A question for Mathematicians – What is (monogamy)100

So asks the copyranter over this latest example of human stupidity:


What’s even funnier than the absurd notion that a “Hearts on Fire” diamond will buy you monogamy (or that diamond purchases aren’t so frequently given in penitence for the sins of infidelity) is that really all it says is your man is a sucker.

Not everyone agrees that the cut is special. If you wander New York’s diamond district on 47th Street and ask about Hearts on Fire, you’ll hear that it’s just another ideal-cut diamond, differentiated only by its marketing.

Charles Rosario, a senior vice-president at Lazare Kaplan, another company that makes an ideal-cut branded diamond, says that even a cubic zirconia can display a hearts-and-arrows pattern, and that the pattern is not a “scientific criterion for brilliance.” Some of the disparagement, though, stems from annoyance that Rothman was the one to capitalize on the marketing potential of the hearts-and-arrows pattern.

Basically, this diamond costs you about 30% more, but there is no actual value added by the branding. In other words, it’s just a scam. You can get any diamond cut in this pattern, but they put a slogan on it, and therefore can charge you more. I find it astounding how easy it is to part a fool and their money, and that slogans like (monogamy)100 work. What does that even mean?

Like the Copyranter asks “If my future wife bangs the entire roster of the Manchester United football squad a week after I give her a HOF diamond, do I get 100 times my money back?”

I don’t know. Maybe he should. Is it an explicit guarantee? If not, then you’re just (stupid)100 for spending 30% more on a slogan.


  1. Hmm. Monogamy, 100 times over. Maybe that’s why it’s more expensive; you’re supposed to reuse it. The cost per relationship is probably quite low, actually.

  2. It is monogamy succussed to a 2C dilution. By extension, since “like cures like”, I think it means that abusing yourself psychologically and denying yourself sexually for two months is a homeopathic preventative to a lifetime of marriage.

  3. Of course marketting works. How else do you explain Coca Cola, basically coloured carbonated sugar water, becoming one of the most familiar and lucritive brands in the world? How about those loonies who buy bottled water, something they can already get for free?

    I like the comment that suggested that monogamy was less than or at most equal to 1, and therfore raising by a factor of 100 might be quite detrimental.

  4. This is just a variation of the old De Beers and N. W. Ayer marketing of diamonds that got started in the 1930’s. This article is from 1982 but it does a good job describing the hows and whys of making the diamond into a symbol of “eternal love”.


    This was one of my favorite lines.

    DeBeers devised the “eternity ring,” made up of as many as twenty-five tiny Soviet diamonds, which could be sold to an entirely new market of older married women. The advertising campaign was based on the theme of recaptured love. Again, sentiments were born out of necessity: older American women received a ring of miniature diamonds because of the needs of a South African corporation to accommodate the Soviet Union.

    Makes my heart go all a pitter patter.

    As a side note, I always hated to De Beers diamond commercial. The people were always shadows meaning that they are not really there. The only real thing was the fricking diamond. I thought it was demeaning.

  5. okay, perhaps I’m missing something, but isn’t the “mono” in “monogamy” a reference to the number “1”? And isn’t 1 to any power still 1? The way I read it, even the marketing is laughing at you.

  6. Of course, the whole “you need to buy an engagement ring” and the two month salary guidelines are all industry/marketing created.

    I guess it is kind of romantic to consider the possibility that a fourteen year old Sierra Leonese boy died getting that rock to market.

  7. Molly, NYC

    . . . really all it says is your man is a sucker.

    And a Gentile.

  8. “And a Gentile.”

    Hmm? Educate me, please.

  9. A commenter at the copyranter pointed out an alternate: the idea that the diamond is “greater than” monogamy, in an Ace beats a 2 kind of way.

  10. I think (Monogamy)^100 = Monogamy. If they wanted to impress me with this ad they would have called it 100*(Monogamy), since that’s a nice big harem.

  11. I think (Monogamy)^100 = Monogamy. If they wanted to impress me with this ad they would have called it 100*(Monogamy), since that’s a nice big harem.

    I don’t think you’ve really got the hang of the monogamy thing. 🙂

  12. I thought the idea was to induce fidelity in women. I don’t think guys who are having a huge enough meltdown that they feel compelled to throw diamonds at women are the sorts who are themselves monogamous.

    Besides, that was the only interpretation I could think of for 100*(Monogamy).

  13. Anonymous

    I’ll be happy if their audience even knows what exponentiation is.

  14. How bout I just get a cubic zirconia, keep my money, and she can cheat on me a couple times?

  15. Anonymous

    “How else do you explain Coca Cola, basically coloured carbonated sugar water”

    You forgot the caffeine…we likes the active ingredient

  16. Anon,

    Coca Cola is different, while marketing plays a part, it is not the only aspect of the product.

    It is caffeinated sugar water, and it is pretty cheap when you think about it (don’t be knockin my caffeine). Now, if there were an exactly 100% identical product sold for 30% less, it would be pretty silly to buy Coca Cola. But there are issues of flavor and taste etc.

    If instead you suggested “Dasani” water, then I’d give it to you. Same crap as out of the tap but for a buck, and no one can distinguish between dasani and tap (except in locales with crappy tasting – but still safe – water).

  17. Talk about stupid. I don’t understand why people like jewelry so much in the first place (zomg shiny!). It’s a complete waste of money. I’m not even going to order a class ring for high school. 😛

  18. Crudely Wrott

    I once had a fine crystal of quartz ’bout three-eights of an inch on a side and quite transparent. Suspended near its center was a tiny fern, or branch. Something unmistakably tree-like and standing out in crisp contrast. When the light glanced off it just so I could see the fronds and branches moving, flexing, as if growing. Moss agate, prime specimen, most engaging.

    Diamonds? Shards of glass, cleverly treated and slyly marketed. Unless of course they are ground up and embedded in a plastic matrix that I can use to keep my chisels and plane irons sharp. Then they have value measurable in units of predictable usefulness. Such value is not reliably realized when diamonds are merely given away.

    But then there are the romantics among us. {smile}

  19. Valhar2000

    Yeah, the romantics among us, people who get married because that’s their life’s goal, and because they think they should, and spend a year and a half planning a wedding that looks just like all the other weddings and costs 50% more, only to get divorced 5 or 10 years later and repeat the process twice before they die.

    I tell you, americans are really weird about weddings…

  20. Diamonds are for morons.
    The universe is teeming with boring diamonds and quite soon we will be able to produce diamond in whatever quantity or shape we like.
    Each and every fossil is an absolutely unique in the universe reminder of the wonderful diversity of life. Which would you rather have?

  21. No particular plans on my part, but I’d go for something other than a diamond if I was forced to remain in gemstones. Having a variety of color choices is nice. After all, it’s irritating enough when I can’t get a videogame system in basic black when I want basic black. For an item that’s supposed to be worn for longer, it’s even more critical to get a color you like.

    But I imagine setting a small fossil onto a ring would be an interesting thing to try. 🙂

  22. “But I imagine setting a small fossil onto a ring would be an interesting thing to try. :)”

    Now that’s something I could get down on. Of course, my girlfriend doesn’t wear jewelry to speak of (one plastic skull and crossbones necklace is all) so I wouldn’t really need one.. but I love the idea.

    Hmm… what about amber, would that work? It’s not a fossil, but its in the same vein.

  23. dasani water?
    ah yeah the one coke brought to the england way after most markets.
    Problem numero uno it soon came out it was treated tap water.
    this was a problem but i am sure they could have recovered however second story was them having to recall it cos their treatment of the tapwater added a shedload of some carcinogen.

    they are off licking their wounds for a year or so before retrying the english market.

  24. spazzy mcgee

    There isn’t a whole lot about the Diamond industry that isn’t manipulated by DeBeers. They have an actual, literal monopoly: diamond prices in a given country correspond to what (very expensive) marketing campaigns can convince people to spend. That’s why you can get better quality diamonds for less in Hong Kong than in, say, Canada.

    So… yeah. With diamonds you will pay for branding, sometimes even if you aren’t buying a special brand. You’re buying into that crazy diamond cache. Synthetics do the job aesthetically, but aren’t as valuable.

    The reason diamonds make sense for wedding jewellery is that they’re hard(er than anything else) & can take a beating in a ring that gets knocked about daily. Also, high difraction (if paired with a good cut) gives them pretty colours when they sparkle. But topaz, and a lot of stones, are way way rarer.

    Me, I’m with you on fossils… if my boyfriend ever gets down on one knee, he’d better have a hella-big trilobite to prove he’s worth it. 😉

    (p.s. You can totally get fossils set into all kinds of jewellery.)

  25. spazzy mcgee

    Re: amber.
    Yeah, oh course it works. Amber is an organic gem (big in Poland, I’m told). Again, man-made is cheaper than natural, and you can get all kinds of critters & plants embedded in either.

  26. Value comes from scarcity. If scarcity doesn’t exist, it can be created artificially to add value.

    The princible behind diamonds and copyright.

  27. So, about the ad… The fellow realizes the girl he chose is a cheater. Instead of dumping her for someone faithful he spends a few months salary to buy her a magically cut rock that will stop her eye from wandering. The lesson for her: cheating or even just making him think you will cheat gets you pretty prizes. What were they thinking?

  28. I have to point out that not only are these ads insulting to mere mortals, but if you happen to be an immortal and buying a diamond, “Diamonds are forever” is an outright lie. Zirconia is forever. A diamond might not even last until the next contintental rift.

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