Opinion: An Appeal For a Truly Unified Diamond Marketing Approach

Opinion piece
14/09/2016 14:20

In his latest contribution to the diamond debate, "Diamond Trade a Medical Diagnosis: Self-Destructive" Melvin Moss, president at Regal Imports Ltd, argues for a unified marketing strategy - together with a standardized grading system - to benefit all in the diamond value chain. Currently, the situation is one where each company is promoting its own brand, thereby working against the interests of the diamond industry as a whole. "The multitude of new proprietary brands ... are making generic diamond marketing complicated. The marketing of diamonds is completely splintered." Taking up Ben Janowski’s use of the phrase ‘defending their fiefdoms’ by way of illustration, Moss writes that, "The current methodology of origin differentiation or branding based upon one diamond having a better diamond report, being of investment quality or being more ethically responsible corresponds to barons in-fighting; and this in-fighting is weakening the kingdom, the diamond market."

Moss believes the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) is illustrative of the conundrum. Consisting of most major diamond miners, the DPA was created with a mission to promote diamonds in general through generic marketing, “and yet most of these miners are pushing their individually owned branded diamonds as well.” (“De Beers is pushing Forevermark, Rio Tinto Australian diamonds, Dominion CanadaMark, and Alrosa will soon be marketing Russian diamonds"). Moss writes that this two-pronged approach is confusing to the industry and “wreaking havoc at the retail level. Your branding efforts are not increasing your rough sales but they are hurting polished sales … The rough market is hot but the polished market is not.”

Moss argues that ‘enduring beauty’ is the root cause of the desire to purchase a diamond, not artificial branding distinctions that result in diamonds competing with one another for market share. Along with a standardized grading system then, he believes the strategy should be one, "that stresses firstly a diamonds real value proposition ‘enduring beauty’, and secondarily the fact that diamonds are beneficial to communities and have a transparent pipeline. To facilitate these changes it is necessary to make the Kimberley Process and Responsible Jewellery Council stronger organizations; organizations that have the teeth. There are obvious deficiencies in the diamond pipeline and they will not be remedied unless all the varied industry groups surrender their fiefdoms and get behind the organizations that are best positioned to affect change ... Any claim that one diamond is ethically better than any other tarnishes the image of all diamonds including the brand making that claim."