Perfection, like in Diamonds, Comes at a Steep Price.

I was watching the Sociology Channel History Channel the other night, and after my guilty pleasure American Pickers ended, this new show called, God, Guns & Automobiles followed.  It, like most highly scripted reality television shows, has its moments; but it won't be on my watch list because the main character, Mark Muller, is way too intense; and the premise of a show about selling cars is uh, too inglorious to be interesting.

At one point Mr. Muller was sitting at the dinner table, blaring to his three adult kids that he expects "perfection" from everything they do.  He tells them that "anyone who doesn't win first place is a loser." Yeah, well good luck with the rebellion that type attitude is going to instill in your kids.

If you're close to perfect you just
might be sainted.  
Anyway, perfection is a nice dream. Jesus was good at it. Gandhi, Buddha, Thomas Aquinas, MLK, and Mr. Rodgers all did pretty good. The rest of history's characters? Not so much. We humans are flawed. We like partially broken characters. We like damaged goods. As they say on American Pickers, we like our "stuff with a little patina on it."

This Mark guy's expectations of perfection reminded me of ring shopping.

Yeah, keep following, I'll explain.

My wife and I just celebrated our ten year anniversary, but it seems like only yesterday I was shopping for a ring.  I probably spent seventy five hours looking for the perfect ring.

I don't know a ton about women now, and knew even less then, but I did know that the wedding and the ring were pretty important--even when women say things like, "It doesn't have to be expensive, I just want it to be from the heart."

Women say things like that, and when we (men) don't meet their expectations, they compartmentalize our failures it into a part of their frontal lobe called, "future argument starters / antagonisms."

Anyway, I learned right away that I don't like diamonds.  This was right before the whole blood diamond debacle, yet it wasn't the dirty way diamonds are obtained that made me sour on that stone.  It was that there are so many levels of "perfection" when it comes to diamonds.

Most people know about the four C's of diamonds: color, clarity, cut, carat, (some have added conflict-free or certification as a fifth element) but most people just trust the salesman will steer them in the right direction when it comes to actually purchasing the ring.  If you know me at all from my blog, you know I'm cheap, and I don't like salespeople, (beings that I was one) because most are more concerned with their own commission than actually helping the customer find the right item. Plus with engagement rings, there's the whole DeBeers myth/adage of spending "two months salary" on the ring.  Yeah, not going to happen.

So I researched the heck out of diamonds. I found websites where dealers (and pretending laypersons) can buy wholesale stones; I found people selling diamonds taken from dead people's jewelry; I found dealers telling me that their stones had patented "sparkle patterns;" but the most annoying aspect of buying diamonds is that every jeweler is trying to sell "perfection."

Recently sold at auction for 23 million dollars.
I guess my bid for 24 million was invalidated?  
Most people know that a flawless diamond is clear.  Clear as in, the color is completely transparent. D color is the clearest color available, (whereas anything from n-z is yellowish in color) and almost no diamond is actually "flawless" in clarity.  Most diamonds aren't VVS1 or even VS1 (very, very slightly included or very slightly included).  99.8% of diamonds are flawed.  Chocolate diamonds (or LeVian) diamonds are really just heavily included (carbon or other minerals) that cloud the opacity of the stone. Before they were called chocolate, they were called industrial...and they were worth a whole lot less.  

Yet even with the near impossibility of the physical changes necessary to produce a perfect diamond, nearly every diamond retailer was trying to sell me "flawless" diamond rings.  Salespeople told that I needed D color, VVS1 clarity, on top of a huge carat stone for her to really like was all so...greedy and materialistic.  Most of these quality rings were over $5000 dollars in the half carat range!

I eventually found a stone that wasn't perfect. You'd have to take an eye lube to see its flaws, and it isn't  as translucent as a bottle of Fiji water, but you'd have to be gemologist to see its actual issues. I got such a good deal on the stone, that the lady who sold it to me later got fired (in my defense, I repeatedly asked her if she was sure she was giving me the right deal). I took that slightly flawed diamond and had it set next to two sapphire trillions in a custom platinum ring that I designed and had made by a  Portland company called It appraised for over ten times what I paid for it.

From's website.  Mine (or rather, my wife's) is the one on the right.
I added the sapphires to give it some pizzaz.  

Anyway, the point I'm making with this whole article is that nobody likes perfection. Perfection is hard to achieve, and often at an awful price.  Look at Lance Armstrong, Mel Gibson, Tiger Woods, Justin's tough to be at the top of your game. Maybe it's better to have a few unsightly issues than to be so rigid that you fissure due to perfection pressure.

We all have inclusions and colorful events that dirty us up a little. Maybe instead of looking at each other with eye lubes, trying desperately to find faults in each other, we could see the other ways we've adorned our lives. Its funny how I love variance, variety, and chaos in nature, yet expect humans to be some robotic form of perfection.  Thank you, God, Guns and Automobiles and diamonds, for making me see the ugliness of perfection, and finding the beauty of imperfection.


  1. It takes talent to parlay God, Guns, selling cars & diamonds into a coherent thought. Bravo.

    I was fortunate enough to know a jewelry store owner well enough to get steered in the right direction on my ring for the Mrs. He actually pointed out the imperfections to me and then gave me a great deal. (Chris - us cheap guys have to stick together)

    1. Yeah, I even lopped off about three hundred really was a difficult piece to actually make a point.

      We should start

  2. Your wife's ring is absolutely beautiful! As far as diamonds go, I just don't understand the need to have the best of the best. Greg had mine set with family diamonds, and he told me that one diamond had a piece of charcoal in it. We looked and looked for that dot of black, and we never saw it up until a few months ago. Even now that I know where it is, I have to really look and twist my hand around to see it. I like that it's not "perfect". It's beautiful and meaningful *with* its imperfections; the same way people are. I love the way you tied all this together and made me think. It's all so true.

    1. Technically, there's some black speck in my wife's diamond as well, but it takes an eye lube to find and realistically, nobody has ever looked at the ring and said, "What's that!" I think if they did I'd tell my wife we can't be friends with that person anymore.

      I'm glad two people think it's tied together...I still think it is two different blogs...

  3. The information about diamonds was interesting-and what you assume most people know about diamonds isn't necessarily the case. I, for one, being from an anti-materialism era and sub-culture, know practically nothing about diamonds. Though I'm a girl, diamonds are not my best friend, more like a distant relative. But I know I'm a minority. Really, I would much rather be surprised with a trip around the world than with a gift of a perfect diamond (neither of which is happening). The striving for perfection, though, can become crippling in a person and ultimately steal all the life out of living. And rob you from loving, too, because all those imperfect klutzes keep stumbling through your perfectly-assembled world and knocking things over.
    I'm curious about the 300-words that were cut, because I was thinking there could be more development on the subject of perfectionism and its ugly (or seriously flawed) underside.

    1. The extra 300 words was about the formation of diamonds through extreme stress (pressure), heat, and time. How the littlest variable can extremely effect the outcome. How laborious the cutting and polishing process is... In essence, the process of creating the sparkling diamond we see is the result of intense processes. We are all beautiful, just some of us are formed in better conditions than others. IDK, there was a lot more than that...

  4. Flaws make a diamond more interesting, ergo beautiful, in my humble opinion. I have been trying to let go of my perfectionist tendencies for a while (you've probably gathered that from my blog posts beating that horse to death), and I feel much more interesting now that I'm willing to accept that I will never be a "together" person. Nobody likes those people, anyway.

    1. I knew a couple of people who "had it together" and they crashed hard.

      I'm not saying I like basket cases, but people who are a little rough on the edges are usually good people.

  5. Good stuff, Chris.
    BTW, I've got a "loupe" or two around the place, but isn't an "eye lube" some sort of eye drop?