When synthetic diamonds are debated among diamontaires it brings up flames of anger and frustration and almost always conjures up the parallel associative - pearls. Of course, I’m referring to the terrible, decades-long tragedy caused by cultured pearls to the price of natural pearls.
But let’s ceasefire for a moment and let me tell you a completely different story I read in Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely about a guy named Salvador Asahel.
Salvador Asahel made an agreement in 1976 to purchase black pearls that were found on a Polynesian island. These pearls had no market in the West, nobody knew them or categorized them as high quality, decorative or jewelry-worthy. So, as expected, all of Asahel's attempts to sell them failed.
But Asahel had good business sense so he took the black pearls, made magnificent pieces of jewelry and gave them to his friend, a leading jewelry dealer named Harry Winston. Together, they advertised the pieces of jewelry in the most prestigious magazines as glorious models showcased them. All this, of course, at outrageous prices. Overnight, the Polynesian shellfish products became the desired asset – so popular they were almost unattainable.
The synthetic diamonds are already here. They’re penetrating into our market as we speak, storming into our lives like Daesh in Syria. Resisting it is like closing the dam after the water already caused the flood.
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The only weapon that can be used to create a clear separation in the customers' eyes and an understanding between natural diamonds and synthetic diamonds is to brand them right.
When someone buys a high-value branded item (like a Fendi purse or a Rolex watch) his sense of worth increases both internally and externally. The new item causes him to view himself with a higher regard and those around him judge him favorably as well… he is suddenly regarded as more important, perhaps more influential and certainly more affluent. Leading the customer toward identification with the product by way of emotions and subconscious feelings will make him value the product, while his social needs (such as associating a particular group or class) will make him want to pay more.
Synthetic diamonds, just like synthetic fur, leather, imitation brands and even copied art have their own place in the market. But the real product will always be more desirable if it will not bow its head in front of its rivals but rather raise its praises toward its unquestionable status.
And, like any genuine product, it must be stamped. Marked. Registered “authorized” and traceable like a dog with a chip. The sooner the better, before the mixing process of natural and synthetic diamonds plagues the industry and becomes non-traceable.
Whenever I consulted with engaged couples ready to purchase a diamond, just to broaden their horizons when it comes to purchasing such a precious product, I showed them at first rough diamonds. Every time, they found it difficult to believe how carbon can crystallize in such a spectacular manner, naturally. God created it. Sure, we mined it, cut it and shined it, but these couples were wide eyed with wonder upon discovering that that nature did this all by itself. Isn't it one of the wonders of creation?
Surely, when a man ultimately bows down on his knees proposing that his beloved unite with him in holy matrimony, our industry's goal should be to ensure that her insistence sounds like this:
“I want God’s blessing on God’s diamond.”
Our message, our future differentiator setting us apart from the synthetics is branding: It’s God’s creation.
We just polished the edges.