In its efforts to create demand in the world diamond market, the De Beers diamond Group has started a new marketing initiative called “Forevermark.”
Forevermark specifically markets very high quality diamonds that have gone through rigorous sets of testing criteria.
In the last 18 months, De Beers has sold $200 million worth of diamonds using Forevermark, most of the sales happening in China, Hong-Kong, India and Singapore.
In a recent interview with The Telegraph, the Chief Executive Officer of Forevermark, Stephen Lussier, said it is important for De Beers never to take it as a given that the diamond markets of today will always be there.
Of critical importance, said Lussier, is to continue creating new markets while nurturing the existing ones.
He said while the United States will for a foreseeable future be the world’s most dominant diamond market, there is no guarantee that a future generation of Americans will buy diamonds the same way as today’s generation.
“There is therefore a need for a marketing tool,” he said.
Lussier said while only a few years ago nobody could have foreseen China as the future growth area of the diamond market, it was as a result of marketing that the country has become a driving force behind diamond sales at a time when America is going through a slump, owing to the world economic problems.
The recent income financials of both De Beers and Debswana have acknowledged China as a new powerhouse in the world diamond demand.
While the United States remains by far the biggest consumer, there is a real likelihood that in the next few years China will make a strong footprint as a formidable diamond market.
“Demand equals prices. The key tool therefore is to create demand,” says Lussier, who is also a De Beers Executive Director and a Chairman of De Beers Botswana.
Another reason why De Beers has found it necessary to come up with Forevermark marketing initiative is that the world diamond industry continues to face all sorts of reputational challenges.
More than ever before, the consumers in Europe and the West are concerned about ethics around which the diamonds they buy are mined.
Lussier says the ethical challenges facing the diamond industry at both production and marketing levels are real.
As a world leader of the diamond industry, De Beers is perhaps much more aware than anybody else of the fact that diamonds are a discretionary purchase whose real value resides in the stones’ emotional equity.
De Beers is also conscious of the fact that while America and Europe continue to be the most important markets, a lot of people from these places actually do not have a sophisticated view of where diamonds are coming from or of the circumstances under which the stones are mined.
Lussier says the Kimberley Process, which was crafted a decade ago to protect the legitimate diamond industry while also explicitly isolating diamonds that fuelled civil war, has recently come under attack.
This is mainly a result of negative publicity generated by diamonds produced from Zimbabwe, a country that did not produce diamonds when the scheme was started.
“But, of course, there is still a great opportunity for ethical diamonds like Botswana’s and that is what Forevermark is trying to cultivate,” said Lussier.
Forevermark, which specifically markets diamonds of a particularly high quality, also protects diamonds of the De Beers Group from confusion created by synthetics.
Specifically, the brand also has its select diamonds tested for enhancements. The diamonds are also encrypted.
Given the growth of this particular brand of high quality diamonds markets by this arm, De Beers is already looking at setting up a separate pipeline for Forever mark.