Professional Jeweler Archive: Bellataire Begins Consumer Push

November 2000

Diamonds:/News


Bellataire Begins Consumer Push

The diamond formerly known as GE/POL is introduced to consumers for the holiday season


Though the Bellataire diamond began as GE/POL, a name that quickly became infamous, its promoters aim to change the gem’s luck in the consumer marketplace. The high-pressure/high-temperature treated gems, still referred to in the trade as GE/POL, adopted their consumer name earlier this year.

Bellataire Diamond Co. Inc., New York City, introduced a promotional campaign with national advertising and in-store brochures to simply explain these unusual diamonds to consumers. The two key messages:

• The diamonds are rare.
• They have been “restored” to their natural state.

Rarity

“Purer than 99% of all gem-quality diamonds, a Bellataire diamond is an exceptional gift of nature, restored by man to its intrinsic beauty,” reads the Bellataire ad. The rarity angle is the key to the story, because Bellataire suggests retailers offer the gems at a retail price about 5% over that of comparable untreated diamonds (Professional Jeweler, April 2000, p. 31). Convincing consumers a treated diamond should cost more than a comparable untreated one is the company’s challenge.

Restoration

Using “restore” – a term more often connected with the fine arts – the ad campaign attempts to convince consumers that, like a painting that has endured the ravages of time, Bellataire diamonds also need restoration to be returned to their original beauty.

Brochure Details

The brochure given to consumers at the retail counter picks up on these two central themes. Tackling the rarity and restoration angles, the brochure explains: “A tiny fraction of [diamond] crystals were born as completely colorless gems. During their turbulent journey through the earth’s crust, these diamonds were subjected to volcanic forces that disguised their essential beauty by obscuring their original colorless nature. Bellataire diamonds are those rare, all-natural diamonds restored to their spectacular intrinsic beauty.”

The brochure explains other ways in which Bellataire diamonds are rare. Unlike most gem-quality diamonds, it says, Bellataire diamonds feature virtually no inclusions, fluorescence or any measurable nitrogen.

The brochure also elaborates on how General Electric developed a “state-of-the-art” technology to realign the atomic structure of these rare gems. Returning to its theme of rarity, the brochure reinforces that “only extremely rare nitrogen-free diamonds that began life colorless can return to this precious state ... and their return is forever.”

The brochure also explains the grading report from the Gemological Institute of America that documents the diamonds and it refers to the laser inscription that identifies them. Because General Electric and its partners promised the trade each diamond they treated would be labeled GE/POL, they will continue to laser-inscribe the GE/POL mark and now add the Bellataire logo, says Charles A. Meyer, managing director of Bellataire Diamond Co. “We don’t want the industry to think we were trying to get away from the GE/POL disclosure,” he says.

The brochure includes a scientific leaflet that goes into more detail about a diamond’s travel to the earth’s surface, the various diamond types and what they mean, as well as diagrams showing the misalignment of atoms the GE treatment fixes. Jewelers can choose whether to share this removable scientific leaflet with the public. “For people who are just interested in the beauty of the gem, the first brochure is probably enough of an explanation,” says Meyer. “But for those who want to understand the science, the second brochure is there.” Meyer says Bellataire has found the science angle often grabs male buyers, who are somewhat less concerned with the diamond’s beauty.

The Rollout

The first Bellataire diamond print ad, shown on the previous page, appeared this fall in Architectural Digest, Departures, The New York Times Magazine, The Robb Report, Town & Country, Vanity Fair and W. Other rare species will take the place of the Arctic fox in future ads, along with varying diamond shapes. The media buys were calculated to spread the word to men and women because the company feels both genders will be equally attracted to the gems.

Bellataire is placing the diamonds with about 30 retailers who are guaranteed exclusive regional markets and no Internet sales. Because the diamonds are rare and 0.75 carat and larger with VS or cleaner clarity, this is the number of retail accounts Bellataire says it can realistically handle. These retailers will serve higher-end customers and sell fine-quality goods, adds Meyer.

The company is training the stores’ sales associates how to explain the diamonds’ rarity and restoration messages to consumers. A three-minute video or CD is available for in-store use and can be given to consumers.

• Bellataire Diamond Co. Inc., New York City; (212) 687-8881.

– by Peggy Jo Donahue


Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications