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Diamonds: Not every girl's best friend

Journey Diamond's s-shaped diamond pendant

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KAI RYSSDAL: Investors in Internet jewelry store Blue Nile are seeing red today. Shares in the Web's biggest diamond retailer tumbled more than 16 percent after the company says earnings are going to miss expectations. Jewelers online and at the mall are seeing slim sales since the last holiday season. Probably why they're amping up Valentine's Day marketing by advertising simple ways to demonstrate you care. You know, "simple" -- like diamonds.

Caitlan Carroll's been checking out the sparkle from the couch in front of the TV.


JEWELRY COMMERCIAL: Gasp!

CAITLAN CARROLL: Did you hear that? That's the gasp of a woman getting a Journey diamond pendant. It's S-shaped and sculpted to delight the woman you love. You've seen the ads, if you've watched any sports whatsoever, but then why am I sitting at home on the couch annoyed by how schmaltzy these commercials are? This fairy-tale motif doesn't work on guys, does it?

JAN DREXLER: When you look at all of those commercials, what you see is the guy really coming in, saving the day, being this wonderful man with this big, great gesture. And I think that appeals to them the same way the romance appeals to women as the recipient.

So marketing expert Jen Drexler says I'm not the target for these ads. Well, you know, I don't want that S-shaped pendant anyway.

DREXLER: Well, you know, somebody once said to me, "When he gives you jewelry, never criticize because then he'll stop giving you jewelry. Eventually just drop enough hints and you'll get what you want.

Jen Drexler has a good point. OK, I want an iPhone. Is that a good enough hint? Actually, I think that's the problem. Guys don't always listen to hints. They take their cues from ads between games. Like shopper Alex Vong. He's at the mall scoping out diamonds for his fiancee.

CARROLL: What do you think a gift of diamond earrings sort of says about how you feel?

ALEX VONG: I think she deserves it. She's earned it. I've been with her for 10 years, so it's something that I'm sure all women would like.

All women except for me. I must be in the minority, because last year stores sold $2.5 billion worth of jewelry just in the month of February, mostly to guys.

DREXLER: It's not that they're stupid or lazy. It's just that men are a little clueless when it comes to gifts, and this one has such a heavy baggage attached to it, that if you don't get Valentine's Day right you must not really care.

I know that my boyfriend cares about me, but I still want to know what he thinks is the best way to demonstrate love.

BOYFRIEND: Then be in love. You know, wear matching costumes on Halloween and wear matching powdered wigs on Presidents' Day, but don't get all bunged up about blowing a bunch of money on Valentine's Day. It's kind of for suckers.

Hmmm, suckers. When confronted with the real possibility of no gift, that Journey diamond pendant is starting to look pretty good.

Possibly giftless in Los Angeles, I'm Caitlan Carroll for Marketplace.

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