Insider Q&A: De Beers CEO Talks Diamonds, Millennials – by Joseph Pisani (ABC – January 8, 2017)

nstead of romantic proposals and engagement rings, the commercials trying to sell a new generation on diamonds show young couples rolling around on a bed, arguing in a car and even questioning whether they’ll ever marry.

The ads are one way the diamond industry is trying to reach millennials, the under-35-year-olds who may be more focused on paying off student loan debt than buying diamonds and getting hitched.

De Beers, the company that helped pay for the new commercials, says millennials are still purchasing diamonds, even though they are typically less affluent than their parents were at the same age. “They are buying smaller pieces,” says De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver.

De Beers, known for its longtime slogan “A Diamond is Forever,” mines and then sells rough diamonds to dealers, jewelry retailers and manufacturers who cut and polish the stones. Besides that, its Forevermark-branded diamonds are sold at 2,000 jewelry stores around the world. And it partly owns 35 high-end De Beers stores with LVMH, the owner of luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Givenchy.

Cleaver spoke with The Associated Press about what younger people are buying and how the company tries to attract them. Questions and answers were edited for clarity and length.

Q: How are millennial diamond buyers different than older generations?

A: They are not as traditional as their parents. We find that they self-purchase more than their parents did and that’s quite an interesting opportunity because there was a time when pretty much all diamond purchases were men buying for women. We also find that purchase decisions are much more joint decisions when they’re a couple.

For the rest of this interview, click here: