ICA Launches Campaign to Promote Gems

February 22, 2005

ICA Launches Campaign to Promote Gems

The Gem Millennium Campaign to raise an initial $3 million to promote colored gemstones was unveiled at International Colored Gemstone Association biennial Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 18-21. The initiative intends to raise the profile of colored gems in the jewelry industry, while sparking a greater sale of gemstones worldwide.

Joseph Menzie, ICA president, announced the program on the first day of the congress, noting that the colored gem business changed dramatically from years past. Devising a new way to promote colored gemstones for ICA members was the organization's principal goal. "Though we love what we do, we recognize we need help in getting consumers to demand our product," he said.

ICA enlisted the consulting and fundraising services of Jim Littman of DMB Partnership, who will spearhead the effort through individual sponsorships by other organizations, including gem producing governments, gem companies and individuals. Littman nurtured a successful fundraising program for the Gemological Institute of America during the 1990s.

Littman said this is a seminal time to develop a program for gemstones. "The gemstone industry is fragmented, has no central organization or backing [like De Beers for diamonds] and it bases its promotions on isolated programs," he said. Littman proposed creating four components of a plan for ICA to support various aspects of the gemstone industry through promotion, marketing and advertising strategies:

• ICA Fashion Gem Council: It would promote colored gemstones in close consultation with the fashion industry. Jewelry coordination kiosks, present at major shows, would help link colored gems and jewelry to a given year's fashion designs and colors. In addition, the ICA-FGC would seek colored gemstone jewelry placement at international events and on television programming.

• Retail Gem Initiative: It would involve, educate and engage retail jewelers about colored gemstone jewelry. Ad programs, slicks, brochures, press kits and incentive programs would be devised as well as other high-profile projects (such as major traveling jewelry collections) to help jewelers sell more color. Recognition and awards for top retailer participation would be established.

• Gem Marketing Enterprise: It would work to understand what Littman describes as the "emotional life cycle" and identify occasions and events which might be potential motivators for buying colored gem jewelry, such as births, graduations or second marriages.

• Recognition Program: Membership in the Magnificent Gems Roundtable would be made up of financial contributors to the Gem Millennium Campaign's projects. Recognition would be gained for different levels of contribution, such as $1 million and up, $500,000 - $1 million, and $100,000 - $500,000.

by Robert Weldon, G.G.

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