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Clarity, Cut, and CultureThe Many Meanings of Diamonds$
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Susan Falls

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479810666

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479810666.001.0001

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Diamonds and Bling

Diamonds and Bling

Chapter:
(p.129) 5 Diamonds and Bling
Source:
Clarity, Cut, and Culture
Author(s):

Susan Falls

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479810666.003.0006

This chapter illustrates how diamond consumption is read as a poetic practice, in which an extraordinary form of diamond wear is treated as a foil by those most directly targeted by diamond marketing. It analyzes how “bling,” which are big, flashy diamonds that are worn in ways that cut against standards of gender and style promoted in ads, works as a symbol of glamor or status, but by calling attention to itself and its sign-hood, invites a critical, questioning engagement. Bling acts as a poetic device that instead of reflecting, or even pretending to reflect, cultural norms, it has the potential to create new knowledge, ideas, and relationships. Since poetic devices always come into view within historical context, bling must be situated in a cultural landscape, between De Beers and hip-hop stars. The chapter explores how white middle-class consumers interpret bling, analyzing consumers' ideas about hip-hop artists who flaunt them.

Keywords:   diamond consumption, poetic practice, diamond wear, diamond marketing, glamor, status, bling, hip-hop artists, De Beers

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