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wedding rings, diamonds
Photo by darlene on Unsplash

No better sell than romance.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “a diamond is forever.” But as history shows us, that isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, having a diamond in a wedding ring is a fairly new concept, and it’s a brilliant lesson in the power of emotional marketing.

According to Weird History, proposing with a wedding ring dates back to the Roman Empire. Though, probably to no one’s surprise, the reasons for doing so were … less than romantic. Rather, simple bands were a symbol of a legal contract. On an even more unsentimental note, only women would wear rings, symbolizing a passing of ownership from father to future husband, thus marking this person as off the market, literally. How sweet.

ancient wedding traditionsRing? Or collar? Who's to say...upload.wikimedia.org



Roman women often received two wedding rings: one made of iron, and one gold. The iron ring, a symbol of strength, would be worn at home. The gold would flaunt affluence to the outside world. And just like today, the ring was worn on the fourth finger, because ancient Romans believed a vein ran from the finger to the heart. Weird History marked this as scientifically inaccurate, but there is a bit of nuance to be explored here. Traditional Eastern healing modalities (think acupuncture and reflexology), work with the concept of meridians, thought to be energetic channels through which life energy flows. The San Jiao meridian, also known as the “Triple Burner” or "Triple Energizer,” begins in the ring finger and passes through the chest to connect with the pericardium, the protective sac surrounding the heart.


So maybe—like many ancient civilizations—the Romans were aware of something we have since forgotten.


Once Rome fell, Europe continued the tradition of betrothal rings, but with a slightly more sentimental twist. Now wedding rings signified the promise of engagement. More like a pledge, less like a property statement. And the Roman Catholic Church first started to imbue the sense of faith, matrimony and divine union through the use of rings. Our modern-day sense of a ring symbolizing marriage vows began in this era.

Okay, but, like … where’s the diamond?

Fast forward to 1477, during the engagement between Maximilian I, Archduke of Austria, and Mary of Burgundy. It was a marriage meant to bring peace and expand the Holy Roman Empire. Talk about a power couple. Mary of Burgundy was the first ever to receive a diamond in a wedding ring, starting a new trend throughout Europe. Ring makers everywhere brainstormed new and more impressive ways of cutting and setting the stones. You could say that Mary of Burgundy was a jeweler influencer, before it was cool.

Diamonds at this time were incredibly rare, and therefore incredibly expensive. Not until diamonds were discovered in Brazil during the early 1700s would prices finally drop. And once South African diamonds were found plentiful in the mid 1800s, the shiny stone began flooding jewelry stores everywhere, and for the first time, diamond wedding rings were made affordable to the middle class.

That is, until the Great Depression.

de beers

Silver diamond studded ring.

Photo by Sabrianna on Unsplash

Financial devastation caused a crash in diamond ring sales. De Beers, the world’s largest diamond conglomerate, somehow couldn’t convince couples that spending what little money they had on an inanimate object to prove wedded bliss was a good idea. That is, until they began to capitalize on the idea of romance.

Using the power of glamor, De Beers bombarded the public with advertisements marketing diamonds as an investment in love, even having actresses pose in pictures to sell the idea (some things never change). Diamond sales skyrocketed 55%. So yeah, it worked.

From there, De Beers continued to entice potential buyers with the idea of bigger, better (read: more expensive) stones with even more ad campaigns. If diamond rings could somehow be synonymous with marriage, then diamond rings would become a necessity for holy matrimony. But how?

The answer is: with words.

This is where copywriter Mary Frances Gerety came into the picture. In 1948, Gerety was assigned to create a slogan that encapsulated the security and eternal romance guaranteed by owning a diamond. According to The New York Times, Gerety scribbled some words onto a piece of paper one night, and the next day presented it to De Beers. The paper read:

“A Diamond Is Forever.”

Gerety cast her spell, and it sold more than a million rings. By the 1960s, 80% of women in the U.S. owned a diamond ring. And it’s still an incantation De Beers uses today.

If there was ever any doubt on just how powerful words can be, let this story be an example.

The slogan might finally be losing its luster, as more and more couples are opting to use different stones, both for ethical reasons and to use different symbolism. For example, some might opt for a sapphire (signifying loyalty), while others might choose a ruby (for love and passion). Others still might do away with rings entirely. Two of my friends have tattoos on each of their ring fingers—the woman has a sun (her husband), and the guy has a moon (his wife). We live in a time where self-expression is making a renaissance, and it’s beautiful to witness. Tradition has its place, but, like with diamond rings, it’s important to know where those traditions are sourced from, in order to make empowering decisions.

For even more wedding ring knowledge, including the story behind Queen Victoria’s infamous golden serpent ring with emerald eyes, watch the full video below.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


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Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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