New Diamond Cuts Try to Sparkle a New Generation of Consumers
New times demand change, and the diamond industry, though it often emphasizes the eternal prominence of its central product, isn’t immune to it. According to a piece dedicated to the subject in The Financial Times, manufacturers all over the world, large and small, have been trying to spark the imagination of consumers with new cuts for the last two decades in an effort to create new avenues for profit.
According to Willie Hamilton, chief executive of the Company of Master Jewelers in the UK, who is quoted in the piece, “the millennium brought in a flurry of signature diamond cuts”. According to Hamilton, the average spend on a diamond engagement ring in the UK is below £1,500, “which means manufacturers are constantly complaining about falling margins”. When this happens, he claims, “manufacturers have to start looking at added value rather than simply trying to cut back on costs [ …] by introducing special cuts and branded diamonds”. Hamilton’s own organization has created the Mastercut - a brand of jewelry exclusive to the group that claims to deliver 30% “more brilliance” by bringing the facet count of its round brilliant diamonds to 89.
De Beers Diamond Jewelers, the retail arm of De Beers, also joined the trend in 2001 when it launched an eight-sided square diamond. The new cut, however, failed to sell in the market. According to Andrew Coxon, President of the De Beers Institute of Diamonds, “[…] extra facets alone do not guarantee extra sparkle. The alignment of each facet is much more crucial. Making major facets smaller by dividing them up and increasing their numbers often results in less sparkle, not more”. De Beers’ painful experience, Coxon says, has taught the mining giant that “shoppers may enjoy looking at novelty cuts, but they usually buy beautifully aligned classic cuts that sparkle strongly from every angle and in all light conditions”.
A more successful example is Tiffany’s trademarked Lucida square cut, which was launched in 1999 and is still a cornerstone of its bridal offer. Garrard’s Eternal cut - an 81-facet cut devised that can be applied to a variety of cuts such as marquise and hearts as well as rounds – has also been successful.
The most recent example of the attempt to introduce new cuts belongs to Forevermark, De Beers’ retail brand, which earlier this year launched the Black Label collection of modified fancy cuts. According to the company, the soft launches in the US, Japan, China and the UK have been well received, with the most popular being the oval cut.