Leaders Discuss How to Market Diamonds

Synthetic diamondsRamat Gan: The first day of the International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI) featured a panel discussion on how to market diamonds. The speakers included IDWI Guest of Honor, the British jewelry designer Stephen Webster; Jean Marc Lieberherr, the newly appointed CEO of the Diamond Producers Association; Alex Popov, Chairman of the World Diamond Mark Foundation; and Patricia Syvrud, Executive Director of the World Diamond Council.

“This edition of International Diamond Week is taking place during one of the most sensitive periods the world diamond industry has ever known,” said Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) President Yoram Dvash in welcoming the speakers and the audience. “The gap between rough and polished prices still prevents us from making a profit, and economic and political changes continue to impact our business.”

“This week we are gathering on the trading floor of the Israel Diamond Exchange, and investing our efforts in developing trade relationships. To improve our business capabilities, we must understand them deeply, and recognize trends. To this end, we decided to take a time out, to stop, think and discuss the current situation in the diamond market, the trends, the changes and the forecasts for the future,” concluded Dvash.

World Diamond Council Executive Director Patricia Syvrud opened the panel discussion with a detailed discussion of the Kimberley Process diamond certification scheme, explaining that she had discovered a lack of understanding of the scheme among industry participants. “It is essential to understand the vulnerabilities in the supply chain in order to understand how to market diamonds,” explained Syvrud.

Syvrud also detailed the role of the World Diamond Council in the diamond industry, explaining its commitment to benefiting the industry. “We will work together to address what this industry needs to do to move itself forward. We want to be a proactive voice sharing the good that the diamond industry does,” said Syvrud of the WDC.

Diamond Producers Association (DPA) Chief Executive Officer Jean Marc Lieberherr gave a detailed background of the DPA, explaining how the association was conceived and what it has to offer the industry. Lieberherr noted the roles the DPA plays in the industry. One of the roles is to represent its members and their respective interests, taking into account issues that cannot be shared between the companies such as anti-trust issues and pricing.

“The Diamond Producers Association can talk about how to make the diamond industry more successful. We try to make sure that we keep the diamond dream alive and to keep it as vivid as possible. De Beers used to hold an important role in this aspect and one of the objectives of the DPA is to fill that gap,” said Lieberherr.

On the subject of marketing diamonds, Lieberherr spoke of research that the DPA has conducted in the United States on millennials. “Many of these young people have never been exposed to diamond marketing. One of the things we observed from this research is that they reject the notion of convention. We need to connect to the younger generation on the emotional level. We need to translate to them the special qualities of the diamond. All the successful diamond brands have established the emotional connection,” concluded Lieberherr.

Jewelry designer Stephen Webster shared with the audience his insights into how to market diamonds. Webster credits diamonds as the item that has made his business a success. “My business has been driven by creativity. I’ve been a jeweler for 40 years, but it is only in the past 20 years that my business has blossomed. My clientele has largely been women buying jewelry for themselves. This might be the norm nowadays, but I don’t believe this was the case back then,” explained Webster.

“Diamonds are a big part of my jewelry. My jewelry is glamorous. Without diamonds a major part of that glamour would be missing. I can be as adventurous as I wish to be as a designer,” concluded Webster.

World Diamond Mark Foundation Chairman Alex Popov described the work of the WDM since its establishment nearly three years ago in an effort to promote diamonds. “We describe ourselves as a catalyst. We are trying to get people to think a little bit differently. We are trying to get people to do new things and things they haven’t done before,” explained Popov.

Popov concluded by speaking of the role that diamonds play in the luxury market. “We don’t want to market diamonds by providing information on the 4Cs – we are going for the emotional connection,” said Popov. “What we have to understand is that the luxury industry treats diamonds as a component. We need to do something about that. If we keep selling diamonds as a component only, then we will be squeezed out. We need to go out and try to change that concept. We need to treat ourselves differently. If not, we are doomed to be there forever,” concluded Popov.