What do you think of romanticization of men buying jewelry for women?

Sharing a conversation with a non-blogging friend :)
IHM: What happens when a blogger’s friends visit them?

Anita Rao: They are grilled and interrogated about their attitude concerning those issues which you happen to be blogging about at that time…. :) First we pester you and ask you what you are typing, and then you return the favor… :)

IHM: :shock: ???

Anita Rao: …when you are trying to do a post, we interfere and then you turn the table on the hapless victims. :)

Anita Rao with the handsomest cat in the world.

IHM: What do you think of this ad?

Anita Rao: The jewelery purchase is being touted as an incentive by the husbands for the semblance of a happy marriage, whereas all along, before they saw the bill they were dreading with utmost chagrin and even the wives are being touted as good wives if they are not crossing the imaginary monetary line… “I hope it is not too much”, they have earned their brownie points by not seeking beyond what the husbands can afford.

The other message, it is not a joint decision, and that husbands’ sanction has to be sought.

IHM: What do you think of the two wives in the video? Do you blame them for wanting diamonds that the husbands have no idea they can afford or not?

Anita Rao: They are not over weight, they are good looking, low back blouse to convey femininity, so they are immaculate, their expressions are of innocence and approval seeking. The approval seeking is so much that had there been the slightest disapproval on the husband’s behalf, she would have been very prompt in her assent to abandon it, the good wife that she is. Showing that she has no actual interest in that piece of jewelery, that particular piece of jewelery, the deciding factor is solely his sanction.

The ad wants to convey that the prices are surprisingly low but they are also promoting a social more that husband’s sanction is tantamount…

IHM: What do you think of romanticization of men buying jewelry for women?

Anita Rao: Instead of romanticization of jewelry purchase and instead of letting the husband appear to have the sole discretion. The ad should have depicted a jointly arrived at sound decision, while these portrayals make women appear more frivolous instead of promoting sensible sensibilities. I am reminded of Uma Thruman’s belief that her parents had reared her like she had a head on her shoulders which caused her to behave like she did.

IHM: Anita I think you should be blogging!! :)

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85 thoughts on “What do you think of romanticization of men buying jewelry for women?

  1. First, I do not see why women want and desire jewellery so much. I personally do not wear any expensive jewellery. I do have the odd ornament, but those are mostly gifts from my parents or grandparents.

    Regarding diamonds, despite the Kimberly Process, there are still a lot of diamonds that are obtained with the blood of some people, and nothing will ever induce me to buy one and support a trade that has caused such bloodshed in the past, and is still not as aboveboard as we would like to think.




    • Fem, thanks for sharing this piece, absolutely had no prior knowledge on this one despite being a discovery/nat geo regular.

      IHM, my mother used to see jewelry as security but not my wife. Should I add that we are both working, but my mom was ofcourse a house wife.


      • Jewelry IS security (not the snazzy type though) and it makes complete sense (not just for women) to invest in them. The rate at which Indian currency depreciates justifies this fascination for gold and all things golden.


        • I know that this is the traditionally held point of view that gold is one of the safest investment option. But please take a look at what gold mining does to our environment…


          So i would rather invest in a social enterprise or any other company that invests in making the world a better place.
          To each his own :)


        • @Anonymous

          I wonder if it’s possible to make an investment that would offer financial security that doesn’t affect the environment or engage in some ruthless practice or other (think Apple, Foxconn and the labour in China issue).


        • @The Bride

          It’s certainly possible. There are several funds marketed specifically as socially responsible. Look up stuff like like PAXWF and Domini. These funds tend to be biased in favor of tech/service based companies which find it much easier to get the required green certifications for obvious reasons.

          There are also financial managers who have built up a very large client base on the back of their socially responsible investing practices. Greg Wendt, in L.A, is a prime example.

          As far as the equity market is concerned, there’s a lot of choice. You could also go for things like currency trading which are relatively benign in terms of direct environmental/social damage (but a lot more risky in terms of returns).

          Sustainable investing is pretty much nascent in India, but it’s been gaining a lot of traction in the developed world. It’s a good option for people who are willing to trade off slightly lower returns for more peace of mind and less guilt about destroying the environment.


        • @PT thanks for reminding me about the socially-responsible investment funds. They are something to consider and could be one part of an investment portfolio I guess but I’d still think gold or property would be more stable long-term.


    • Fem, I don’t wear jewelry much either and have only bought a ring after I got married, but what is wrong in a woman wanting jewelry? Some of us like books, some like clothes, some even like to buy new cars. I have a friend who saves every penny that her husbands gifts to her for all occasions through the year and buys jewelry using that money. I don’t see anything wrong in that. The desire for jewelry should come with fiscal responsibility – when that is absent, it creates problems. Or when buying, or not buying, jewelry becomes the point of contention between a couple, then I think they have a problem.


      • Nothing wrong with jewellery. Please just look at the links I shared. My point was completely different and I was talking about our social responsibility, and the reason I don’t buy diamonds even though they are cute and sparkly. And now, I will probably not buy gold either. Sigh.


    • I guess jewellery is just like any other product – for example, I don’t understand why people care so much for designer wear. To me, it makes little sense to spend so much money on clothes (atleast jewellery makes more sense because of its monetary value), but there are are many people who do exactly that. So it’s all about individual tastes and preference. Though definitely there is also a lot of social prestige attached to jewellery.


  2. Oh come off it, both men and women are frivolous sometimes! My husband was acting totally coy and bashful when I offered to buy him an expensive pair of shoes the other day. He kept nudging me towards cheaper pairs so I wouldn’t blow my budget, but I was totally playing the role of the magnanimous provider. Is all in fun, man or woman, as long as the power differential isn’t skewed in places that really matter. Any gift that one wants and is given IS a favour — how entitled do we want to be anyway?


      • Ah that works both ways when you’re a couple. Many of these ads are stupid, boring and anachronistic but shopping trips where one party is a little reluctant and may feel a little coerced are not soul-destroying. Women should ideally be able to afford their own baubles, but it’s all part of the usual give and take. Must we pathologize EVERYTHING?


        • No, everything need not be pathologized, but think about it this way. If my daughter would be seeing this ad, would I want her to get this subliminal message – this message of dependence ?


        • agree with everything but have a question: what if a women is slogging it out at home in a role that does not give her any monetary compensation?
          then does she swear off all baubles for good?


    • I would have liked this ad better if the woman was hesitant about letting the husband buy for her until she comes to know about the price. And then the husband persuading her to buy another one. That would have been much more romantic, sending the message of “affordable jewelry” without conforming to the stereotype of “women-wanting-to-spend-husband’s-money-thoughtlessly” and “women-needing-to-take-permission-to buy”.


        • Everyone has their own notion of romance. I wouldn’t feel romantic when my husband does chores. I would feel agitated if he wouldn’t do chores.

          But if one had to romanticize jewelry in order to sell their products, they could do so without making women look stupid.


        • I couldn’t agree more with you on this! I’ll buy me my baubles, you just do your fair share of the housework, and I’m a happy wife.


  3. Unequal partnerships … that is what it conveys. Marriage has to be equal partnership otherwise it is a master-chattel equation. Any purchase has to be a joint decision


    • Agree. This ad is humorous to a point and almost makes you forget its underlying theme – that of portraying women as powerless. It enshrines the tacit approval in society, that women must run all things by their male protectors – ok to buy this ? too expensive? Oh, the looks of helplessness! Teeth-gnashingly frustrating! Would have liked it much better if the women would’ve whipped out their own credit cards/checkbooks and paid for the diamonds themselves, or the husbands and wives would have decided on it together.


      • and what happens if the woman does love wearing jewelry (a lot of us do) and does not have the financial prowess to whip out a credit card or check book and pay for it because she is a stay at home mom with no independent income and her parents haven’t given her a fat ‘dowry’? (and here by dowry i mean given her the investments to provide for an independent income, not gifts to the groom and his family)
        most women in this situation, and there are an overwhelming number of them, are not equal partners in their marriage, simply because they don’t contribute financially, and are treated as lesser being who have to be grateful for the favours – clothes, jewelry, holidays, car, spending money etc – given to them.
        oh, i don’t like it one bit, but that is reality, and that is what this stupid ad is portraying.


        • I must clarify that I do not consider SAHMs as people with no income – they should be entitled to half of what their husbands bring in, because they are doing their work; the husband would not be able to work if his wife did not work at home. Of course practically speaking society ignores this, and SAHMs are considered lesser beings as you put it. An SAHM may not bring in money but she has equal rights over it, and spending it should be a joint decision (and I said that in my earlier comment).


  4. Hmmm, I thought the ad was ok – it seemed like how any expensive purchase might be perceived between a couple that has a joint account. The thing that struck me as slightly off was the giving the bills to the husbands at the end.

    Overall, I think the way diamonds have been marketing globally is astonishing. They have almost become like an essential that a certain type of modern woman must have. De Beers ‘Raise Your Right Hand’ campaign went one step further, urging women to buy themselves one and not wait for a man. So adopting a feminist stance towards a capitalist end.

    I must confess I love diamonds, I have used the ones I own like crazy. And I have made my husband buy me jewellery as payment for carrying, giving birth to and breastfeeding my son. I felt we were not at the stage where I could demand for an outright payment, this was a more palatable way. I did a lot of research – my husband got more into it than me – and I came to the conclusion I was better off buying gold than diamonds as an asset that would appreciate in value. The whole point of quality control in diamonds is that they can supposedly resold but actually you can never resell for cold hard cash, only upsize for a bigger diamond. So I bought a lot of gold instead, though my husband ended up buying me the diamond ring I liked anyway… to my irritation because I had decided I wanted a painting instead. As payment for the birth of my daughter, I’m going to get a painting.

    I don’t think that jewellery should be the only encashable asset a woman should possess but it does make more sense as a big ticket gift than a handbag or even some gadget that will only depreciate in value.


    • I like your transactional approach :-). It’s really honest and straightforward and more women should do it instead of becoming martyrs to domestic service and sacrifice. My husband thinks of it as hush money haha, works for me. I must confess i earned Rs 20,000 extra this month for hosting a dinner party for my in-laws hahaha. Made the pain worth it.


      • Yes, I could just have pushed for cash but I would then not know what to do with it (have no faith in the stock market etc.) and I happen to enjoy jewellery so this worked for me. Kudos to you for your party earnings.

        I think we must push to be paid for these services, especially when they don’t even out like in the case of childbirth, instead of just accepting praise about ‘how strong women are’.


      • If having a baby is a sacrifice that needs to be monetarily compensated, women should stand up for their rights over their bodies and refuse to have children!! Buy why ‘give in’ and let the womb and breasts be used if compensated?


        • Why should we refuse to have children? I want to have children and my husband wants to have children? We both got a child we love. But only I can do the majority of the hard work involved in the early part. I don’ think that’s going to even out no matter what he does because it’s a HUGE amount of physical, emotional, financial cost that only I can bear. So he compensated – in this case, financially – for it.


    • Doesn’t this seem anti-feminist (if I understand it correctly?) .. I mean I just find it uncomfortable to say that you made husband pay for all the things you went through? Is it about asserting really? I mean you can make the husband buy as part of the love & care ..etc but why as if it is in return for something especially of the type/in the sense you are mentioning.

      (I personally think that if there is any way the husband can pay for what you went through at the time of pregnancy, childbirth, breast feeding etc is to be with you and fully supporting you and sharing the ups & down with you which nothing can replace later. No, this is not an idealistic situation, I believe the baby apart from being in the mother’s womb is as much a part of both of them).

      Also- if we really want women empowered – shouldn’t this husband thing be discouraged?

      Please ignore the comment if it was written in a jovial note ..


      • I agree with Anil. I would expect love and support when I am doing things, not a payoff for giving birth (which I would only do if I wanted to, anyway). It is not nice, imo.


      • I totally agree with you Anil.
        “Also- if we really want women empowered – shouldn’t this husband thing be discouraged? ”
        This attitude IS what makes men believe that buying a few baubles compensates for the inequalities in day to day life- whether their active participation in rearing a child or household chores.


      • Anil, You couldn’t have said it any better. The best thing a man can do for a spouse, partner etc who is pregnant is to be supportive ( this works whether they are living under the same roof during the pregnancy or even if he is off fighting a war across the continent). If they are living under the same roof, then the next best thing would be to do a little more at home to help out. I am saying this because I personally know men who yap about support and sympathy during gatherings and them go home and just sit in front of the computer.

        But I also think that a piece of jewellery, a gadget or an accessory can be a token of appreciation or love, they should not and cannot serve as payment though, especially for carrying and delivering one’s own kid.

        Now let me add my 2 cents on that ad, I understand that they want to let the consumer know that their diamonds are not very expensive, but the way they have done it is not intelligent at all, I would call it even stupid. How many brain cells did they have to use to come with that concept.

        1)The husband calls his wife “jaan” but I really don’t see any connection between them. How hard would it have been for the husband to communicate how much they can afford to spend before leaving home.

        2) They have portrayed this woman as someone who the husband thinks is going to take advantage of his generosity in bringing her to the store to splurge and bankrupt the husband.

        3) The woman also IMO is being made to look either dumb, uninterested or incapable, by not being aware of how much she can afford,( which could be because she is not a participant in the financial planning). But which goes on to enforce the stereotypes that a woman does not know where and how the dough is coming from and is only interested in spending it.

        4) If we look for deeper meaning in the way this woman is being portrayed it makes me wonder if she is an active participant in other things like the children’s education planning, decisions about health and safety etc. She seems just so dependent and clingy and looks like the ” whatever you say” type.

        5) Why the f*** is the guy sprawled on the chair and making the wife turn, call out and ask him his opinion every time. How hard is it to move his ass from the chair and stand next to the wife, that way he can know how much the damn thing it costs without having a heart attack sitting in the chair.

        I want to know if there is an agency like the FCC in the USA or ASA in the UK where one can lodge complaints against ads like these in India. But even here unfortunately people mostly complain against things that are blatantly racist or too sexual.


      • Anil, I’m glad you voiced your thoughts because I’m sure many share your views. I was not joking. I think my action was feminist but what constitutes a feminist act can always be up for debate. However, I did not go this route to be feminist or to be assertive. I simply felt it was practical and fair.

        My explanation would be too long for a comment. I have posted it here: http://thebluebride.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/why-i-wanted-payment-for-labour-and-the-associated-work/


    • Expecting/ demanding/ accepting ‘payment’ for carrying, giving birth to and breastfeeding- its as though it was a transaction that was done for the husband. Its as though having a child was only a financial transaction- like renting out a womb and breasts. I’m not sure how money/ diamonds compensates child birth/ rearing? And should it, unless of course it is a clear surrogate understanding?
      If a husband/ new father/ new grandparents/ etc decide to give gifts on the birth of a new born child that’s a different matter- but this is, in some convoluted way, akin to demanding dowry.
      Wow! I still completely fail to understand how you feel compressed carbon is greater than any sense of ownership that you may want to have over your child/ birthing/ rearing.
      AS has commented about how she was paid for hosting a dinner party for the inlaws. Again- I’m gobsmacked. So everytime your husband meets your parents, do you pay him? Really curious!


      • This really saddens me as I think it only goes to strengthen the allegations that people make about women being gold-diggers. Also strengthens the old system in arranged marriages where the guy’s bank balance is seen and the girl’s ability to bear children and throw dinner parties.


      • Mokapot, I think you missed the part where I mentioned that the diamond was a gift but the gold was what I really wanted (and got as well) because I see the gold as something that will BOTH appreciate in value and I happen to enjoy. Being paid for what I went through – and which only I could go through – does not take away from the sense of ownership I have over my child’s birthing or rearing. Nor does it make me dependent on my husband.


        • Just read your post http://thebluebride.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/why-i-wanted-payment-for-labour-and-the-associated-work/. Still disagree with the transaction of pregnancy-labour-delivery-breastfeeding. While none of ‘us’, i.e the female sex, asked to carry the physical responsibility solely, according to me, it is not the fault of the male sex either that they be made to compensate financially for it.
          I think a lot of issues are muddled when you write- “So I would say, if pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding was a lovely and enjoyable experience for you and you see negligible cost to your financial situation, health etc. as a result, write it off. Or if it was hard but you think you have enough assets to your name to write it off as a gift to your husband, fine. Or if your husband makes so much other contributions to your marriage that the labour that only you could go in pregnancy and childbirth would even out, fine again.” The physical side of pregnancy is never pleasant- but the cost to the health of the woman can NOT be compensated financially. Also, what do personal financial assets- or the lack thereof- have to do with a child being offered or withe;d as a ‘gift ‘ to the father?

          “And we are supposed to be so happy that we have a baby that we forget the price we paid – traditionally this was the answer women were supposed to give when they were asked how painful their labour was.” NO- we’re not supposed to gloss over how nasty labour is. But how will money (in cash/ diamonds/ gold/ whatever) compensate? Again, why does the father have to pay for something he can NOT go through? And I still am unable to understand the grudging concept of “price we pay”.

          Where I do agree with you is this: “so does the woman who keeps a lovely home but she would still like something more than “such a lovely home dear” at the end of it.” But- I very, very strongly believe that the problem is that men think money compensates for women taking on the responsibility of running a house- that expensive jewelry given once a month will compensate for the 18 waking hours of un-shared responsibility every single day.


        • I would like to continue this discussion on my blog, if you don’t mind posting it there, rather than taking up more space on IHM’s blog. After all, this discussion is only tangential to her original post.


    • ‘And I have made my husband buy me jewellery as payment for carrying, giving birth to and breastfeeding my son.’

      I really, really hope you are joking about this…


  5. I bought a 40K set of gold jewellery for my wedding using my own money. I despise gold, but that was the only piece I was wearing and it had to be showy enough. I got something simple so that I could wear it later, but I haven’t worn it more than 3 times in the past 5 years. I insisted on buying a 25K platinum ring with a diamond for my husband, because that was the only jewellery he would wear besides a gold chain that he already had. I am contemplating selling the gold and buying platinum/diamond or diverting it to a property investment instead. I like to flip through magazines with beautiful jewellery laden women on a rare occasion, but I wouldn’t ever wear all that myself. And I would never ask my husband to gift me jewellery. Puke!
    The point(s) of the story:
    1. Not all women think diamonds are their best friends.
    2. Not all women ‘need’ their husbands to pay for their jewellery.
    3. Not all women like to drag their uninterested husbands on shopping sprees.
    4. Not all women ask for their husbands’ approval when buying jewellery (or anything that’s not going to be used in common) for themselves.
    And you know what? They shouldn’t have to!
    Women who are not financially independent may feel the need to ask for gifts or for approval when buying stuff for themselves, but I don’t think that it is required. My mom, for instance, always worries too much about spending any money at all on herself, always asks dad whether it is ok to spend a certain amount on something that is not for the ‘household’. I wonder whether it is necessary to measure our self worth in monetary terms… how much you contribute financially. There are other aspects that can never be counted in terms of money… the way you maintain a decent home, the way you bring up your children, the way you cater to the family’s needs. (Sigh! I think I’m slowly going on a tangent. I can’t seem to conclude my comment, so I’ll stop with what I’ve expressed here.)


    • If you like the look of platinum, why not just plate the gold white instead. I did that with some of my gold jewellery. Only you have to keep getting it done every five years or so but gold has better resale value than platinum or diamonds, should you need to sell it. Well, if you really would like to wear diamonds go ahead, but don’t see it as an investment. After much research I realised it’s not. Property is my investment of choice but generally jewellery would account for a drop in the ocean of a property purchase cost so better of just keeping the jewellery. The thing is that the price of gold looks like it’s just going to keep on appreciating. I would keep it even if not using it.


      • Thanks for the suggestions, Bride. I think I’ll simply buy gold bars/ those small coils if I think of investing in them. Property is far better, but maintaining property that you are not occupying could be quite an effort.


  6. Another one of those sad, cliched ads – as bad as the ‘marriage is end of fun in life for men’ jokes. it reinforces notions such as
    – a man still holds the purse-strings
    – it is okay to depict a man ‘real life’ but the women are always thin and model-like. This also reinforces the notion that the man is hardworking and has no time to take care of his appearance, while the housewives have all the time to doll up.
    – women are airheads and when they go jewellery shopping, they have no clue about the budget. Esp when the husband is paying (unhappily apparently), they don’t even have the courtesy to find out how much he can afford.

    men have been gifting women they love with jewellery from time immemorial. I wish the ad had captured the sentiment of love rather than the sentiment of being trapped. Also, since thier tagline is ‘now diamonds are men’s best friend’ or some such thing – it would have been great if they showed the women buying jewellery for the men.

    Personally, I cherish hand-made gifts.


    • I think the current crop of jewelry, especially diamond, ads also reinforce the belief that spending money somehow is the way to show appreciation, and really that at the end of the day shiny baubles make women happy like nothing else. A lot of men happily lap up this theory ‘cos it lets them off the hook- they can happily dash off to golf etc, while literally, the woman is left holding the baby!


  7. I wish this was romantic :( It was all so, I don’t know, typical. The stereotype of a woman wanting jewelry and the man waiting in suspense and worry about how much its going to cost.

    I like diamonds, and when we bought some, we bought it together, researched it and finalized it together -rather than that stereotype of husband getting up to pay for it! I found that ridiculous! Husband once bought me diamond earrings as gifts, but to be honest, I wished he hadn’t because I felt we could have bought better ones for the cost. Just as he hates to be gifted gadgets, I would rather buy things after loads of research :) Totally unromantic, I know :)


    • Tell me about it! I have agifted-gadgets-hating husband too! He spends months researching his gadgets and by the time the zeroes in on one, a better one has hit the market. Then we wait for the prices to drop, by which time another version appears. And the cycle repeats itself. Since he hates being surprised in these matters, and can never imagine surprising me with something I like, I went ahead and bought myself a two-wheeler (instead of using the car everyday / to save costs on fuel) and surprised him! :D


    • Smitha, I went a step further. When my husband got me diamond necklace and earrings, we actually returned it because at that point, I hadn’t done research and I wasn’t into wearing fine jewelry. My logic was that if it is coming from the same pool of money, I would rather have my choice.

      My husband is just the opposite. He loves being gifted. And I let him have the fun by gifting him often.


  8. I am financially independent, and do not depend on my husband for anything. I splurge on myself – clothes, bags, shoes, the works, but I never buy myself jewellery – that is one thing I want my husband to buy me. Or my parents. I do buy my mom and sister jewellery.
    I think jewellery is much more special when it is gifted – you think of the person who gave it to you every time you wear it. And yes, it IS romantic, at least to me. And as for the bill – if I expect someone to buy me something, it’s only good manners to check with them to make sure they can afford it at that point of time.


  9. Those men will complain about their wife’s jewelery buying who don’t think as equal partner. When husband and wife are considered equal,both of them will be aware of their financial situation. so there wont be such situation. when both are included in all matters of household be it buying a new thing or making some mutual fund, a wife wont go beyond her financial capacity to ask something from husband.


  10. hmmm on a tangent here
    first of all I cant afford expensive jewellery , so no wonder no lady likes me :) moreover i beleive WE ALL want equality so If i buy some jewellery for a lady then i do expect the same for me , men can wear jewellery tooo , I have a ear stud .. anyone listening there .. diamond stud would do :)

    and my birthday is in nov.. heck why wait till NOV.. I am willing to take presents in advance tooo

    and as the above comment dont mind diamonds coming my way


  11. My husband and I recently bought a diamond ring for myself. This was the first piece of real jewelry we bought. When my friends noticed, suddenly my husband’s rank went up in the popularity contest. I really don’t understand why this happens. When we spend the same amount of money buying something else, it’s not so romanticized. Only a wife wearing jewelry equates to a husband buying jewelry for her which indicates a good quality husband.How wierd!! A coworker (who I doubt knew my marital status) asked me, ‘which gentleman gave it to you?’. I told her, I got it myself.

    Another instance: a friend was giving example of her neighbor who buys jewelry for his wife to her husband and he said, ‘the neighbor must be having an affair’. I feel 2 things wrong here: 1.Giving example of neighbors as if to set a standard
    2. Assuming that a wife can be fooled into thinking their husband loves them if jewelry is given to her. Getting jewelry makes a wife disregard other indicators of husband’s infidelity.

    We as a society do have wierd ideas about jewelry.


  12. Let me put it this way:
    Jewelry makes an excellent present for women who are into it. If I were in the jewelry business, I’d certainly romanticize the aspect of women going gaga over a precious metal even if it wasn’t quite in line with reality.

    It’s silly to suggest that all women have some kind of metaphysical attraction towards diamonds or gold (or XYZ metal). My own wife wears minimal jewelry – a platinum wedding band, a thin necklace and sometimes earrings. She loved it when I gifted her that timepiece she was salivating over.
    For my mother, diamonds and gold it shall be.

    De gustibus non est disputandum – there is no accounting for taste.

    Such goes the proverb and such goes life.


  13. Mentioning the obvious, it’s not about any jewelery – it is about pieces which hold value that Indians cherish the most – gold and precious stones. I’m sure the case couldn’t be made about “eco-jewelery” (wood) or typical style enhancers (synthetic) purely to complement the clothes.

    Jewelery is seen here as a marker of who belongs to whom and who can afford what. The esthetics of wearing it are not of equally high importance.

    Personally I’m not a fan of big/expensive pieces of jewelery (“in your face” style) because a) it doesn’t feel safe to walk around with something so obviously showing worth b) it looks very pretentious to me. I also never buy jewelery for myself because I’m not too much into accessorizing.

    Interestingly though, my fiance pays a lot more attention to my jewelery than I do. And this is kinda shoking to see it coming from a reasonable practical man. Let me give you a couple of examples:

    1) I don’t sleep/ shower/ cook in any jewelery. That means, when I’m at home I take my engagement ring off quite often. It is just more comfortable and I don’t risk e.g. flushing my ring down the drain when I’m cleaning the bathroom. It doesn’t make me feel any less engaged or any less commited in my relationship. My partner on the other hand, jokes that my taking the ring off is almost an expression of temporary come-back to singlehood. For me this is ridiculous. And while I’m aware that he is just joking about it, because he doesn’t need any external validation of our relationship, it is pretty common in India to “label” women with jewelery that give out a lot of information about their marital status and social class.

    2) There are days when I leave the house wearing nothing more from jewelery than the above mentioned ring, and I feel perfectly fine with it. And then my fiance goes with a text like this: “wear at least earings, I don’t want people to think that I can’t afford taking care of you properly”. That just cracks me up because I really don’t care what “people” might think for one. And then, I think it’s nobody’s business how and with how much money he takes care of me. But as it turns out, for somebody brought up in this thought that jewelery is charged with social/customary meaning, not wearing jewelery comes as a surprise.

    Ok, wrapping up this long comment, the only romantic part in a man buying jewelery is his clear intentions and true commitment. And jewelery should be a symbol of nothing more than that. Anything else brings thoughts of women as commodity and that is just less pretty.


    • Oh yes, good point about it being a marker. I HATE it when my mother-in-law gives me jewellery. hate it hate it hate it. The last time, she made me circle around a room of people to show off my diamond bangles. Always making me dress up. Demeaning. Woman, that’s NOT where my value comes from.


  14. I have a colleague who recently got engaged to a guy, the arranged marriage way. This guy she’s getting married to is not, from a well to do family. In fact, he barely manages to make the ends meet. This colleague is the daughter of CA, and is quite wealthy. Now this woman had demanded a diamond studded platinum ring for her engagement, which the poor guy could not afford. She had to settle for a very simple gold ring, which she apparently detests. She keeps cribbing every single day about not being gifted platinum ring. I fail to understand how something as insignificant as that can make one happy…
    I know of several such women who think only way a man express his love for a woman, is by buying her expensive jewelery. And the woman gets happiness by showing it off to her friends..


  15. I love gifts, giving them and receiving them. right before our weddinghe gave me a tiny box and i saw a ring, i actually thought it was an american diamond ring set in gold, it was beautifu; and has earrings to go with it… so here i’m happily wearing it and he tells me during our honeymoon that he picked the stone personally on a trip to belgium and had it set…. i was shocked at the price i got out of him and realized i had indeed married a wealthy man .. ( huh who knew) all i saw was the ratty old t-shirt & jeans.. but ever since he knows i love diamonds adn he always gets me a diamond piece if he ever passes thru antwerp or for any event ..nothing big just cute chains, drops , bracelets etc., i cherish each & every one of them, they ate attached to a piece of my memories.
    of course i buy what i please in india but i like his taste in diamonds, simple and stunning. he likes my taste in shirts.. so i buy all his shirts – have for over 18 yrs…
    If your marriage is truly equal – who buys what should never matter. no one needs anothers approval..

    I did get a beautiful chain with twin inclasped diamond pendant – when my twins were born. oh i got showered well and good with goodies when i was pregnant and it still didn’t stop me cussinghim out during labor. i was not about to have any more babies not for all the diamonds int he world :-) but i did appreciate his love and caring and i cherish the pendant.
    the ad is a bit screwed up, but if the lady is not earning, guess she has to ask him for the money right??? goes to show the importance of financial independence..


  16. I think each woman is different. I have a love/hate relationship with jewelry. I dont like clunky jewelry, it makes me uncomfortable to have to manage it while I go about my everyday business. But I dont mind jewelry on occasion, when I feel like it…it does definitely make me feel more Feminine than I do on the days I dont “dress up”. Many women use jewlery as a status indicator or a security net, while for me, its more about when I feel like dressing up, I should have options. My MIL and SIL on the other hand love jewelry, the costlier, the bigger, the better. Different strokes for different people I guess. Preferences are different.

    If the man in my life buys me a gift, I will value it more, so yes, it is romantic to have my husband buy stuff for me, not necessarily jewelry, a rose or a piece of chocolate he sampled, on a non-occasion day will do. Rationally/Practically, I can buy what I want for myself, but I like the fact that he thought of me, and the indication of that through a gift even though his day was busy with the things he does. Its not the gift itself but the unworded admission of having me in his thoughts that makes it romantic.


  17. I despise the jewellery that is worn by desi women. It is heavy, overly apparent and it does not look good at all. If you are buying for security or whatever that is lame as hell, if you would like security via gold / silver – buy it for investment not some ugly piece of jewellery that makes you look like a golden marshmallow. (Opinions expressed are Glacier’s only).


    • Better to carry a brick of gold in a handbag. Great not only as a self-defence weapon but also as a biceps training tool. Plus, you won’t fly away in case of hurricane :)


      • Haha, I have grown to like gold jewellery but loved your arguments for a brick of gold. Sadly, my own girth stands me in good stead in hurricanes but the other points seem very valid.


  18. I have to second Fem here- I do not understand what is there to like in jewelery. It is uncomfortable, there is a risk of losing it and the money spent in that could be put to much better use. I do understand that this is all relative and liking jewelery is not a crime ;) The first time I actually went jewelery shopping was before the wedding. And even for that I got some light weight and “relatively” simple stuff hoping to get use of it even after the actual wedding day. Nothing of that sort has happened and it stays locked in the bank for years. After gifting me with a pendant, which I almost never wore, the husband also has stopped gifting me jewelery and sticks to electronics. Much preferred!
    In this particular advertisement, I would have liked that the husband and wife are shopping for it ‘together’, discussing openly what and how much they can afford, and then the wife buying that. Just sitting in the background and cracking jokes on how there is going to be a hole in the wallet is not really helping the situation, is it?! Or, they could have shown the guys shopping for some jewelery (rings, chains) and discussing with their wives if they can afford that. Personally I would be offended if I buy something and then the husband makes jokes about how the spending is burning holes in his wallet.


  19. ok, i found the ad funny and unimpressive. its not the kind of ad that stays with you.
    it would be nice for the couple to be shopping together, but when u shop with another family, it is customary for the wives to shop together. i also loved that the husbands are considering tutions to meet the cost, but not considering saying no to the wives. that does not appear as an option anywhere in the ad. :-)

    on an unrelated note, everyone has a different approach to jewelry. those who like it, great. those who dont, great for them too :)

    however, if u r considering gold jewelry as an investment, pls do yourself a favor and use physical bullion or etf instead. you will save urself the making charges and wastage charges. prerequisite: all women should try and have their own investment portfolio. why dont we teach our girls about investing for themselves and their families? why dont we admonish them the first time they say “all this finance stuff does not enter my head. i let my father handle it.”


    • //why dont we teach our girls about investing for themselves and their families? why dont we admonish them the first time they say “all this finance stuff does not enter my head. i let my father handle it.”//
      Well said HDWK!


  20. IHM, here is an article from 1982 about how the diamond cartel keeps the prices sky high and plays with human emotions to sell the overpriced rock pieces. In the video you have posted the advertisers are trying Indian approach, slightly different from the one detailed in the article in which men are supposed to give diamonds as surprise gifts :-)



  21. Like almost everyone said, it is stupid how the wives turn back and keep seeking the husbands’ approval, how the ad shows there is absolutely no planning among the couple before buying something expensive.

    Personally, I do not like expensive jewellery much, I love junk jewellery though. I hate how the society sees the jewellery as a status symbol, it is so ingrained that men feel guilty for not buying, and women sulk for the same.

    Sadly, my MIL and SIL too love gold jewellery. Whenever my SIL buys any piece of jewellery for herself, my MIL immediately says I should do the same too. It gets on my nerves when the 80 yr old grandparents of my husband make a face when I do not wear gold.

    People love to show off their jewellery, men saying they bought it, and women saying they got it.


  22. Pingback: Why I wanted payment for labour and the associated work « for whom the bell tolls

  23. I didn’t like the ad… and like how so many have already mentioned, it shows unequality in the marriage and the ladies playing duitful, coy wives who seek approvaland the message to be branded as “good” wives!!
    But, I do love junk jewellery! But, not a huge fan of gold or diamonds…


  24. I’m not a big fan of gold jewellery, though I do like diamonds. I have a lot of gold jewellery though, mostly thanks to a mother who loves jewellery and has been buying it for me from the day I was born. Ironically, I wear nothing more than my diamond engagement ring and a very thing gold chain, and I never take off either because I’m scared I will misplace them. For special occasions though, I let the other women in my life decide what I should be wearing, since my mother, sister, MIL and SIL all love jewellery.

    My husband would love to see me accessorize (it doesn’t have to be gold, even junk jewellery would do) so he keeps trying to tempt me by buying small rings, earrings, pearls etc. but I’m simply too lazy to accessorize. After years of effort on his part, I finally change my earrings every few weeks! I eventually told him that if he plans to buy me jewellery, to buy me diamonds or else not to buy me anything at all, because I simply don’t use them. So that’s stopped all the jewellery gifting.

    As for my love of diamonds, I think they’re very pretty and elegant. But I also think I may fallen for all the marketing hype about diamonds. That said and done, I’ve never actually bought diamonds for myself because I balk at the cost and wonder if they’re worth it, so all my diamonds are the ones bought by my parents.

    Gold is a great investment, much better than diamonds. But if you’re not into gold jewellery, then the best bet is to buy gold coins/bricks or invest in gold traded funds. I’ve so far limited my investments to mutual funds and fixed deposits, but looking at gold price movement in the last two years, I wish I had started investing in gold much earlier!


  25. I think romanticization happens because women are believed to be attracted towards jewellery, and though a substantial number of women may not desire jewellery, the common misconception that they do, forces women to like it unwilliningly. I think this is one of those things that we fail to interpret i.e. women desiring jewellery even when they have no particular interest. They seem to be following what the rest of the society is supposed to be following. I do not support the idea of liking something simply because you are ought to and because you belong to a particular gender, i find it very comical.


  26. If i had a husband i’d prefer he not buying me anything without asking me what i want.So jewelry is such a big decision especially if i ‘d wearing it. i have certain likes and dislikes and only thing i can tolerate surprises is in travels and trips !


  27. Personally not a fan of jewellery at all. I hate this ad, and the only thing I find even more disgusting is the Oreo ad I recently blogged about. I completely agree with you regarding the ‘dutiful wife’ bit; “If husband does not like it/approve, won’t take it”.

    In making ads, they necessarily assume (or utilise to their advantage) every stereotype in the book, and here they’re using the old ‘women love jewellery’ trick. They also use ‘women love clothes’, ‘women love shoes’, oh, and ‘women love shiny cars’.

    The last time I heard someone say ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ to my face I told them it was obvious they had never had a dog :P

    These stereotypes make my blood boil.


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