By Michelle Graff
An image from “Only Natural Diamonds” the consumer-facing arm of the Natural Diamond Council, the new name for the Diamond Producers Association
New York—The Diamond Producers Association is now the Natural Diamond Council and is slated to launch a new advertising campaign promoting mined diamonds this fall.

The world’s largest diamond miners, including De Beers, Alrosa and Rio Tinto, started the Diamond Producers Association in 2015 to, above all, promote their product in the face of increasing competition from lab-grown diamonds.

The Diamond Producers Association, or DPA, was the organization behind the “Real Is Rare, Real Is a Diamond” advertising campaign that met with mixed-to-negative reviews and is now being scrapped in favor of a new consumer-facing identity—“Only Natural Diamonds.”

The former DPA also has new leadership.

David Kellie took over as CEO on Jan. 1, replacing industry veteran Jean-Marc Lieberherr, who had led the DPA since 2016.

Kellie spent the last two years working for Watches of Switzerland, supporting the British retailer’s launch into the U.S. market.

Prior to that, he spent 10 years doing marketing for Ralph Lauren in Geneva before moving to New York in 2013.

The DPA rebranding began soon after Kellie was hired.

“In being appointed, it was my recommendation to the board that we should relook at things,” he told National Jeweler in an interview last week.

“I felt that the way we should be speaking to the audience and the platform through which we speak needed a fairly significant deep dive.”

Though he declined to give his opinion on “Real Is Rare” directly, Kellie did say while talking about provenance and uniqueness is important, a consumer-facing campaign really needs to start with creating emotional desire, like the old De Beers ads did.

This is key, especially in today’s “very competitive” luxury market in which diamonds are up against technology, accessories, fashion, and travel and experiences.

“We want her to dream about diamonds again,” he said, while presenting the product in “a slightly less stiff way, a slightly less formal way” that’s appealing to younger consumers, particularly millennials.

To that end, the Natural Diamond Council is slated to launch a new diamond advertising campaign in September that will run through the fall and holiday season.

Kellie said the campaign has not yet been shot because of travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus. The organization hopes to begin shooting in July, “when travel bans start lifting and everyone feels more comfortable coming together.”

The campaign will include assets for digital, video stills, TV, print and outdoor, and will be available for retailers to use.

On Monday, the council launched, a consumer-facing editorial site that aims to do for natural diamonds what Hodinkee does for watches or Wine Spectator does for wines.

The Adventurine’s Marion Fasel, longtime luxury writer Jill Newman and Benjamin Guttery of Third Coast Gems are among the writers who will contribute to the site.

“We think there’s a huge, open space to be an authoritative publisher [in the jewelry industry],” Kellie said.

Also launching Monday was, the trade-facing website where retailers can go for education content and marketing materials.

The Natural Diamond Council will also continue the Assure Diamond Verification program, which measures the accuracy of instruments designed to detect lab-grown diamonds, though overall, it seems the organization—which once seemed intent on waging war with diamond growers—is softening its stance on man-made stones.

Kellie said he has no interest in attacking lab-grown diamonds and called the organization’s former focus on them “a distraction.”

“Lab-grown diamonds will have a position in the world. I have no idea what that will be,” he said. “It’s been a distraction, to be honest.”

He said the council needs to focus on creating consumer desire for natural diamonds, which he called “Nos. 1, 2 and 3 on our list” of priorities.

“It has to be what we focus on.”

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