Jewellery designer Stephen Webster says his success has been built on the self-purchase market and the glamour quotient that diamonds add to his jewellery.
“My business has been driven by creativity. I've been a jeweller for 40 years, but it is only in the past 20 years that my business has blossomed. My clientele has largely been women buying jewellery for themselves. This might be the norm nowadays, but I don't believe this was the case back then," explained Webster, speaking at a panel discussion on how to market diamonds at the International Diamond Week in Israel (IDWI).
He added, ”Diamonds are a big part of my jewellery. My jewellery is glamorous. Without diamonds, a major part of that glamour would be missing. I can be as adventurous as I wish to be as a designer.”
World Diamond Mark Foundation Chairman Alex Popov described the work of the WDM since its establishment nearly three years ago in an effort to promote diamonds. "We describe ourselves as a catalyst. We are trying to get people to think a little bit differently. We are trying to get people to do new things and things they haven't done before," explained Popov.
Popov concluded by speaking of the role that diamonds play in the luxury market. "We don't want to market diamonds by providing information on the 4Cs — we are going for the emotional connection," he said, adding, "What we have to understand is that the luxury industry treats diamonds as a component. We need to do something about that. If we keep selling diamonds as a component only, then we will be squeezed out. We need to go out and try to change that concept. We need to treat ourselves differently. If not, we are doomed to be there forever.”
Jean-Marc Lieberherr, chief executive of the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), another discussion participant, noted, “The Diamond Producers Association can talk about how to make the diamond industry more successful. We try to make sure that we keep the diamond dream alive and to keep it as vivid as possible. De Beers used to hold an important role in this aspect and one of the objectives of the DPA is to fill that gap.”
On the subject of marketing diamonds, Lieberherr spoke of research that the DPA has conducted in the United States on millennials. "Many of these young people have never been exposed to diamond marketing. One of the things we observed from this research is that they reject the notion of convention. We need to connect to the younger generation on the emotional level. We need to translate to them the special qualities of the diamond. All the successful diamond brands have established the emotional connection," he concluded.
World Diamond Council Executive Director Patricia Syvrud explained that she had discovered a lack of understanding of the scheme among industry participants. "It is essential to understand the vulnerabilities in the supply chain in order to understand how to market diamonds," she said.
Syvrud also detailed the role of the World Diamond Council in the diamond industry, explaining its commitment to benefiting the industry. "We will work together to address what this industry needs to do to move itself forward. We want to be a proactive voice sharing the good that the diamond industry does,” she said.