Sunday Strategist: Diamond Merchants’ Headaches Are Forever – by Peter Coy (Bloomberg News – November 17, 2019)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg Businessweek) — You know you have a marketing problem when you find yourself arguing that the competitor’s product is “simply too perfect looking.” Or when you fall back on warning people that if they buy the competitor’s product they may not be able to resell it—when reselling it was never their intention anyway.

That’s the diamond business for you. It gets harder every year for diamond merchants to fetch a good price for their product because the competition is insane. First there’s mounting production of natural diamonds. And now synthetic diamonds have gotten so good that for average customers they’re indistinguishable from the kind that come out of the ground.

On top of all that, some customers are turned off by the violence endemic in parts of diamond mining, featured in Leonardo DiCaprio’s film Blood Diamond. What’s a strategist to do? For De Beers, the diamond-mining unit of Anglo American Plc, conflict diamonds may be the smallest of its problem.

Last year it announced a pilot program in Sierra Leone to track ethically sourced diamonds from their source, reassuring customers that they’re not inadvertently financing violent conflict.

Oversupply is a harder nut to crack. In July my Bloomberg colleague Thomas Biesheuvel wrote, “High-end jewelry sales are stagnating as other luxury offerings, like shoes, handbags and resort vacations, crowd the field.” In October he reported that “demand for rough diamonds is continuing to plunge as polishers and traders refuse to buy stones when they can’t make a profit.”

For the rest of this article: https://www.bloombergquint.com/businessweek/oversupply-and-waning-demand-are-giving-diamond-sellers-headaches

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