Boyfriend: You've made me the happiest man in
the world. Emily, will you marry me?
Narrator: How sweet. You like it, so you're
putting a ring on it. But, have you ever wondered why we put diamond rings on
things we like, at all?
Emily: Oh, God. You're going to tell us the awful truth about
engagement rings, aren't you?
Adam Conover: Yeah, I am. Hi, I'm Adam Conover, and you may
think of the diamond engagement ring as a timeless symbol of love, but it turns
out this ancient tradition was invented less than a century ago by the De Beers
Diamond Corporation. Before the 1930's, nobody exchanged diamond rings when
they. It wasn’t engaged, it wasn't a thing.
Frank: Apple? What do you say we get married?
Apple: Oh, that's a swell idea, Frank. What'll you give me?
Frank: Well, I got this apple.
Apple: Sold. Oh, I love you, Frank.
Adam Conover: But, in 1938, the De Beers Diamond cartel launched
a massive ad campaign, claiming that the only way for a real man to show his
love is with an expensive hunk of crystallized carbon, and we bought that shit.
Frank: Now, hold on, looks like if I don't buy you one of these
ring dailies, then I'm a tiny peck of pencil-nick.
Apple: Well, it's on the side of a building, so it's got to be
Frank: Well, carrumphs.
Adam Conover: In fact, every element of the traditional American
engagement was designed to make more money for De Beers. How much did you drop
on that rock?
Boyfriend: I don't know, like four grand?
Emily: Jesus-Louise-us, that's more than your car.
Boyfriend: My dad said the rule was 2-month’s salary.
Adam Conover: Yeah, sorry, dude, that's not a rule, that's just
an arbitrary number from an old De Beers ad campaign.
Actor: Buy her a diamond worth one-month's salary. She'll be
sure to love you eternally.
Executive: Ah, profits are down. Better make it two months.
Adam Conover: This has got to be the most successful ad campaign
of all time. This is like if, in 50 years, people are were going...
Man: Oh, honey, the same thing again?
Woman: Yeah, you know that old rule, pizza in the morning, pizza
in the evening, pizza at supper-time. When pizza's on a bagel, you must eat
pizza all the time.
Boyfriend: Well, it's not like that I'm throwing my money away,
I mean, at least the ring is worth something.
Adam Conover: Actually, yeah, diamonds are intrinsically
Emily: I refuse to believe that.
Adam Conover: Well, maybe you'd believe de Beers chairman Nicky
Oppenheimer, who once said, quote, "Diamonds are intrinsically
Boyfriend: Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.
Adam Conover: In fact, they're quite common. The only reason
diamonds are even expensive is that De Beers has a global monopoly on diamond
mining and they artificially restrict the supply, to jack the prices up. But,
in reality, those assholes have a fuck ton of them.
Salesman: These are extremely rare. Pay no attention to that.
Adam Conover: Which means that diamond you just blew your
savings on has virtually no resale value. That's why De Beers wants you to
think a diamond is forever. If you never try to sell it, you'll never figure
out how badly you got fucked.
Boyfriend: Fine, so what do we do about it?
Adam Conover: Nothing. They've got us by the balls. A century of
advertising has embedded the idea of a diamond engagement ring so deeply in our
culture that, even knowing all that, doesn't get you out of buying an
engagement ring. Seriously, give it a shot.
Boyfriend: Okay. Emily, will you marry me? I'm not giving you a
ring because the concept of engagement ring is a scam on the part of the De
Beers Corporation. But, we could open a joint checking account?
Emily: Sorry, dude. I want that rock.
Boyfriend: Fuck, well, thanks, man.
Adam Conover: No problem. Join me next time on "Adam Ruins
Life's Greatest Pleasures", when I'll be talking about how puppies only
pretend to love you in order to mooch off your food supply.
Emily: Who hurt you?
Adam Conover: Hey there, if you liked that video, click to
Salesman: Where you going? Those are...these are...
Adam Conover: It's a scam, man. Come on.
Salesman: I know, they're fake. Why are you taking them?
Adam Conover: I thought we were still in the video.
Salesman: No, it's done. It's over. Just, please click. Hope you
liked it. Where you going? Don't...There may be small errors in this transcript.