In Praise of Value

A Wittelsbach blue diamond is in the news. “A modern crown jewel” (New York Times 01-09-10, page E1). The diamond was part of a historically famous decoration, The Order of the Golden Fleece. A royal knighthood as illustrious as the British Order of the Garter.

How real is intangible value? I think it is valuable because it means something to those who own or to appreciate it.

In this case the stone has been removed from a decoration, has been recut and donated to the Smithsonian Institution. It is now called “a modern royal crown jewel”. In reality, it has value only as a donation and a tax deduction.

The stone has no value now, except as a smaller blue diamond. It once had value. There is an absence here. The economic price of this stone is the cost of destroying its significance. You apparently live in an age of negativity, in which something real now has no real value.