Diamond shoppers are faced with a daunting task of sorting through the advertising claims of jewelry stores and jewelry designers who promote their products as the highest quality possible. There are so many new branded diamonds introduced in the past few years, it is hard to keep up with all the marketing hype. It does not take long before the shopper is completely perplexed about how all these different brands could all be the best of the best.
The emphasis on branding has been stimulated by De Beers' requirements that diamond sightholders step up their advertising and branding efforts. Jewelry stores also see branding as a marketing strategy to maintain high profit margins as they fight their online diamond competitors.
Diamond shoppers have to understand that "branding" a diamond goes hand in hand with higher prices. Someone is paying for the expensive advertising that typically goes with branded diamonds. Often branded diamonds are only available in higher end jewelry stores with higher overhead and higher prices on all their products.
To understand today's world of branded diamonds, it helps to step back and look at the history of branding in the diamond industry and understand the motivations for creating brands for this
History of Branded Diamonds
In the 1980's branded diamonds arrived on the diamond scene when Lazare -Kaplan branded and laser-inscribed the Lazare Diamond, the first branded round diamond. The Lazare Diamond is advertised as "The World's Most Beautiful Diamond" and was the first recognized brand name for an ideal cut diamond.
During the same time period, the Trillion and the Radiant were patented as new diamond cuts and branded. At roughly the same time, the Princess cut was invented and the diamond industry saw what happens when a new cut could not be branded because the inventors failed to secure a patent.
During this same time period the FireScope was invented and research done in Japan as a tool to examine diamond cut. Hearts & Arrows (H&A) became a cutting style for round brilliant diamonds popularized by the EightStar Diamond Company. H&A scopes display a pattern of eight arrowheads when viewed from above the crown and eight heart shapes when viewed from the bottom (pavilion) indicating the diamond has excellent symmetry of its major facets and particular lengths of its lower girdle facets. Diamond cutters, jewelry stores and jewelry designers jumped on the branding band wagon by marketing diamonds with H&A patterns as being exclusive and unique.
In the mid- to late 1990s, the Hearts and Arrows trend migrated to the United States. The Boston diamond company, Di-Star Ltd., began importing hearts-and-arrows diamonds and selling them to select independent jewelers under the brand name Hearts on Fire. Di-Star was later renamed Hearts on Fire Company.
Economics of Branding
The goal of branding is to become a household name that consumers perceive in a positive manner when they are shopping and making a buying decision. Companies create a brand by marketing their product such that their branded product is perceived as the best. When consumers perceive higher quality, the logic is that they will be willing to pay a higher price.