Have you ever noticed how many songs either mention or are about diamonds in some way? For shiny hunks of carbon, these stones seem to capture the imagination like no other. It doesn’t really work with any other rock. “Graphite is a Girl’s Best Friend” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Neither does “Lucy in the Sky with Schist.” Since we at Diamond Lighthouse aren’t allowed to consume anything that isn’t somehow diamond related*, we love that there are so many songs that predominantly feature these precious gems. Even if they do get things wrong sometimes. (Looking at you, Rihanna.)
*We have to sprinkle crushed diamonds on everything we eat like salt. They keep us locked up overnight in diamond cages. Please, send help. They won’t let us leave.
1. Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend
We’re almost obligated to start with this one. It’s the quintessential diamond anthem. Written by Leo Robin and Jule Styne for the musical “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” the song has since become the best advertisement for diamonds since De Beers’ “A Diamond is Forever.” Though Broadway legend Carol Channing was the first to sing this song, it’s most famously performed by Marilyn Monroe in the film version of the musical. It’s fun, catchy and after you hear it you’ll never be able to get it out of your head. Our one gripe: “Square cut or pear shape, these rocks don’t lose their shape.” Rhyming shape with shape? For shame, Mr. Robin.
2. Diamonds Are Forever
It might not be everyone’s favorite Bond movie, but no one can deny that it had one of the most memorable theme songs ever written. It was singer Shirley Bassey’s second time performing a Bond theme, her first being Goldfinger. The song almost didn’t make it into the movie. Harry Saltzman, the film’s producer, hated the song for its heavy innuendo. It only made it into the movie because Saltzman’s co-producer insisted on it. Sure, the song contains a lot of innuendo, but that’s what makes it such a great Bond theme. It’s flashy, extravagant and more than a little sexy. The most shocking thing about it is that it took until the seventh movie to put James Bond and diamonds together.
3. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
OK, this one might not be directly about diamonds, (frankly we’re not exactly sure what it is about) but it’s definitely one of our favorite diamond-lyric-featuring songs of all time. Written primarily by John Lennon, but also attributed to Paul McCartney, the song drew some controversy back in the day for supposedly being about LSD. Lennon flat out denied the rumors, saying it was based on a drawing his son Julian brought home depicting a classmate of his in a diamond-filled sky. Lennon says he didn’t even realize the title’s nouns abbreviated to “LSD” until someone pointed it out to him. The trippy psychedelic imagery was a reference to the works of Lewis Carroll. Whatever the meaning of the song actually is, it’s the one song on this list we can’t help but sing along to.
4. Shine On you Crazy Diamond
We weren’t quite sure which section to put this song in. It could easily fit into the “misconceptions” category as diamonds don’t shine. They sparkle. (We’ll get to that later.) Yes, we realize it’s a metaphor for fame that’s no reason to get your facts wrong. But this song is too much of a classic not to include here. Especially if your still in the mood for a little psychedelia after “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” The song is made up of nine parts divided into two sections that bookend the album Wish You Were Here. With a total running time of almost 26 minutes, much of which doesn’t contain any lyrics, the song was written as a tribute to former band leader Syd Barrett who had to leave the band due to his increasingly erratic behavior. While the song isn’t specifically about diamonds, their repeated mention is enough of an excuse for us to listen to this amazing song again.
The 1980s were a big decade for flashy materialism, so it’s no surprise that diamonds were extraordinarily prevalent in the music of that decade. Though this one is technically a Herb Alpert song, Janet Jackson’s vocals are all anyone remembers it for. The lyrics play off the classic “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” explaining why a girl would want diamonds, which will stay with a girl forever, rather than roses that will die, chocolate that will melt, or a lover that will leave her. Not the happiest love song, is it? Fun fact: Janet Jackson didn’t appear in the music video for this song. They used a lookalike instead. She didn’t even perform this song live until 2011 as part of her Number Ones: Up Close and Personal tour.
6. International Lover
Prince recorded this song for his fifth album 1999, which actually came out in 1983 and was the artist’s first album to reach the top ten on the Billboard 200 chart. The sensual song depicts a seductive Prince promising to take a woman around the world in his private plane, the Seduction 747. As you might guess, the song is absolutely dripping with innuendo. The chorus also has Prince promising to buy her “diamonds and pearls, only if your good girl.” Prince later echoed the lyric in his 1991 single “Diamonds and Pearls.”
7. Field of Diamonds
This one doesn’t quite fit with the above two, but it’s nice to have a more contemplative country tune after the flashy ‘80s excess of Prince and Janet. Johnny Cash originally recorded this song with Waylon Jennings for their 1986 album Heroes. Cash also rerecorded the song for his 2000 album American III: Solitary man, joined by June Carter Cash and Sheryl Crowe. The song is simply about looking up at the stars, in awe of the field of diamonds that appears in the sky every night.
8. American Land
More recently, artists aren’t afraid to use diamond imagery to get socially conscious with their music. Bruce Springsteen includes diamonds in a lot of his songs as symbols of wealth and privilege, but this is the only one where the gems are featured prominently in the chorus. (Though the song isn’t specifically about diamonds.) Springsteen sings about the mythical “American Land” where “There’s diamonds in the sidewalk, the gutters lined in song.” Of course they find that there aren’t actually diamonds in the sidewalk, but even so they make their home in (and build) the American Land. Even if the song does dip its toe in politics a little bit, it’s still one of the more fun songs on this list. You have to admit it’s hard to keep from dancing to this one.
9. Diamonds from Sierra Leone
This song ended up winning Kanye West a Grammy. “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” samples Shirley Bassey’s recording of “Diamonds are Forever” to talk about the opulence his fame affords him and juxtaposes it with images of African children mining conflict diamonds. A remix of the song features verses that go into detail about the conflict diamond situation in Sierra Leone. Bassey reportedly loved the song and expressed a desire to work with West at some point in the future. The video ends with the phrase “Please purchase conflict-free diamonds.”
Songs with Misconceptions about Diamonds
10. Diamonds and Coal
Incubus released this song in 2006 about a rocky relationship that is “doing just fine” despite its difficulties. The singer promises that if they give it time, it will turn into something great and lasting. The sentiment is sweet, but diamonds may not have been the best metaphor for Incubus to use here. “Even diamonds start as coal,” he sings. No they don’t. Geologically speaking, coal is a sedimentary rock and diamonds are a metamorphic rock. Diamonds, scientists believe, are formed deep in the Earth’s mantle where carbon is compressed and cooked by extreme heat and pressure. A series of underground volcanic eruptions bring them to the surface. Coal, which is formed from plant debris at the Earth’s surface, isn’t involved at all. This song also makes the error of saying diamonds shine, (we’ll get to that) but the coal thing is worse.
11. Diamonds (In the Sky)
And we finally get to Rihanna and her hit song that will not leave your head no matter how hard you try to get it out. Rihanna isn’t the first person to compare stars with diamonds and she won’t be the last, but this song is notable for repeating the misconception about diamonds shining more than any other song in history. “Shine bright like a diamond,” she sings over and over again. We’ve said it before: diamonds don’t shine. They sparkle. Here’s why we keep hammering this point. “Shine” implies that the light reflected from a diamond is steady and constant. Have you ever looked at a diamond? They don’t do that. They’re cut specifically so that light is reflected in flashes. It’s a sparkle. A diamond that shines is probably not cut correctly. We admit it’s a small error, but when so many songs repeat the same mistake over and over again, especially in this song, it starts to get on a diamond lover’s nerves.
Though misconceptions about diamonds run rampant in music, we still get excited whenever we hear a new song that mentions these gems. It’s that kind of obsession that has given Diamond Lighthouse the expertise needed to get you the most money for your diamonds. That expertise and over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry has allowed us to build an exclusive network of diamond buyers and dealers who don’t normally buy jewelry from the public. When you sell your jewelry through Diamond Lighthouse, we’ll use every tool at our disposal to make sure you get more money for your diamonds than you’ll get anywhere else.