Let’s pretend for a moment that everyone in the world is a billionaire, so there’s no such thing as status symbols. Everyone can afford a mansion on the beach, everyone can afford a Maybach, everyone can afford a hand-crafted, diamond-studded gold wedding ring.
Now, if the price tag no longer dazzles, then what are you going to buy for someone who’s near and dear to you in order to show them how much you care for them? An expensive piece of jewelry really knocks us out when we take it out of the box, but what if simply being expensive wasn’t enough, or was completely immaterial? What would you buy your girlfriend if you were both making more money than you would ever need by a few powers of ten?
The issue with buying expensive jewelry just because it’s expensive is that, once the initial dazzle wears off, you’re left with something that’s sort of one-size-fits all. The perfect piece for your anniversary may well cost a good four figures, you might be making payments on it for years, but if you’re only going into a jeweler and saying “What’s the priciest thing you got?” well then, you could really give that piece to just about anyone and it would mean exactly the same sentiment, right?
Selecting the perfect watch of piece of jewelry is a little trickier. It really comes down to two basic factors:
If you’ve forgotten that your partner’s favorite stone is sapphire, then a $500 sapphire piece is going to mean quite a bit more to your partner than a $2,000 diamond piece. Likewise, if they’re allergic to gold, they’re not going to open up a silver necklace and say “Why not gold?”
Now if we can snap back to reality for a moment: your partner probably isn’t a billionaire, and we’re willing to bet that you aren’t, either. Billionaires don’t buy jewelry, billionaires buy diamond mines. So let’s be honest: part of the appeal of jewelry is that it’s rare, and with scarcity comes value, and with value comes a higher price tag.
Why is a Gucci bag so precious? The design and the materials are identical whether you’re buying the real thing or a knockoff, right? And most people, even many experts, can’t tell the difference. Likewise, most people can’t spot a diamond from a cubic zirconia. But, the scarcity of the real thing makes it a lot more valuable. Jewelry and fashion aren’t simply commodities like plastic, lumber and gasoline. There’s something to be said for their scarcity, and something that we’re saying to our loved ones when we’re willing to pay a steeper price for something as rare and precious as the person who wears it.