CanadaMark, the diamond brand that signifies a stone’s Canadian origin, will be relaunched at this year’s JCK Las Vegas show with a new B-to-B platform for retailers.
The brand was originally launched by miner BHP in 2003, and was acquired by Dominion Diamond when it purchased the Ekati mine 10 years later. All CanadaMark stones have the brand insignia and number inscribed on their girdles.
Marketing for the product will be targeted at consumers in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and United States, markets which have the strongest demand for Canadian-mined gems, says Jim Pounds, president of Dominion Diamond Marketing Corp.
He notes that research suggests that the brand might command a decent premium in Canada and a smaller one in the other markets.
Trade talk has suggested that not all Canadian stones currently being sold are actually from that country.
“I hesitate to agree with that wholeheartedly,” Pounds says. “But we want to make sure that every stone that purports to be a Canadian diamond is one.”
The manufacturers who participate in the program will be audited, he adds.
The main attraction for owning Canadian stones, at least from non-Canadian buyers, is that they are responsibly mined, Pounds says.
“In the terms of mining ethically and responsibly, Canadian diamond standards are the highest in the world,” he says. “That is what appeals to the public.”
The company’s marketing may even use the “C” word: “conflict-free.”
“Given that it’s from Canada, it’s conflict-free, of course,” he says. “We will be pointing people in that way.”
He notes that when Dominion owned Harry Winston, it found many consumers curious about the origin of their gems.
Dominion owns Ekati and 40 percent of the neighboring Diavik mine, but CanadaMark will also certify diamonds from other mines and mine owners in the area, Pounds says.
And while it is hoped that will increase demand for Dominion goods, the brand is not being looked at as a profit center, Pounds says.
“It will cover its costs, and wash its face,” he says.
The brand will also debut a B-to-B trading platform where CanadaMark licensees can sell gems to interested retailers.
“One of the things that we have found out is that a lot of retailers want Canadian diamonds, but there is no way to get them,” he says.