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March 2008

With De Beers cutting back its generic marketing now that its market share has fallen, the International Diamond Manufacturers Association has called for a comprehensive program for generic marketing promotion.

This would be like in other industries, such as the milk industry, which did the “got milk” campaign. It would essentially mean that the industry would get together and underwrite the “generic” campaign De Beers has been bankrolling for many years.

A “generic” diamond campaign is important for two reasons: First, HPHT and synthetics are a threat to natural diamonds. We are seeing more treatments that are getting more and more sophisticated. We need to emphasize the benefits of diamonds, and, in this “green” era, why their “naturalness” makes them special.

Secondly, with the explosion of brands, too much emphasis has been given to ring design. When a customer wants to spend $10,000 on the engagement ring, the jeweler now talks him into spending $6,000 for the diamond, and the rest for the ring’s design. People no longer see the diamond as the focus of the ring, but as something that can be replaced by a ruby, emerald, or any other stone. Consumers have to be reminded why diamonds are special.

In the end, the mining companies, which are committed to natural diamonds, that have the most to lose if such a campaign is not undertaken. Jewelers and people in the middle of the chain can always sell something else.

IDMA said it wants to hold a “summit meeting” to start the initiative and offered to host that meeting. It made its declaration after a two-day meeting in Israel.

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