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Eileen McClelland

Diamond Producers Association Takes Consumers on The Diamond Journey in Time for the Holidays

Marketing campaign kicks off on Oct. 15.

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LAST WEEK THE DIAMOND Producers Association announced the details of its new Real is Rare, Real is a Diamond consumer marketing campaign, designed around a cinematic telling of the natural diamond story in a mesmerizing, three-minute film called “The Diamond Journey.”

The multi-channel media campaign will launch on Oct. 15 with a presence in Conde Nast magazines, the New York Times and Sports Illustrated, along with a social-media and television presence leading up to the holidays.

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DPA research reveals that most consumers don’t realize diamonds are the oldest thing they will ever touch or own. The campaign chronicles the transformation of a rough diamond from discovery to finished jewelry. A 2-carat cushion cut diamond engagement ring, set in yellow gold, becomes the symbolic star of the show by crossing time and culture to represent love, commitment and meaningful moments.

The campaign was developed in partnership with creative agency BBH London. The film was directed by Ian Pons Jewell, whose commercial portfolio includes Nike, Audi, Lexus and Michelob, and features music from Oscar winning musician, Atticus Ross. The film will live on Real is Rare, Real is a Diamond’s website at www.realisadiamond.com. Retailers can find more resources and tools at shop.diamondproducers.com

Here is a Q&A with Kristina Buckley Kayel, DPA’s managing director, North America, about the significance of “The Diamond Journey”:

INSTORE: In the video, what is the significance of the same diamond ring style displayed across time and various cultures? What message does that convey?

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DPA: The same diamond ring appearing across time and various cultures conveys the heirloom quality of natural diamonds. It positions diamond jewelry as a cherished part of a family’s history and also speaks to the enduring value of a natural diamond. We chose to feature a classic design that has eternal appeal and feels just as relevant in the past as it does in the future.

INSTORE: How does the new campaign dovetail with other recent campaigns, and what sets it apart?

DPA: The new campaign builds on the objective of the Real is Rare platform, which is to revitalize the diamond dream among new and millennial consumers. ‘The Diamond Journey’ explores the human connection to diamonds much further than we have in past campaigns, with less focus on product and more focus on the story itself. This campaign also shines a spotlight on rough, which we haven’t done in the past. But now more than ever we need to celebrate rough, and the distinctive qualities of natural diamonds.

INSTORE: The target demographic is 21-39 year olds? Is it meant to appeal to both young men and young women?

DPA: Yes, we’re targeting both men and women during their engagement research journey.

INSTORE: Based on your research, how important is a diamond’s origins to today’s engagement-ring shoppers? And why is that such an important message to convey?

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DPA: DPA consumer research has revealed that people develop a deeper appreciation and attach different meaning to diamonds when they understand the reality of diamonds, that they’re a finite natural resource, born of extreme conditions billions of years ago. And because of this, they’ve become an enduring symbol of love and human connection. It’s an important message to convey because it’s a part of the diamond story that consumers don’t know. Most are very surprised to learn that diamonds are older than life on earth.

INSTORE: What should retailers take away from this campaign when learning how to relate to young consumers?

DPA: Now more than ever, consumers, especially young consumers, want to know where the products they’re buying come from, and the story behind those products. This is especially true for luxury purchases. It’s vital for retailers to become true storytellers in order to reignite the diamond dream for younger generations.

INSTORE: What has the reaction to the Real is Rare campaign been to date and how successful has it been in conveying that message?

DPA: The Real is Rare platform has been very well received by the industry as a whole. Our last Real is Rare campaign, ‘For Me, From Me’ has been one of the most successful programs DPA has embarked on. It has helped mobilize the retail sector around female self-purchase, which represents 1/3 of all diamond jewelry sales. We’ve heard from many jewelers that the campaign has helped drive sales, and today it’s being executed in nearly 1,000 doors across the country. It’s a seasonless campaign, and one that is complemented by ‘The Diamond Journey’.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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Eileen McClelland

Longtime Jeweler Eases Into Retirement but Still Loves ‘Placing Beautiful Things With the Right People’

Jo Rosenblum King prepares to auction a treasured collection.

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Jo’s parents, Earle and Isobel and Jo Rosenblum King

JO ROSENBLUM KING is one of the first jewelers I got to know after I joined INSTORE in 2007. I met her at the Houston Jewelers Breakfast, a group that generously took me under their wing, and she helped me embark on assembling a fine jewelry wardrobe by selling me my first strand of pearls, which, true to her clienteling super powers, she remembers 12 years later.

Jo and her local “competitors” taught me that jewelers who cooperate can learn a great deal from each other. It was inspiring to see that collaboration in action as they traded advice, jokes and gems over waffles or scrambled eggs at the crack of dawn. It helped me understand, too, how INSTORE was a type of jewelers’ breakfast for retailers who might otherwise feel isolated.

Jo told me this week that although she did more or less retire a few years ago, she still has jewelry in her vault that she plans to auction. She wants to get the word out about that, because she wants each cherished piece to find the right home.

Since she joined her family’s business as an adult, her favorite part of selling jewelry was placing her favorite pieces in nice homes. “I began to feel like an adoption agency,” she says. She made sure they were presented in the best light possible, too, once packaging a charm bracelet of baby shoes (one for each of seven children) in a doll house. “Sometimes you had to go all out with certain customers and buy things to create a magnificent giftwrap,” she says.

Jo grew up knowing the value of personalized customer service.

Her parents, Earle E. and Isobel (Billie) Rosenblum opened a mom and pop store in a downtown Houston office building in 1955 when downtown was still the center of the city’s commerce and populated with well-heeled oil-industry types. One of those Houston clients, a rancher, had bought a new Cadillac and wanted CZs set in the fins. They took on the job, but had to make frequent repairs because every time they visited the gas station, some CZs would wind up missing.

Earle and Isobel expected all of their children to work in the family business when they were growing up.

“We wrapped gifts to earn money,” she says. “We all spent summers and Christmas working in the store. My brother, my sisters, we all had to wait on customers. But as an adult I never had anything to do with it until they asked me to come help with the jewelry store when someone was on vacation.”

Suddenly, retail jewelry became a calling and not a chore.

“How bad can it be when you’re surrounded by beautiful things?” Jo says.

Earle died in 1996 and Jo bought Isobel’s share of the business in 1999 and moved into a retail space at the Hilton Houston Post Oak in Houston’s Uptown neighborhood.

The space was tiny and narrow but Jo loved to fill it with hand-picked treasures and enjoyed meeting hotel guests from all over the world while continuing to nurture local relationships.

Her customers always appreciated her honesty about what looked good on them, or not so good.

And she enjoyed expanding their horizons and their appreciation of fine jewelry.

“Expanding their expectations was my favorite thing,” she says. “They’d come in with a little bitty earring and I’d bump them up and up to larger sizes. I liked finding things that looked good on them. I do have a good eye for that. I miss going to shows and picking out things that my customers would like.”

Jo doesn’t recommend retiring “cold turkey” and so she has continued to meet with long-term clients as a jewelry consultant since she closed her retail doors four years ago, while appreciating being able to sleep later.

Things had changed in the jewelry business at that point and competition had become incredible. “Everyone who ever managed a jewelry store would go out and open their own. There were so many jewelry stores,” she says. “When my dad first started there were a handful and Houston wasn’t half as large. But customers would trust you, they would assume you gave them a good price because you had been their jeweler forever. Now they want to buy it online and then see what you think of it, because they trust you.”

“It was a nice career and a lovely business, placing beautiful things with the right people.”

Now she’s decided it’s time to sell the remaining jewelry from her collection, those special pieces still looking for just the right home.

For more information about Jo’s Fine, Fabulous and Funky Jewelry & Gift Sale, which goes live on Nov. 1, visit liveauctioneers.com.

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Big Survey

2019 Big Survey: Jewelers Predict Next Trend in Jewelry

Results of the 2019 Big Survey are in. Here’s a sample.

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WE ASKED 800-PLUS retail jewelers to take an educated guess at the next breakout category in jewelry.

Here are their top 10 responses:

1. Lab-created diamonds and finished jewelry. (“I think we are already seeing it and it is anything with laboratory-created diamonds.”)

2. Yellow gold (“Yellow gold has been hot, but with the current prices I am not sure.”)

3. Color (also described as rare, exotic and bold. Spinel was mentioned more than once.)

4. Silver (including silver fashion with lab-grown diamonds)

5. Custom and custom bridal

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6. Stackable rings and bracelets

7. Men’s jewelry (Fashion, engagement rings and precious metal wedding bands were mentioned.)

8. Pearls

9. Avant-garde or alternative bridal, including anything asymmetrical

10. Pre-owned jewelry, including vintage jewelry, updated estate jewelry, repurposing old jewelry and restoration of a customer’s jewelry

The 2019 Big Survey was conducted in September and October and attracted responses from more than 800 North American jewelers. Look out for all the results in the November issue of INSTORE.

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Eileen McClelland

2019 Big Survey: 10 Times When Jewelry Store Employees Left the Job in Dramatic Fashion

Results of the 2019 Big Survey have been rolling in. Here’s a sample.

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WE ASKED SURVEY respondents to share the most epic ways they’d seen someone quit or be fired. Dealing with employees on their way out can be touchy. Sometimes these unfortunate encounters even culminate in award-winning dramatic performances. Read on for the most memorable ways employees have parted ways with jewelry stores:

Top 10 Countdown

The award for best dramatic performance goes to the employees who:

10. Screamed at the top of their lungs, “I QUIT”

9. Showed up in pajamas, had a breakdown, then quit and walked out.

8. Threw rings at the boss while asking for a raise, then quit.

7. Threw a crystal piece through a showcase shelf.

6. Hit the jeweler in the head with a bag of bananas.

5. Threw his key at me.

4. Came in wielding a pipe wrench screaming that we were liars.

3. Ran out of the shop, arms raised in the air, saying “he’s trying to kill me.”

2. Got drunk at a charity event we were sponsoring, hit on one of the ladies and pulled her skirt up. Police were called.

And the No. 1 best dramatic performance goes to:

1. The employee who hired a marching band to quit.

The 2019 Big Survey was conducted in September and October and attracted responses from more than 800 North American jewelers. Look out for all the results in the November issue of INSTORE.

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