NCDIA to focus on consumer and trade strategy as a non-profit

The Natural Color Diamond Association, a trade organization founded to promote natural and natural color diamonds, is modifying its corporate structure to a non-profit organization and repositioning its marketing to both the consumer and the trade, the organization said in a statement.

NCDIA—founded by Rosy Blue and Michael Werdiger in 2003 to increase consumer awareness of the unique qualities, beauty, and value of natural color diamonds— has “exceeded all of our original expectations” said Sam Merksamer, NCDIA managing director.

Merksamer said the non-profit status has become “essential” to accommodate the broadening membership and scope of activities undertaken by the NCDIA. The NCDIA (which has grown to 25 members) has recently established an office in Manhattan with a full time marketing coordinator. Merksamer said that new officers and a new board to accommodate the non-profit status will be announced this month.

The organization budget, dependent upon membership dues, has expanded from the increase in membership and a marketing grant from Rio Tinto Diamonds, enabling the organization to greatly expand its scope of marketing and outreach activities.

Following the recent decision to continue the underground development of the Argyle mine, RTD said it remains committed to the NCDIA and hopes that the provision of the grant will enable the NCDIA to form a firm foundation from which to increase its membership base and promote the full spectrum of the natural colored diamond category.”

NCDIA is expanding its reach by adding retail/consumer centered marketing to its promotional mix and increasing outreach and communication to the trade by becoming active in several trade events and organizations, including the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and American Gem Society.

Velocity Sports and Entertainment and its research subsidiary, SRI Research, are researching consumer perceptions of natural color diamonds for NCDIA. A full report of findings from focus groups and jeweler interviews will be made available to NCDIA members at the end of January, NCDIA said in a statement.

The expanded budget has also enabled the NCDIA begin construction and design a new Web site directed to consumers with an educational section and designer gallery for members to feature their merchandise and link the consumer to retailers of this merchandise.