Opinion: Diamonds need some new best friends – by Clara Ferreira Marques (Bloomberg News – April 24, 2020)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

It’s looking decidedly somber out there for the world’s favorite sparkly stone. Diamonds were ailing even before the coronavirus came along. Now, weeks into lockdowns in the U.S. and elsewhere, all but the largest diggers, polishers and retailers are struggling for cash.

Unable to sell its stones, Dominion Diamond Mines, the miner that sold luxury brand Harry Winston to Swatch Group AG in 2013, filed for insolvency protection late Wednesday. Anglo American Plc’s De Beers cut 2020 production guidance by a fifth Thursday, in line with demand.

To secure their future, diamond giants may need a rebranding akin to the storytelling feat pulled off by Harry Oppenheimer, the late De Beers chairman who cultivated the engagement ring to overcome a slump after the Great Depression.

In so doing, he forged a tradition that fueled sales for decades. Today, a refreshed myth-making effort could target the post-pandemic concerns of millennial consumers: marketing the diamond as a store of value in volatile times comparable to art, which is also authentic, traceable and sustainable.

Since 2011, when prices peaked thanks to China’s new shoppers, diamonds have faltered. Lab-grown stones, initially priced confusingly close to the real thing, posed a challenge.

For the rest of this column: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-04-23/diamonds-need-to-rebrand-as-coronavirus-shrinks-demand

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