Beloved? Sparkly? A cultural symbol of forever love? Certainly. Hardest natural substance known to man with the possible exception of lonsdaleite [source: Griggs]? Yep. Rare gem? Not in the least.
Diamonds are in such great supply that the only way to keep their prices high and maintain the illusion of rarity (and thus extraordinary value) is for the diamond industry to hold back the vast majority of its gems [source: Webb]. Were any significant number of those tucked-away diamonds released into the market, prices would drop, the illusion would be revealed, and everyone and his mother could afford to own a princess-cut rock.
The same would happen if any significant number of treasured "family diamonds" were put up for sale -- thus De Beers' brilliant "Diamonds are Forever" campaign, which convinced women everywhere to never, ever part with their gems [source: Epstein].
Next, the water we drink ...