The Jewelry District, Episode 21: Guest David Kellie

In This Episode
In this edition of The Jewelry District you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates interview guest David Kellie, chief executive officer of the Natural Diamond Council (previously the Diamond Producers Association). David discusses the company’s rebranding, his thoughts on the lab-grown diamond industry, and diversity in the industry.

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Show Notes
00:52 Rob and Victoria introduce David Kellie, CEO of the Natural Diamond Council
05:54 David discusses the rebranding of Diamond Producers Association to the Natural Diamond Council
10:27 Victoria asks about stores reopening, and Rob asks about weddings, engagements, and lab-grown diamonds
14:43 Rob asks about opportunities in the diamond industry, and Victoria asks about the Jeweler Support Network
18:08 Rob asks about the logistics of Natural Diamond Council’s upcoming campaigns
20:58 Victoria asks about the Natural Diamond Council’s new website, and Rob asks about diversity in the industry

Episode Credits
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Editor: Olivia Briley
Producer and engineer: Katey Clifford and Kathy Passero

Show Recap

Introducing David Kellie
Rob and Victoria introduce their guest David Kellie, CEO of the Natural Diamond Council. David was previously with Watches of Switzerland Group and helped with its marketing and communications. Before that he was with the Ralph Lauren Corp. for 15 years, which helped him transition to his career in the luxury sector. Rob asks David about the difference in how outsiders see the diamond industry versus how it is on the inside. David says he wants to downgrade the challenges in the diamond industry—and that there are great opportunities ahead.

Rebranding to Natural Diamond Council
David tells Rob that the Natural Diamond Council will do its best to fill the void in marketing and advertising that has existed for the past 10 years. Victoria asks about the company name change, and David says with an audience that consists mostly of millennials who get all of their information online, more time and money needs to be invested there. David says he wants to build strong digital platforms around the world.

Engagements, Weddings, and Lab-Grown Diamonds
Despite all of the store closings in the last few months due to COVID-19, David feels consumers will return to stores once they feel safe to do so. Rob asks about engagements and weddings, and David explains how he feels about the rest of this year. When Rob asks about lab-grown diamonds, David says lab-growns will have a place in the market in the future, but it will remain small compared to natural diamonds. He’s ready to promote anything that is exciting in the industry.

Millennial Audiences
Rob asks David where big opportunities are, and what we are underserving as an industry. David says everyone has not been the best at digital—which effects the millennial audience. David believes that it will be all about connections, relationships, friendships, and celebration coming out of this pandemic, as well as reminding consumers about diamonds in the context of all of those occasions. Victoria asks about the Support Your Local Jeweler Campaign and the Jeweler Support Network—and David emphasizes the value of local businesses.

Natural Diamond Producers Campaign
Rob asks about advertising and the logistics of campaigns and ads to come. David says they hope to shoot the next campaign in early July, with plans to launch the new campaign in September. Rob then asks about the history of diamond advertising and whether David has any advertising role models. David looked at old De Beers ads and at luxury jewelry ads, and he explains how it’s important to look outside of the industry too.

Diversity in the Industry
First, Victoria asks about the section on the Natural Diamond Council’s website for diamond industry professionals. David says it’s a destination where retailers can go for support in everything that they’re doing in stores. Rob turns the conversation to ask whether the industry needs to be more diverse. David believes the diamond industry has done a great job in marketing and communication but says that’s not enough. The industry has the right intent—but we must ask if everyone has equal opportunity.

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