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November 1999

Diamonds: News

Branding Postponed

De Beers chooses to wait before expanding its sale of branded diamonds

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 low end."

by Jack Heeger

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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