This week I paid a visit to Hatton Garden to sell my wedding ring. Hatton Garden is an unusual place; it has something of the mysticism and untrustworthiness of a Moroccan souk about it. The jeweller in the first shop that I went in to refused to answer any question other than with another question. “How much do you want for it?” he said, and then when I produced a figure, he replied, “Do you really think anyone is going to buy a second hand wedding ring?” I looked around his shop, which was full of second hand wedding rings with price tags on them.
“Would you buy a second hand ring?” he quizzed, head to one side.
“Umm…’ I said.
Unsure of how to answer this question I feigned interest in the contents of his glass cabinet, all the while thinking that If divorce wasn’t failure enough, going to Hatton garden to flog one wedding ring and coming back with two would really seal the deal.
“Can I just say something?” the jeweller said. “Do you mind if I say something? You need to sell that ring a.s.a.p. For your own psychological health. I know you want to get the best deal for it, but trust me, it’s not worth it.”
I was taken aback at the mention of my psychological health, which most people understood was in a box marked ‘Fragile.’
“I might put it on the internet,” I ventured.
He looked up at me with the anger of a belligerent father. “Why are you trying so hard?” he bellowed.
“I think you’re overestimating how hard I’m trying,” I said. “This is the first shop I’ve been into.”
“You’re attached. Trust me. But I’m telling you its not worth it- don’t count the pennies.”
Am I attached, I wondered like a doubtful Buddhist? “I’m attached to coffee,” I said. “I don’t think I’m attached to the ring.”
“Well I’ll swap you a latte for it then,” he retorted.
We were like Tweedledum and Tweedledee. But actually, such ludicrousness makes perfect sense in a place like Hatton garden.
Here’s the thing about diamonds: before 1870 diamonds were scarce, found only in India and Brazil. In 1870 huge diamond mines were discovered near South Africa and the British financiers quickly realized that the price of diamonds depended almost entirely on their scarcity. Investors merged their interests into a monopoly De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd., who made sure not to let their diamonds go the way of gold and silver and fluctuate in price in response to market conditions by coming up with a brilliant marketing ploy: Diamonds are Forever.
i.e. –don’t resell them
So what do you do in a place like Hatton Garden, that relies both on the sentiment attached to diamonds to flog them to the new customer for a great mark-up, whilst keeping a grounded foot in the reality that diamonds do actually have a resale value in order to get stock? Simple: the jewellers do business with you whilst making you feel desperately guilty about it.
Hatton Garden is a perfect place to end a marriage.
If I were a Muslim man I would choose Heart of Hatton Garden to call the triple talaaq leaving my ex to take a lonely stroll to the nearby Bleeding Heart Yard. For ring flogging, however, I might advise another in my situation to try the Internet. (Then again, I tried that with the wedding dress. I got back an offer for the full asking price, along with a request that all I need do first was transfer £500 into a Western Union account. I decided not to go with that particular buyer, figuring that there were plenty more phish in the sea.)
Diamonds are just one part of my wedding paraphernalia: there are also framed photos, DVDs, copies of the invitation and the menu, an assortment not unlike the contents of my bag after a trip to Harry Potter world. Why had we scrimped on the wedding fridge magnet?
Apparently by the time I get dementia, the people from the wedding DVD could all be made into holograms that I can interact with on repeat. Holograms, non-biodegradable cake toppings….its not just diamonds that are forever.