If Ayn Rand had written a sequel to Atlas Shrugged, no doubt John Galt would have married Dagny Taggart. And romantic (realist!) that he was, he no doubt would have given her an engagement ring. But what kind?
The ring itself would likely have been traditional gold which, after all, was the currency in Galt’s Gulch and would have been in the reborn world. But what of the stone? Ask a female friend whether she would want a natural diamond or a synthetic one and you’d likely get the stock answer, “Natural, of course!” After a moment’s reflection, the friend might ask, “Synthetic? Aren’t diamonds naturally occurring and rare?”
Indeed, diamonds result when carbon is put under extreme heat and pressure deep in the Earth’s mantle for a billion years or more. Even when pushed closer to the surface by volcanic activity, it still takes expensive mining operations to extract them.
But technology to produce diamonds in laboratories has advanced significantly in recent years. Ladies, we’re talking real diamonds, not cubic zirconia, okay? These real “rocks are actually “grown” from small diamond seeds in vacuum chambers using gasses and microwaves and in just a few days! They have the clarity to match their billion-year-old relatives but (listen up guys) cost 30 percent less!
Cheaper diamonds might not appeal to brides-to-be...but how about larger ones? In other words, an engagement nearly a third larger than the dirt-dug one?
Dagny saw the significance of a bracelet made by Hank Rearden from the first pour of his Rearden metal. Galt, the self-made man who made a new engine would certainly see the significance of a synthetic, man-made stone. Now, Hank, and Francisco d’Anconia (Dagny’s first boyfriend) for that matter, having come up in the mining business, may have been sticklers for old fashioned diamonds….But John Galt, the engineer?
Galt would no doubt celebrate the symbolism of a man-made, man-bought diamond.
And let’s fact it, diamond engagement rings are symbolic tributes of love.
Ayn Rand was into symbolism. In Atlas Shrugged she wrote of “fire held in a man’s hand. Fire...tamed at his fingertips.” The fire she wrote of referred to cigarettes. But in the lexicon of diamonds, “fire” is the colored sparkle one can see when the stone is exposed to light. So in a way, these new diamonds are also fire tamed at the fingertips.but not of a man, but of a woman, beloved, bejewelled, and betrothed.