The Natural Diamond Council (NDC) is likely to lose half its budget in 2023, the result of Russian diamond miner Alrosa leaving the group earlier this year, the group’s CEO David Kellie (pictured) said during a presentation at Facets 2022, the recent two-day conference sponsored by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).
“In February of this year, Alrosa suspended themselves from the NDC, resulting in a loss of almost half our financial resources for 2023,” he said. “This is a crisis that is coming our way for the industry and one that I hope we can discuss together as a matter of urgency.”
He noted that while the NDC doesn’t disclose its budget, even before Alrosa left, it spent one-tenth of what Signet spends on marketing annually.
“We need to invest a lot more for the industry to reach our true potential,” he said.
Kellie noted that 130 million consumers now visit the NDC’s Only Natural Diamonds platform annually—100 times more than prior to its relaunch. He added that his group has a partnership program with over 100 independent jewelers as well as a test partnership with Jared.
He said the industry has witnessed a lot of favorable trends in recent years. The female self-purchase market has grown so large that it now rivals the bridal market.
Yet Kellie also lamented that in recent years, diamond jewelry has underperformed the luxury industry in general as well as the overall accessory category—even with the industry’s pandemic-era boom.
Part of this comes from a hesitancy to truly embrace social platforms. He noted that today’s consumer tends to consume media in “bite-sized chunks.”
“This consumer bears no resemblance to the consumer upon which our industry was built,” he said. “Contrary to some opinions in the industry, she isn’t sitting at home watching cable TV.
“She’s on TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and Snapchat. These are the platforms upon which she’s being influenced today.… Our consumer is on all these other platforms, where the industry, apart from the NDC and luxury brands, doesn’t exist.”
The Natural Diamond Council just announced its new ambassador, Lily James.
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