The Man with the Diamond Dream – by Avi Krawitz ( Magazine – April 2022)

On the eve of his retirement from De Beers, Stephen Lussier reflects on a career that has spanned four decades.

Stephen Lussier was chomping at the bit as he sat on stage during a 2019 diamond conference in Dubai. Dressed in his trademark cream suit, he slid toward the edge of his seat as he waited his turn to speak, confident in his ability to unbundle everything his fellow panelist was saying to prop up lab-grown diamonds against the natural product.

“I couldn’t disagree more,” Lussier retorted, and went on to dismantle the speaker’s claim that the value of a diamond lies in its packaging — that the origin, whether mined or made, doesn’t guarantee value. Lussier weaved through key descriptors, citing the “rarity,” “preciousness” and “enduring value” that underpin the appeal of natural diamonds.

It’s a message that has taken him a 37-year career to fine-tune, and it’s one he’s still determined to imprint on the industry’s psyche as he steps back from his role as De Beers’ executive vice president for consumer markets. On the eve of his retirement, Lussier reflects on the evolution of the “diamond dream,” a concept he unabashedly claims as his brainchild.

“It needs to continue to change as our consumers evolve, but the core elements of the dream remain fundamental,” he explains in an interview with Rapaport Magazine. “To me, it’s basically the concept of the brand. We’ve created the emotional connection of a diamond, establishing meaning for a product which transcends its physical self.”

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