This year’s American Gem Society (AGS) Conclave featured a De Beers sponsorship or two—but none by its signature brand, De Beers Forevermark, which used to be one of the annual event’s main underwriters.
The sole De Beers session at Conclave was conducted by company vice president Ivette Nersesyan-Stephanopoulos on its “country of origin” program—which she said De Beers will provide more info about at the upcoming JCK show in Las Vegas. The De Beers Institute of Diamonds grading lab was listed as a gold sponsor of Conclave.
It’s much the same for JCK Las Vegas, where De Beers Group’s listing for its booth does not mention Forevermark.
Things have been quiet in general for Forevermark, at least in the United States. (The brand does continue to post on social media.). De Beers Forevermark retailers and suppliers—who were well represented at Conclave—say that they have heard little from the company since January, when Charles Stanley, the longtime head of De Beers Forevermark USA, announced he was retiring. Shortly afterward, De Beers cut staff at its Connecticut headquarters.
Some supporters have pulled back. In 2019, Padis Jewelers in the San Francisco area opened the first U.S. Forevermark store. That has since been rebranded into a standard Padis store.
Overseas, Forevermark continues to be active. In April, a second Forevermark store opened in Indore, India, according to the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council. And this week, De Beers’ new CEO, Al Cook, posted a picture of himself with Forevermark ambassador Carol Mpedi at the brand’s store in Gaborone, Botswana.
But at AGS Conclave, rumors circulated that Chinese retailer and manufacturer Chow Tai Fook, which has long stocked Forevermark in China, was considering purchasing it.
De Beers spokesperson David Johnson responds that Forevermark is “a leading brand within the sector, [so] it’s not unusual for there to be interest about potential commercial opportunities. This is nothing new and it is not something we comment on.”
Chow Tai Fook, which purchased the Hearts on Fire company in 2014, declined comment.
In its latest financial statement, Forevermark Ltd. reported $165 million in revenue and a $4.7 million profit for 2021. The prior year, though, it posted a $494,000 loss.
De Beers executives have generally been circumspect about Forevermark’s future. In February, De Beers chief financial officer Sarah Kuijlaars told JCK the company was “exploring all options” for it.
“We are interested in finding the most effective model for retail and how we engage with our end clients and consumers,” she said. “I think it’s a model that we’ll have to evolve because consumers are evolving.”
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