It’s November 19, 2004, 2:15p.m. Over the last few weeks the media
has been reporting that the Diamond Trading Company (DTC), aka DeBeers, is now
offering inscribed diamonds with the Forevermark, a “trustmark.” With the
influx of annealed (baked, high temperature-high pressure [HTHP] rocks), laser
drilled, bleached, misgraded, or just plain artificially altered diamonds that
have flooded the internet and jewelry stores alike, DeBeers is trying to
figure out how to “cattle brand” the good ones. While I commend DTC’s attempt
to sort out the good diamonds from the bad, their methods fall short. As
anyone in the business knows, laser inscriptions (tattoos) can be copied,
removed and altered (baked, laser drilled, fracture filled) after
the “Forevermark” is placed on the diamond. Unfortunately, all this new mark
is likely to do is provide counterfeiters with an easier way to pass off
commercial grade and treated diamonds. The minute the consumer lets his guard
down and relies only on a tattooed insignia to determine a diamond’s
authenticity or quality he’s setting himself up to be taken to the cleaners.
It’s no wonder the Forevermark has not been released in the U.S. but is being
test marketed in Hong Kong.
This is an Off-Broadway musical that should never make it to U.S. shores.
A few years ago I wrote an article entitled “What’s in a Name? (The Branding
of Diamonds).” See How to Buy a Diamond or visit my website, where I have
discussed DeBeers’ plan to slowly revert their slogan from “A Diamond is
Forever” to “A DeBeers Diamond is Forever.” Many in my own industry told me
that I was off the mark (pun intended) and DeBeers would never turn on its
hundreds of thousands of clients by trying to cut the Mom & Pop jeweler and
jewelry chains out of the picture and pitch directly to the end consumer.
Well here we are, less than 5 years after I wrote that article, and DeBeers is
opening up their own stores (London and New York) and tattooing their diamonds
with a mark they say is the only way to know you’ve made a safe purchase.
While I agree the labs have misstepped (see my article “Certifiable: Lab
Grading Reports—Are They Just a Piece of Paper?”) and all the majors like
Tiffany’s have turned to their own internal labs to guarantee quality control>
the Forevermark is just a ploy to monopolize a market and “Wal-Mart”
themselves into bigger profits. Once the town jeweler has packed his bags and
one company is running the show, what do you think will happen to the price of
diamonds? As was reported by the Wall Street Journal, consumers already have
a safe way to guarantee they are not getting ripped off—it’s called a Fully
Bonded Diamond. Placing a sticker on a diamond without guaranteeing how it
got there or if the diamond has been altered since, does nothing more than
give a consumer a false sense of security.
Talk to you soon,