Special guest blogger Randi Molofsky, longtime jewelry
editor and author of A Girl’s Guide to Buying Diamonds, is here to give her impressions of the recent De Beers trip to London to spotlight the Forevermark:
I hadn’t even left for London,
but already, the trip was stressful: I realized my passport was expired just
hours before boarding a flight bound for Heathrow. My destination: the De Beers
Forevermark offices. After a last-minute scramble, I managed to get my passport
renewed and promptly booked myself on the following day’s red eye. Upon landing
at Heathrow, I was taken directly to 17 Charterhouse Street, where I
breathlessly entered a conference already in session.
Bleary-eyed from the travel, I
sat down at my appointed space and saw 100 uncut diamonds laid out in front of
me, loupe and tweezers at the ready. Needless to say, that sure woke me up.
And so my crash course in
Forevermark—De Beers’ new inscribed brand of diamond, sold only through
authorized retailers—began. My mission was to explore exactly how retailers
would be involved at Forevermark’s point-of-sale and whether or not the
marketing speak was more gimmick than partnership. But first I had to learn
what the Forevermark was all about.
To get up to speed, I joined the
other students—a fellow trade journalist and two De Beers publicists—at the
Forevermark Masterclass, an educational workshop led by Liz Mearing, head of
retail sales training, and Gareth Jones, a Forevermark diamond expert. The
hands-on session rehashed the 4Cs and basic diamond grading using De Beers’
rough and polished stones as benchmarks. Created for key retail ambassadors,
the training has been designed to trickle down to sales associates in all local
The following day, we were off
to Belgium to visit the Forevermark Diamond Institute, a grading facility in
the heart of Antwerp’s diamond district. Site manager Ilse Van den Bosch
meticulously led us through each step of the journey, from arrival to
inscription. The facility maintains about 5,000 diamonds, spread throughout its
two floors. As you can imagine, organization is key. Marked only by a randomly
selected number, each diamond is passed from station to station in anonymity in
order to maintain the absolute integrity of the grading process.
Watching these diamonds go
through incredibly rigorous trials was compelling, but after sitting through
the experience, I realized that’s not the crux of what De Beers is selling.
Rather than promoting the
quality of Forevermark diamonds—they are said to represent less than 1 percent
of all graded diamonds—De Beers is hoping to re-contextualize the way the
public sees diamonds. A Forevermark does not refer to a perfectly cut stone,
nor one that has easily identifiable shapes and symbols in its pattern when
seen under magnification. Rather, the mark promotes diamonds—available only in
a range of pre-approved cuts, colors, and qualities—that have been brought from
mine to market through a secure supply chain and have undergone accurate
grading in order to give consumers the peace of mind to choose the stone that
speaks to them.
In other words, because
Forevermark diamonds are backed by a process designed to guarantee their
integrity, customers are free to explore the inherent uniqueness of each stone
in a new paradigm that places less emphasis on the 4Cs and more emphasis on
partnering with their retail jewelers.
In part two of her Forevermark report, Randi Molofsky will
explore how retailers are involved in the Forevermark brand.