“Blood Diamonds” or Not, Diamonds are Not a Girl’s Best Friend…at the Office

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With all the “to do” and publicity about the movie "Blood Diamond," which shows how profits from illicit diamond gem trade were used to fuel bloody civil wars and fund terrorists, Denise Solay, a leading jewelry designer, thought it was time to get upfront about her thoughts on diamonds and their appropriateness in the workplace.

Denise Solay, one of America’s leading jewelry designers, writes in her monthly newsletter, The Accessory Edge® MEMO, http://www.denisesolaydesigns.com: "With all the 'to do' and publicity about the movie "Blood Diamond," which shows how profits from illicit diamond gem trade were used to fuel bloody civil wars and fund terrorists, I thought it was time to get upfront about my thoughts on diamonds and their appropriateness in the workplace."

Solay is glad to see that the diamond industry has taken some important steps to get this problem under control. But she has some serious concerns about diamonds in any case.

Today, diamonds can be so easily confused with much less expensive, man-made stones that are virtually impossible to detect without scientific testing. So, why would a businesswoman spend the artificially high prices for a diamond?

Here's an interesting example -- a friend accepted the kind offer of the jeweler next door to her store to have her beautiful engagement ring cleaned for free. A year later when she was having the ring appraised for insurance purposes she was informed that it was no longer a diamond. She’d been wearing a fake for a year and didn’t even realize it. (BTW the jeweler has just pleaded guilty and will be serving three years in jail)

Solay adds, "And please don’t fool yourself that you’re buying a diamond for investment purposes. Remember, you’re buying at retail (or almost retail) and you’ll be selling at less than wholesale. Soooo?"

Diamonds usually say more about what someone else thinks a woman is worth than who she is. They don’t speak to a woman's professionalism, sophistication, creativity or intelligence. Even items like the “Right Hand Ring” whisper “follower” rather than proclaim “leader.”

"Of course diamonds can be elegant for evening," says Solay, "but I believe they are totally inappropriate for the workplace. A modest engagement and/or wedding ring, or even a pair of diamond stud earrings, are usually acceptable. But, recently, many women have even opted not to wear any diamond ring that’s too noticeable to the office."

Women have an Accessory Edge

Solay's Accessory Edge concept says, "As businesswomen, the way we dress and present ourselves is so much more complex than it is for men, because we have so many more choices, and therefore so many more chances to get it wrong. But that’s a two edged sword, because it also provides a woman with what I call her Accessory Edge. As an example…a woman wears a suit, a man wears a suit. A woman wears a beautiful blouse; a man wears a terrific shirt & tie. A woman wears a well-designed necklace or earrings, and a man can usually only wear cuff links. Touché."

Jewelry is a traditional symbol of power and prestige

From crowns, tiaras, scepters, and medals to epaulets and collar symbols of rank, jewelry has traditionally projected a sense of authority, sophistication, creativity and intelligence. It can influence the perception of employers, co-workers, clients and even strangers.

Denise Solay has built her jewelry design business on the following concepts:

-- Jewelry projects authority, creativity and sophistication – essential qualities of leadership. And, businesswomen can use the power of jewelry to take control of their image and project who they are, and how they would like to be perceived."

-- Many businesswomen today, are uncomfortable about deciding which jewelry is right for the office and which will be perceived as frivolous. A bold, statement necklace and/or earrings are definitely appropriate. They are feminine and interesting and project authority.

-- And, If a woman dresses like an "ordinary person" she'll be perceived as an ordinary person.

Sure diamonds can be beautiful, but, there are dozens of other much more exciting, semi-precious stones that can frame the face and bring attention to your eyes.... the windows on ones intelligence.

Stones such as:

-- Aquamarine are believed to express courage, self expression, compassion and tolerance.

-- Onyx is believed to to give the wearer strength. It helps us approach any task with self confidence and cope with fears and worries.

-- And Amethyst was known as the stone of royalty.

In addition, Solay feels that precious metals such as platinum and gold are best for more festive occasions. Not the workplace. There is a subtle impression of “frivolity” about those metals, while silver is seen as clean and precise.

Some exciting research

We recently did some casual research showing the positive effects of wearing a necklace vs not wearing one. To receive a copy of the results, please contact us by emailing through the website. http://www.denisesolaydesigns.com going to Info & Press -- Contact Us and request "Research." I'm sure you'll find it as enlightening as we did.

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Richard Solay