Sunday, August 12, 2007

Unchained Melody

There is a bridge in Italy where lovers profess their feelings. They write their names on padlocks and attach them to chains on the bridge. Then they throw the keys symbolically into the river.

How does that make you feel? Are you awash with feelings of romance - what could be nicer? A bridge in Rome. Lovers making commitments. Is it a beautiful thing?

I have to confess that it makes me feel the exact opposite. It seems to me to be a neurotic act. In a way it reminds me of the chastity belts that crusading knights would force their wives and daughters to wear while they were away (though that might well be a myth).

Learning to be with another isn't helped along by melodramatic displays. The engagement ring is another example of the phenomenon - cunningly created and exploited by the DeBeers

De Beers (through its sales and marketing arm, the DTC) has been very successful in increasing desire for diamonds. The famous advertising line "A Diamond is Forever" (attempting to discourage diamond owners from putting their older diamonds onto the secondary market, thus limiting competition) was coined in 1947 and the company has created many successful campaigns since then. One of the most effective of these has been recognising the diamond as a symbol of love and commitment and therefore the ideal jewel for an engagement or wedding ring.

Some of the campaigns started by De Beers include the "eternity ring" (as a symbol of continuing affection and appreciation), the "trilogy" ring (representing the past, present and future of a relationship) and the "right hand ring" (bought and worn by women as a symbol of independence). Wikipedia


A diamond encrusted padlock perhaps?

Original story (NYT)

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