Is Sterling Angling for a Sight?

Signet, owner of Sterling Jewelers, the nation’s No. 2 chain, has retained noted diamond broker I. Hennig in an effort to attain more direct rough diamond sourcing—which many took as a sign it was going for a De Beers sight.

Spokesman David Bouffard would not comment on whether the chain wanted a DTC sight but said it was looking for “all appropriate” sources.

Hennig is one of six brokers that act as agents for Diamond Trading Company sightholders. Hennig already represents a few of the “downstream” companies that have recently received De Beers sights, including Stuller Settings and Caribbean chain Diamonds International.

Bouffard said Sterling’s decision to go “upstream” was somewhat different from Tiffany’s in that the company was not looking to invest in mining. He said the company wanted to ensure “a consistent supply for our customers and for our growth.”

DTC will make its next round of sightholder selections in 2007.

A statement quoted Signet chairman Terry Burman as saying “the development of direct rough diamond sourcing and manufacturing capacity is designed to enhance Signet’s industry-leading supply chain expertise.”