Diamonds are often pilloried as a manufactured product, but sometimes the industry trends that capture the public’s imagination spring up organically. The trade didn’t invent the term bling, or encourage rappers’ obsession with diamonds. Nor did it have much to do with push presents. Perhaps that is why those trends ended up having real juice and staying power, while blatant ploys like the two-months’ salary guideline just turned off the public.
And now we have engagement-ring selfies—which, for those who don’t know, involves a woman snapping a photo of her freshly ringed hand and posting it on Facebook or Instagram. It is not clear who first sparked this—Hello magazine suggests it was celebrities—but it is now a real trend, which some take pretty seriously. “You may not be into mirror selfies, post-workout selfies, or duck-face selfies,” proclaims The Knot, “but the ring selfie is something sacred.”
How sacred? There is now a trend-within-a-trend of women getting plastic surgery (which generally costs $2,000 to $3,000) for hand-lifts to get their hands selfie ready. One plastic surgeon says he’s now seeing two or three patients a day coming in with concerns regarding selfies. Another told The New York Times: “Once you see what your hand looks like on your computer or phone, you start to notice things you didn’t think were a problem before.” (Allure cautions that a good retoucher should be able to achieve the same effect at a fraction of the cost.)
This all might strike you as silly if you are not into social media—and maybe even if you are. For some, these shots are a quick way to show off their fancy new diamond—and doing it on social media is easier and quicker than displaying it to all your friends in a bar.
But for others, it’s something more. This trend speaks to the power of an engagement ring. “A young woman’s excitement upon receiving a diamond engagement ring is not just about the diamond,” says Martin Rapaport. “She has received much more than a diamond. She has got a man.”
Engagement rings send a message. And if social media is good for anything, it’s disseminating a message. “The #ringselfie is an increasingly common way for women to share their updated relationship status with friends (and followers),” writes Popsugar.
In other words, many see the ring selfie as their version of an engagement announcement, a signpost of a profound change in their life, as much as the actual ring. No wonder people take them seriously.
The industry didn’t invent this trend but can take heart from it. These pics not only show how beautiful our products are but demonstrate that people still find them meaningful. People wouldn’t care about their ring selfies if they didn’t care about their ring.