NDC: 2021’s All About Celebrating Life With Diamonds

DAVID KELLIE, CEO, Natural Diamond Council, reveals that diamonds will play a key role in reinforcing bonds with loved ones this year.

Were you surprised by the rosy holiday sales of diamond jewellery and its seemingly unshakable emotional connection with consumers even during a pandemic? 

We weren’t really surprised. Diamond jewellery has often been the go-to purchase during times of crisis because it represents both human and financial values. The Zoom Effect also led consumers to spend on goods that had a strong impact on screen.

Natural diamonds have always held a special place in the minds of consumers. They are timeless classics which have never gone out of fashion, on the contrary (they have) been an on-going trend. The pandemic and lockdown only enhanced this mindset. While consumers were physically apart from their loved ones for a long time, their desire to celebrate these bonds with a gift of nature only grew.

The increase in purchase of natural diamonds grew as it became an emotional purchase which had a greater meaning of strengthened bonds.

David Kellie, CEO, Natural Diamond Council.

What does that say about the deeper connection human beings seem to share with jewellery and its significance as a symbol of a loving relationship or is it purely a commercial decision because they believe jewellery to be a preserver of value?

Consumers want to invest in gifts that are a store of not only financial but also emotional value, which draws a perfect connect to natural diamonds.

In the current climate, customers who do have money to spend are being mindful of how they spend it: showy excess seems inappropriate.

Diamonds are uniquely placed to fulfil these requirements. Diamond jewellery reflects permanence and stability; it expresses true affection; and it provides unbridled joy to givers, recipients and those buying for themselves.

Once the pandemic ends (at some point in the future), diamond jewellery will have to once again share the pie with its biggest competitor — travel. Your comment.

We see this as an opportunity. Consumers will be able to spend money on travel and experiences, but they will also want to dress up and express their individuality after the democratisation of life in lockdown.

Will the NDC campaign’s messaging throughout 2021 play on the emotional vulnerability that brought people closer to diamonds during Covid-19?

(It will be) less about vulnerability, more about celebration and appreciation. 2021 will be a year for appreciation of loved ones and for those that made sacrifices during the pandemic. Life will be celebrated and not taken for granted and people will want to demonstrate their appreciation through making purchases and gifting of products that make an emotional connection.

NDC launched their first ever brand-agnostic, celebrity-led campaign titled ‘for moments like no other’ with the gorgeous Ana de Armas.

The campaign celebrated the myriad connections of life where natural diamond jewellery is worn, and highlighted that these moments were not limited to being the romantic ones.

It also opened up a fresh association bringing out that diamonds are meant for every type of connection.

This messaging remains at the core of our initiatives, be it associating with retailers to create an awareness about selling diamond jewellery, or engaging with consumers by being the publisher of all content around natural diamonds on our website.

Tell us about the NDC’s new retail partnership initiative. Could you elaborate on the same, and share details about the roll-out in India?

The new retail partnership initiative is named as  the Official Partner Program. This is a collaborative program designed for jewellery retailers who share the mission in amplifying consumer desirability for the modern diamond dream. The participating retail partners will offer access to our multimedia “For Moments Like No Other” advertising campaigns starring NDC’s Global Ambassador, actress Ana de Armas. This will also include new extensions to the campaign and customisable bridal assets.

As a high frequency digital content publisher, the NDC will also provide the opportunity to use best-in-class social assets and content that, to date, are attracting an engaged audience of 300,000+ average daily visitors to naturaldiamonds.com, the only global diamond resource and authority that inspires consumers and drives purchase intent.

The NDC project to support emerging jewellery designers sounds interesting. What is the nature of support that NDC is lending to them? For instance, will NDC help them set up a brand and infrastructure for selling their jewellery worldwide?

Diversity of talent is critical for the success of any industry, especially creative industries. Our aim is to give talented designers the opportunity to create successful businesses through financial support, mentorship, connections, and promotion.

The Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative is a collaboration with US fine jewellery designer, Lorraine Schwartz. A joint commitment to a more equitable future for the diamond jewellery industry was the impetus of the initiative which launches today. $1 million of diamond credit will be awarded to select jewellery designers from the Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) community. The program will help designers establish credit in their own names and help them to understand the process of diamond financing, credit, and memo terms.

Our goal is to expand the number of diamond jewellery businesses owned by the BIPOC community and help those already established to grow. The designers will participate in customised mentorship sessions, new marketing opportunities, and gain supply chain and production know-how and resources.

Have you tracked diamond sales in the past 12 months? Any consumer insights to share or studies being conducted?

NDC will continue to promote the desirability of natural diamonds and support the integrity of the natural diamond jewellery industry.

We recently concluded a research on Millennials and Gen Z on the desirability of diamonds. The analysis revealed that consumers focus on items that carry emotional symbolism and value is heightened during this period as the country continues to endure the effects of the pandemic.

Almost 80% of purchasers had bought diamond jewellery as a gift in the last 24 months. This was largely led by men, often gifting significant others.

Women said they purchased diamond gifts for their mothers, children, and sometimes their significant other. The leading reason for gifting diamonds across groups was for their lasting value.

While the majority of diamond jewellery purchases were mostly centered around a life event or occasion, approximately 25% of purchases were for no specific reason. These future purchases will largely be affected by social media platforms where Millennials and Gen-Z often obtain shopping inspiration.

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