It’s application time again at the Diamond Trading Company.
On March 8, the De Beers Group’s sales and marketing arm announced it will begin processing sightholder applications for the 2012–15 period. Both existing clients and hopefuls for De Beers’ storied list must submit a contract profile questionnaire by July 7.
This marks the DTC’s first sightholder selection since December 2007. The miner is looking to “refresh” its roster, according to Mahiar Borhanjoo, executive director of sales and sightholder services.
“Will the new list comprise the same 70 [sightholders] we already have, or will there be companies that are better than those companies on the new list?” Borhanjoo asks. “It’s too early to tell.”
While past selections have come with warnings that the list would be trimmed because of decreased rough output, Borhanjoo noted that near-term projections are for De Beers’ diamond production to rise 20 percent this year, although volumes are not expected to scale the heights of 2008.
“We don’t foresee a major change in overall rough availability,” he says. “We did sell the Finsch mine, so there will be an impact on our availability because of the sale. But we are looking at increasing production elsewhere.”
Manufacturers in certain cutting centers, including New York City, have long been nervous that the DTC is phasing them out, but Borhanjoo says that isn’t how the DTC judges clients. “We want to work with the very best,” he explains. “They can be from any part of the world, as long as they show us how they add value to their diamonds.” —Rob Bates
Bling Bang Theory
Hublot’s one-of-a-kind $2.8 million Big Bang
Hublot has made a mint off its ultra-successful Big Bang model, a sporty mechanical chronograph available in countless iterations since its 2005 debut. Although the Swiss watchmaker has produced diamond-encrusted versions in the past, none compare to the $2.8 million Big Bang tourbillon shown at Baselworld in March. Flooded with 637 baguette diamonds on the dial, case, bezel, and bracelet—comprising more than 144 cts., all sourced from the Yakutsk region of Russia—the piece required about 13,000 hours to cut plus 2,000 hours to set. And just in the nick of time: The watch was finished March 23, the day before the fair opened. —Victoria Gomelsky
Making Its Mark
Three Drop Earrings
The team behind Forevermark, De Beers’ line of inscribed diamonds, announced its list of U.S. manufacturers as the brand moves closer to its still-unscheduled American launch. Crossworks, Dali-Alink, Diarough, Eurostar, Julius Klein, Leo Schachter, Pluczenik, Premier Gem, Rosy Blue, Trau, and Venus Jewel were named U.S. Forevermark diamantaires. Forevermark management, based in Stamford, Conn., includes chief marketing officer Sally Morrison, vice president of marketing Colby Shergalis, director of strategic planning Emmy Kondo, director of partner relations Lisa Cochin, and director of public relations Jamie Cadwell—all veterans of the De Beers account at JWT. Kevin Lane, VP of sales, is responsible for partner relations. De Beers vet Charles Stanley heads the team. —Rob Bates