Sourcing

For its Next Act, Altr Goes with Hearts and Arrows

SourcingJun 18, 2019

For its Next Act, Altr Goes with Hearts and Arrows

At JCK Las Vegas, the lab-grown diamond brand introduced a patented cut created for its new collection, “Altr X.”

The key visual that will be used in the advertising campaign for “Altr X,” the lab-grown diamond brand’s collection featuring a new, patented Hearts and Arrows cut. H&A originated in the 1980s with diamond cutters in Japan.

New York—Lab-grown diamond brand Altr introduced an upgrade at JCK Las Vegas—a fresh collection featuring a patented Hearts and Arrows cut the company says will set a new standard for brilliance.

Developed by R.A. Riam Group’s Ritesh Shah, the brother of Altr President Amish Shah, the cut for the “Altr X” collection bumps up the number of hearts and arrows patterns from eight to 10.

The light refraction for the diamonds in the collection tops 97 percent, which will become the “new benchmark” for the industry for both natural and created diamonds, Amish Shah said.

Altr X diamonds are round brilliants cut by hand by master craftsmen at 100x magnification and graded by Don Palmieri’s New York lab, the Gem Certification & Assurance Lab (GCAL).

But that’s not what Shah wants retail salespeople to talk about when they talk about Altr X.

He does not want them to make Altr X a “technical story” because he thinks this is where the industry is going wrong in selling diamonds—it is sharing too many details that don’t matter to consumers.

“What I want to do is slowly start moving away from conversation that a salesperson has across the counter, ‘Oh, this is a G, VS2,”’ he told National Jeweler during at an interview at JCK.

“I think we don’t get it. A consumer understands size. Let them try it.”

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Shah said consumers also understand a diamond’s beauty, which is why it developed Altr X.

“We’re very clear going into ‘19, into the season, that the two things we want to focus on are size and beauty, which is brilliance, sparkle,” he said. “What matters the most to the consumer is what they can see. They can see and feel the size, they can see the brilliance.”

To help its retailers tell the story of Altr and, now, Altr X, the company created a training department in fall 2017 that is headed by Mike Marelli.

Shah said the department has done more than 750 hours of training since, working with over 1,400 store associates, and now mandates that any retailers who want to carry Altr have their staffs trained by the company.

In the interview at the show, Shah also addressed one of the main criticisms routinely made of lab-grown diamonds—that the stones, as a product of technology, will only increase
in number and drop in value over time.

He said technology does not commoditize, but selling it as a commodity does.

The company views the Altr brand as technology but also as a luxury, and it focuses on three core processes: creating consumer desire for diamonds, driving innovation and giving customers great service.

“When you do a good job, that’s when people stand in lines outside to buy one,” Shah says. “Strong technology brands are great at protecting their inherent value.”

WATCH: The 30-Second Version of the ‘Altr X’ Film

The fall 2019 marketing campaign for Altr X is currently under production, the company said, and will be unveiled in September.

The above film was shot as part of the campaign to “rekindle desire” and will be distributed through digital media channels, store-front TVs, small TV spots and as GIFs for various uses.

“The idea,” Altr said, “is to start a conversation that is a little more edgy, modern and desirable for the consumer to engage with.”

Altr is a division of R.A. Riam Group, a New York-based diamond and fine jewelry manufacturer that also deals in natural stones. (Ritesh and Amish’s grandfather started the family’s jewelry manufacturing and diamond trading business in India in 1933.)

Altr is sold through hundreds of jewelers in the United States, both under its brand name and as private-label lab-grown diamonds and diamond jewelry, as well as in more than 50 stores in New Zealand and Australia.
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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