Etiquette & superstition: diamonds

I seem to remember from my childhood the idea that it was inappropriate for a lady to wear diamonds until she reached a certain age. What that age was supposed to be, I can’t recall. I can’t find anything in my library of etiquette books about this, and the internets aren’t helping me either. I do know that because of current global labor and political conditions it’s kind of terrible to buy a new diamond without verifying a number of things about its origin, but that’s not what I’m looking for. I want to know the age that you might appropriately wear an heirloom rock without being regarded as a vulgar little trollop. I suppose I will have to keep researching.

ETIQUETTE: When two people have been married for 75 years, they celebrate their diamond anniversary. Because it is a very rare milestone that involves two extremely aged people, there are few dictates about how to celebrate the diamond anniversary. Seriously. You do not tell two people who are at least 90 years old what to eat at their anniversary party or how their invitations are supposed to look. Pretty much the only thing agreed upon by etiquette experts is that if a party is being held, it should be very clearly understood by the attendees that gifts are not to be expected. The reasons are quite practical, of course: there are very few diamond gifts that the average party guest will be able to afford (but maybe a vintage needle for a record player if you’re one of those party guests that simply can’t come empty-handed? A glass cutter?), and what the hell is a 90-year-old going to do with a diamond anyway? Maybe I’ll think differently on that last point when I’m 90. Probably not, though. For the most part, diamonds are not really my thing.

SUPERSTITION: The kind of diamonds that are really my thing are the cursed ones – the Koh-i-Noor, the Black Orlov, the Hope. They’re interesting to me because diamonds are supposed to ward off evil, bring victory and good fortune, and imbue the wearer with courage and strength. Sounds good, but with all those cursed diamonds floating around I’m just not so sure that you can count on a piece of ice being a stable sort of talisman.

And we’re just talking about flawless diamonds here – never mind the flawed ones. Your diamond has red or white or black spots in it? You’re going to lose all your money. Your diamond has flaws in the shape of a crow’s claws? You are going to DIE. No thanks. Give me an eye disease-curing emerald or flying insect repelling garnet any day over a diamond.

Photo by daniel spils on flickr; thanks to The Hairpin for the original cursed gem link

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