The Forevermark grading lab has done some private label grading for other diamond brands, CEO Stephen Lussier told me in an interview last week.
“We do some grading under their names,” says Lussier, who declined to provide the names of the brands involved. He adds that the Antwerp-based Forevermark lab is not open to the trade at large.
The trade is full of talk that the Forevermark lab is either too tough, or too lenient. (I’ve heard both.) But Lussier says the lab is shooting for “consistency.”
“The thing about brands is that you have to act in a consistent way,” he says. “Grading is part science, part art. You will never completely eliminate humans. But we are focused on technology because humans are not infallible.”
“When we do the Forevermark grading, we don’t really think about it as grading,” he continues. “It is more about offering the complete brand package.”
He says that Forevermark really doesn’t see itself as competing with the Gemological Institute of America and other labs. But he thinks that people who sell Forevermark diamonds should not add another report on top of the one it provides, as that means the stone could get comparison-shopped.
(I’m not sure I buy that, because it’s still the same grading system, even if it’s a different lab, and there is ample evidence consumers don’t differentiate labs. But let’s leave that for now.)
Lussier and Forevermark USA president Charles Stanley both stressed that they see the Forevermark as key to De Beers’ business going forward.
“From our perspective, as a company that sells $6 billion-plus of only one product, our future is dependent on a healthy and growing diamond market,” Lussier says. “When we reflect on what is necessary for that, it’s for the diamond dream to be alive and passed on to the next generation. And if jewelers don’t feel that diamonds are core to their business and almost as importantly, are profitable for them, they will find other products to sell. We don’t want to get into the position of some watch companies where the only reason a jeweler sells them is for their reputation. We want then to be profitable.”
He notes that the Forevermark also provides protection against consumer confidence challenges, such as concerns about the synthetics, treatments, and a diamond’s origin.
The brand makes money from the cost of the fees associated with its lab and inscription services, as well as the fees it charges its retailers and manufacturers.
Stanley and Lussier spoke to me at the conclusion of the brand’s second annual Partner Forum, held in Orlando, Fla. The forum included a screening of its new “Center of My Universe” commercial, which will begin airing in April.