De Beers chooses to wait before expanding its sale of branded
A year after De Beers began a controversial program to sell
branded diamonds, the company says it will wait until some time
in 2000 to decide whether to widen the program.
"By the middle of 2000, the branding project will be
clearer," Derek Palmer,
De Beers' international trade director in charge of branding,
tells Professional Jeweler. He says the company is watching the
program carefully: "We're still in the learning mode. We
can say that only for so long."
Palmer says the program has been successful: the three British
stores used for test marketing found they could get a higher
premium for branded diamonds. "They got 10%, then 15%, then
20%," Palmer says. He maintains an unbranded product still
has value, but a branded product has more.
"Some people are still unsure or are worried about branding,
so we need to explain the concept of branding," he says.
"Brands give people comfort in knowing they're giving the
right thing, and if it's a De Beers diamond, all the reasons
for buying a diamond are increased and magnified. Branding is
an extension of our 50 years of marketing support for the retailer."
"Everything we've done so far has been to improve the
value of a diamond," Palmer says in response to retailers'
fears that De Beers will sell directly to consumers. "If
we tried to sell diamonds, we'd probably do very poorly. If we
retail, we would have to be a prestige retailer as well as the
by Jack Heeger
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.