What’s in a Name?

The Brand Naming of Diamonds

Whether most people realize it or not the diamond industry has been going through a revolution over the past few years. From Baked Diamonds1, Bonded Diamonds2, to Color Typing3, the diamond industry is going through a major face-lift. And it isn’t over yet. It won’t be long before the slogan “A Diamond is Forever” will be replaced with ” A DeBeers Diamond is Forever” or some other name brand or stamp to segregate themselves from the pack.

No longer will any large diamond conglomerate do generic advertising that will benefit the new competitors on the block. With DeBeers strangle hold of the world’s diamond market barely at 60% from their good old days of 85%, their long held monopoly is over.Other players like Argyle Diamond Mines from Australia, Ekati from Canada and the Russian United Syndicate are staking their claim to a piece of the polished diamond pie.

What this means to the consumer is, each diamond syndicate will be stating why their diamonds meet a higher level of excellence then their competitors. Soon you’ll be doing the “Pepsi Challenge” but with diamonds. I can just see the ads now. Let me set the stage. A dark candle-lit restaurant; cherries jubilee have just been served, the Dom Perignon has been poured; then you’ll see a dark haired man with chiseled good looks say “Darling, you are the light that engulfs my life. Would you make me the happiest man in the world and be my wife”. At that moment he’ll pop open a little black box and reveal a beautiful diamond engagement ring. The next thing you’ll see is her closing the box and handing it back and say “Listen baby, if I’m not good enough for an original DeBeers diamond, the King of Diamonds, then I’m going to have to say No!” At that moment the narrator will say “Why would you take a chance on a copy cat when a DeBeers original is where it’s at. A DeBeers diamond when our one of a kind meets your one of a kind!” Oh, brother!!

The thought of this sickens me but I know its coming. With the breakup of the DeBeers monopoly, DeBeers has no choice but to start marketing their diamonds as the first, the best, the original. Whether they will use their famous DeBeers name or market under another name remains to be seen. Through a massive media campaign which has already started in the U.K. DeBeers will try to intimate that they choose only the purest ripest, most succulent diamonds in the world. (Maybe they’ll team up with Sunkist) That their standard of excellence supercedes the Canadians, the Australians or the Russians.

Listen folks, regardless of where you dig up a diamond or who mines it, a diamond is a diamond. Slick advertising campaigns may have convinced women from here to Japan that a diamond deserves to be on their wish list but to say that one brand name diamond, like the Millennium diamond, is better than another of the same quality just because of who is selling it is ridiculous.

Every diamond syndicate will be selling great diamonds, good diamonds and crappy ones, Don’t let the new advertising onslaught that is to come convince you otherwise. Every consumer will still have to go over the 4 C’s and warranties on any diamond they might consider buying regardless of what label is stuck on the rock. Is Coke better than Pepsi? You decide, but is a DeBeers diamond better than an Argyle diamond? The answer is No!

Footnotes

1. A Baked diamond is a diamond that has been heat treated to remove nitrogen or boron from a diamond to improve its color. Baked diamonds are brittle and less valuable.

2. A Bonded diamond is a diamond that is fully warranted by the jeweler and covers breakage, buy back, exchange and authenticity.

3. Color typing is the divisioning of individual color grades into types to more accurately assess the diamonds nitrogen context.

by Fred Cuellar, author of the best-selling book “How to Buy a Diamond.” More questions? Ask the Diamond Guy®