This astonishing documentary investigates how an advertising slogan invented by Madison Avenue executives in 1948 has come to define our most intimate and romantic rituals and ideals. The Diamond Empire, which sent shockwaves through the transnational diamond industry when it first appeared, systematically takes apart the myth that “diamonds are forever.”
It exposes how one white South African family, through a process of monopoly and fantasy, managed to exert control over the global flow of diamonds and change the very way we think about courtship, marriage, and love – an achievement all the more stunning given that diamonds are in fact neither scarce nor imperishable.
Zeroing in on how “the diamond empire” managed to convert something valueless into one of the most coveted commodities in history, the film provides a riveting look at how marketing and consumer culture shape not only global trade and economics, but also our very identities.
Second only to Christmas, Valentine’s Day is the holiday when diamonds are most often given as the ultimate token of love. Central to the diamond’s role as a romantic symbol is the false belief that diamonds are one of the rarest, most precious gifts for a loved one.