De Beers spent $200 million on global generic promotions before it stopped doing them completely and India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) wants to get the global industry to spend at least as much annually again, said GJEPC chairman Praveenshankar Pandya. He was speaking at the inauguration of the four-day IIJS Signature show in Mumbai on Friday.
Pandya told a press conference that the GJEPC was acting out of a position of industry leadership and whether or not other centres pitched in, it not only supported the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), a group of seven diamond mining companies tasked with promoting diamonds globally, it was ready to put money down for promotions. “We see it as our responsibility to protect the diamond industry and do everything possible to grow it,” he said.
When asked whether the DPA’s current, rather small budget was up to the task of effectively promoting diamonds worldwide, Pandya said this was only the beginning. “When De Beers last spent money on global promotions in 2005,” he noted, “they had an annual spend of around $200 million. Our endeavour will be to see that the global industry gets back to spending at least that much,” he said.
Earlier, Andrey Zharkov, the president of Russian state-owned miner ALROSA, who was the guest of honour at the inauguration, observed that the global diamond industry was feeling the negative effects of generic diamond promotions having stopped 15 years ago. The DPA, he said, was tasked with redressing that.
According to Zharkov, the DPA is in the process of interacting with various diamond industry stakeholders and intends to roll out its first global promotional strategy around the time of the Las Vegas jewellery show this year.
When asked whether the GJEPC was planning a specific campaign for India along the lines of the Anant initiative it had launched some years ago, Pandya indicated that the Indian industry’s strategy was aligned with what was being planned globally. “While we would like to launch a promotional initiative before the middle of the year, when the DPA’s initiative rolls out,” he said, “we are in close consultation with them and will definitely work something out.” He said that Rosy Blue managing director Russell Mehta, who is the GJEPC vice chairman, was in close touch with DPA chairman Stephen Lussier. He said Lussier was expected to visit India within a month and much work was being done on promotional strategy meanwhile.