I’m noticing this image, a sales advertisement from a precious gems reseller, showing up a lot online in the last few weeks. Most notably being posted and shared on conservative social media.
The image is typically accompanying or begins articles or statements about over-reaching government, magic as science fact in school curriculum and ‘proof’ of someone’s opinions. Comments that follow this image are often supportive and in the realm of “Hear! Hear!” and “Well said!”. Like much of the items obliviously peered at through conservative-filtered glasses this as is either not critically evaluated or if read, not understood outside of how it is applied towards their predispositions.
Let’s look at this image and the message. To start with, this is an advertisement. It is public relations. That in itself makes any message and the intent suspect. A diamond reseller found it necessary to comment on what is being taught in schools? The origins of this ad are a bit murky but searches lead it toward being produced sometime in the late 1970s and 1980s. It is not of recent make and is awkwardly shoved in as support for whatever subject the person is attempting to apply it to.
Context is important. The ad references school and education. What was this ad in response to originally? This reseller is recognizing a disturbing trend that they could be legitimately concerned about, but more likely there was something occurring in society that they has or they fear will affect sales. But shoving this into a conversation in support of teaching creationism, cutting lunches or as a comment that America Has Lost Their Way doesn’t even make sense. Whatever it was that prompted this ad it has been used primarily in the discussions of the non-critical or magical thinker. For all anyone knows this could have been against teaching Intelligent Design in school.
Think about what was going on in the late 1970s and through the 1980s. Increases in civil liberties and equality, public awareness of wrongs throughout the world, the economy famously taking a periodic downturn and backlashes in 80s materialism. All of which directly or indirectly would negatively affect gem sales. Awareness of market manipulation and the sources of many gems, procured through exploitation and slave labor definitely hurt sales. The various recessions only helped reinforce the decisions not to purchase precious gems mined from questionable sources.
In the recent past the terrible sources of diamonds and other gems was hushed, ignored or obfuscated. Thanks to government regulations and embargoes in recent years gems newly procured must be conflict free. That is, gems must have been procured through fair labor and not used to fund criminal activities or oppressive regimes and terror organizations.
Today companies embrace as selling points that their products are not “conflict diamonds”. But this is only a feel good PR move for the consumer as miners and resellers have little choice but to do the right thing. Even as recently as the 1990s and later some politicians in the US argued against embargoes of gems mined by slave labor or sold in support of regimes participating in crimes against humanity. Why? Because it was their opinion that American women would not accept not being able to purchase diamonds. An horrific argument that eventually failed.
It is interesting that the ad mentions maturity and compassion, traits they are trying to manipulate in their favor. No one with any real maturity and compassion would buy a precious gem in that era. While the current sources of most gems may be cleaner than in the past some companies were built on the horrific exploitation of labor and human rights violations on a near genocidal scale.
The message in this ad is ultimately self-serving. Nothing inherently wrong with that. However with the exception of a comic book store no business would tell people to not buy their product because of negative-trending public opinions. They would make every effort to sway a disturbing trend in their favor. It is a matter of survival. Just be aware that ultimately this is about nullifying whatever may prompt a rational person to not purchase a precious gem by going against what was probably a trend of public awareness.
This change of heart in the origin of precious gems to the market was not out of innate goodness or morality on the part of the resellers. It was forced upon them kicking and screaming by governments. Profit over right is the reason governments impose regulations. Companies simply are not as a whole able to self-regulate in manner that does good for anyone other than the entity itself.
This ad smacks of a cynical attempt to appeal to a certain niche, prompting some sort of trigger to make a type of consumer feel community and thereby, maybe, spend thousands of dollars on a precious stone.
No thanks, 1980s marketing from company that sells rocks mined by slaves. I’ll get lessons in maturity, compassion & morality elsewhere.