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Taylor Harbin
11-19-2014, 04:16 AM
I'm rewriting a short story about a man who is trying to find a canary diamond that his father allegedly had. Instead of a contemporary story, it's now set near Puxico, Missouri in 1932.

I've put the diamond's size at five karats on a gold 14k ring. I've tried Googling this, but haven't found any information on what it would be worth in the early Depression years. Ballpark figures would be good enough.

On top of that, how would an ordinary farmer learn about such a rarity? My grandfather used to tell me about Puxico, and it's safe to assume that there were no jewelry stores or local experts to consult. I'm looking for a printed source he could read to fuel his speculation about the gem's value, motivate him to keep searching.

Thanks in advance!

Marlys
11-19-2014, 05:42 AM
I browsed some jewelry ads in the 1931-32 NYT, and didn't see any rings that fit your description. I think it would be easier to figure out what you want the ring to be worth, then find one a piece of jewelry that fits the price range.

As for how the farmer would learn about the value of jewelry: newspaper ads (if his town isn't big enough for a jewelry store, he might get the paper from the nearest big city), newspaper stories about robberies (stolen was Mrs. Wanamaker's 4-carat diamond ring, an emerald-cut valued at $XXXX), the society pages (...gave her a 2-carat marquise cut diamond engagement ring rumored to cost XXXX), village gossip (The mayor's new wife has him wrapped around her finger--they say he paid XXXX for that diamond! It's gotta be over 3 carats!). Radio stories might cover similar subjects.

I also think he wouldn't need to know exact value to want to find a diamond during the Depression. Whatever it was worth, it would pay some debts and/or put food on the table.

Taylor Harbin
11-19-2014, 07:03 AM
I browsed some jewelry ads in the 1931-32 NYT, and didn't see any rings that fit your description. I think it would be easier to figure out what you want the ring to be worth, then find one a piece of jewelry that fits the price range.

As for how the farmer would learn about the value of jewelry: newspaper ads (if his town isn't big enough for a jewelry store, he might get the paper from the nearest big city), newspaper stories about robberies (stolen was Mrs. Wanamaker's 4-carat diamond ring, an emerald-cut valued at $XXXX), the society pages (...gave her a 2-carat marquise cut diamond engagement ring rumored to cost XXXX), village gossip (The mayor's new wife has him wrapped around her finger--they say he paid XXXX for that diamond! It's gotta be over 3 carats!). Radio stories might cover similar subjects.

I also think he wouldn't need to know exact value to want to find a diamond during the Depression. Whatever it was worth, it would pay some debts and/or put food on the table.

Ok, thank you.

I didn't expect to find a ring of that description. Maybe I'll axe the ring and just use the diamond. Canaries are supposed to be the rarest of the naturally-colored stones, about 0.1% of what's dug out of the ground.

The guy wants to find it really REALLY badly before he has to sell the farm and leave, so I thought having a bunch of factoids and rumors for him to mull over would be good.

frimble3
11-19-2014, 08:04 AM
How about crime fiction? Wilkie Collins's 'The Moonstone' (1868) involved a yellow diamond, stolen from an Indian temple. Crime stories in the '30's must have included jewel thieves? He wouldn't have to know exact value if rich people in books are frantic to get their coloured diamonds back.

blacbird
11-19-2014, 12:26 PM
Canaries are supposed to be the rarest of the naturally-colored stones, about 0.1% of what's dug out of the ground.

One in a thousand diamonds is not rare. The rarest colored diamonds today are pink/red ones, most of which come from a single mine in Western Australia (Argyle). Each year they produce 40-50 of these out of millions of diamonds recovered, and those are auctioned at an annual "tender," to which only a few jewelers are invited to bid. They fetch outrageous prices. The "Nature" documentary series has produced an excellent video, narrated by Stockard Channing, that features these; it's simply titled "Diamonds." Worth a look, perhaps, for your research.

A large pink diamond from Congo just this year sold for the highest price ($70+ million) of any diamond in history.

caw

Cath
11-19-2014, 03:19 PM
Bear in mind that value and sale price are only tenuously related. A diamond is worth exactly what someone is prepared to pay for it. Depending on the personality of the buyer (out for himself or trying to help the protagonist) will depend how much he can earn from it unless he has a way to sell it through diamond market channels.

Rather than printed sources, could he have a word-of-mouth reveal on value? An article in the newspaper about a rare discovery making someone's fortune? Do you need the diamond to actually be valuable, or just for the farmer to believe it may be?

SBibb
11-20-2014, 07:30 AM
No idea if this will help you any, but it reminded me that there's a diamond mine in Arkansas. So... you might be able to draw some connection from there, if you needed to.

It's still available to the public: http://www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com/

Maybe some information can be had from their site. I was there several years ago. I didn't find any diamonds, but diamonds of various colors have been found there in the past.

Also might be of use... I'm not sure the exact time that diamonds became so valued. (A quick search: http://www.americangemsociety.org/the-history-of-the-diamond-as-an-engagement-ring) The popularity of a diamond engagement ring was largely due to the De Beers ad. (http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/diamond-de-beers-marketing-campaign)

Note: I haven't read the full articles, so I'm not sure how accurate they are. But if it's before the major campaign went through, it might not be worth nearly as much as it would be today.