De Beers Touts Right-Hand Rings

Following the success of its three-stone jewelry campaign, De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company plans this year to promote right-hand rings. Richard Lennox, director of the diamond account for J. Walter Thompson, says the campaign exploits a hole in the market. “The non-bridal diamond ring category is dominated by pavé- and melee-set cluster rings and is largely unmarketed to,” says Lennox. “We see an opportunity for diamonds and diamond jewelry to compete very hard in the area of discretionary purchases, which is an area they traditionally haven’t gone after.”

In contrast to past De Beers campaigns, this product will not be touted as a symbol of love but rather an emblem of style—one that can be given to a woman by a man or bought by a woman for herself. “Diamonds are not particularly associated with fashion because they are so symbolic,” says Claudia Rose, a senior partner at JWT and director of marketing strategy. “This gives women another message: Diamonds also can represent a woman’s unique style and be expressive as something like their favorite leather goods.”

Another unusual aspect of this product: The DTC doesn’t have a set design template but is asking designers to develop their own styles. The best will be included in the company’s ads. “We want these rings to all look different,” says Lennox. “We want them to reflect a woman’s style, as opposed to a ring that looks like everybody else’s.”

He adds that while De Beers’ bridal pieces have a classic look, the right-hand rings will be more trendy and fashion-conscious. “If you want to be part of the fashion world, you have to behave like fashion,” he says. “If I put you in a time machine and sent you back 10 years, you’d see that design in this industry largely hasn’t changed. For an industry, that’s a killer. We have to move forward.”

De Beers’ prototype has a north-south orientation with negative space to distinguish the pieces from cluster rings and give them a feminine, “lacy” look. It wants at least one diamond in the ring to be .20 ct. or greater but hasn’t specified how many to use—as long as it’s not three.

“[It] would defeat the purpose,” Lennox says. “Three-stone rings are an established category. They have a symbolic meaning. We want to establish a new category.”

Print ads for the right-hand ring will break in September, with the campaign’s trade launch at this year’s JCK ~ Las Vegas show.