifespan.
What is it that makes diamonds or other precious stones valuable? I’m not talking about what makes them valuable as commodities, such as being extremely rare and hard to obtain from the earth, taking unbelievable amounts of time to form, requiring extremely skilled and specific methods for cutting them, etc. That’s what makes them valuable as objects. But what is it that makes them valuable to us as people? Why do we want to save and re-set our grandmother’s diamond? Why do we want to make a pendant out of the ring of a deceased spouse? Why do we take so much care in choosing the center stone for an engagement ring? We don’t cherish these stones merely because we know they’re scientifically proven to stand the test of time. Rather, we cherish them because they represent relational bonds that transcend the test of time. When we are gone, that diamond will remain, offering connection to those we love that remain after us.
Since joining the Ruback team, I have already seen this in action many times. As I am beginning to hear people’s stories, I see that their jewelry matters to them because their family matters to them. They may have an objectively beautiful center stone or an exquisitely-crafted wedding band, but their real attachment to their jewelry comes from something much deeper than monetary value: a desire to remain connected to their roots, or to establish roots that will remain. The young man who comes in to pick up his painstakingly-chosen custom engagement ring, and the older lady who brings her deceased husband’s ring to have it made into a pendant, have one thing in common: what their jewelry represents to them.
It’s something that’s actually very difficult to put into words, because the deeper and enduring aspects of life can be very hard to articulate. This intangible beauty of the enduring, of being connected to heritage, is something I see clearly represented in the pieces of custom jewelry that we produce at Ruback. It may be difficult to put into words, but maybe that’s why a piece of custom jewelry makes the best gift: the jewelry says it best.
Your custom-designed piece tells a unique story about your family and your heritage. It tells the story of the people who came before you, and has already begun telling the story of the people who will come after. Your diamond will be around much longer than you, wordlessly representing the story of your life. That’s why at Ruback we want to produce custom pieces that tell your story, a story that will be around much longer than we can even imagine. It’s one worth telling!