Regal Imports News for JANUARY 2020
I can't remember where I read this but someone said that if Coca Cola stopped advertising today that in two or three years their sales would still remain constant. However, ten years later, sales would greatly decrease. The diamond industry is facing this unfortunate situation being without an organized generic marketing campaign for about fifteen years.
Fifteen years equates to more than one generation growing up without an idea of why they should value or feel emotional about purchasing a diamond. Edahn Golan points out that, "In the past 10 years, global (Google) searches for the term 'diamond jewellery' have been declining continuously. This indicates a steady and ongoing decay in consumer interest in the product. From its peak in December 2010, searches for the term fell 44% . A 44% drop is a major erosion of interest."
The Gemstone dealer Joe Menzie presents this synopsis, "As the industry grew, it changed. Memo replaced courage to buy. Certificates replaced knowledge, trade shows replaced relationships, arrogance replaced humility, treatments replaced conscience, auctions replaced illusion, and finally the internet replaced romance." (From the 40 best Jewellery quotes of 2019 accumulated by Rob Bates)
Romance is so important to diamond marketing. Romance has always underpinned the value of diamonds. If it is true that the internet has replaced romance than the internet currently drives diamond worth. If diamond reports replace knowledge, and a generation has not been exposed to tangible diamond romance, then a generation has been educated to understand diamond value as a dollar and cents calculation. If this is the case, the obvious conclusion is that diamonds have a steep mountain to climb if they are to regain the relevance they had in 2010.
De Beers and Alrosa are making it their business to sell directly to consumers. They are combining their mining expertise with acquisitions in manufacturing, grading and distribution. Their consolidation makes great business sense as prices can be reduced while profits increase. The problem is that large vertically integrated corporations are also impersonal. Romance is a very personal experience. Romance is communicated person to person, one to one. The current trend towards consolidation in all aspects of the Jewellery trade reduces costs and increases margins but if the goal is to maintain or even increase diamond worth then consolidation is not the answer.
This point is so obvious. Where is the Romance! Romance is primary and essential to the joy found in every diamond experience. Romance is currently trumped by origin, best practices, consolidation, technology and finally by grading charts and price lists; all of which diminish romance.
It is short-sighted, and I would even say a mortal mistake, to reduce the emotional experience of purchasing a diamond to a price calculation. Yet, this is how the newest generations are being introduced to diamonds. They are missing out on the romance and this is resulting in diamonds being considered as less than precious.
Miners and manufacturers currently see diamonds as straight forward business . a means of making money. They have lost the passion. Retailers have the passion but cannot sell their passion for nothing so they choose to be passionate about other things.
I read a commentary that proposed a system for rebuilding generic marketing. The person suggested that the Diamond Bourses implement a series of premiums added to diamond prices at different levels of the pipeline. For example, when miners sell rough to manufacturers a 1% fee is collected. When cutters sell polished into the market a 1% fee is added. These fees are collected by the bourses and the resultant monies are appropriated to the Diamond Producers Association and applied to generic diamond marketing. Without a completely inclusive and massive generic marketing program, diamonds are positioned to lose priority amongst other luxury choices.
It is always a challenge to remain relevant in a changing world. The diamond and jewellery industries have been plateauing for several years. They are facing stiff competition from other luxury offerings like shoes, handbags and resort vacations. Specialized jewellers can thrive in today's luxury market if they differentiate themselves by creating consistently unique offerings that differ greatly from standard internet options. Now is the perfect time for jewellers to promote their personal expertise and artisan craftsmanship. The workshop is their key to their success.
Diamond marketing will benefit by recognizing the importance of individual independent jewellers. Jewellers are the real face of the diamond industry. They are the one to one connection without whom there is no romance. They are essential partners. The diamond industry cannot afford to let them lose interest. Their new and innovative designs are their personal expressions of romance. They keep romance at the forefront of jewellery fashion. A marketing program that includes independent jewelers, and is focused on the personal, individual and romantic nature of each diamond and related Jewellery creations, will cut through Internet noise and bring diamonds forward to a generation that is starving for real personal experiences outside of Internet clutter.