The Diamond Trading Company

Author:Rayna Bailey

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17 Charterhouse St.

London, EC1N 6RA

United Kingdom

Telephone: 44 20 74044444

Fax: 44 20 74303022

Web site:


The Diamond Trading Company (DTC), the London-based marketing subsidiary of the international diamond company De Beers SA, had earned a reputation for its success at creating buzz for diamond jewelry and reaching untapped consumer niches to help expand the sale of diamonds. With its promotion of eternity rings, diamond tennis bracelets, and three-stone anniversary jewelry, DTC's advertising resonated in particular with American consumers. According to the trade organization Jewelers of America, in 2000 retail sales of diamonds in the United States reached record levels, accounting for more that half of the $57.5 billion in retail diamond sales worldwide. Always watching for ways to introduce classic diamond jewelry to new market niches, in 2003 DTC introduced the right-hand ring.

With the support of its longtime advertising agency, New York-based J. Walter Thompson, the right-hand ring was introduced with a multimillion-dollar campaign that sent the message that diamond rings were no longer just for engagements and weddings. Themed "Raise Your Right Hand," the campaign featured print ads in fashion magazines and targeted baby-boomer women with annual household incomes of $100,000 or more. Ads included photos of fashion models dressed in evening clothes showing off the rings; the copy declared, "Your left hand says 'we.' Your right hand says 'me.' " Women were encouraged to change their way of thinking about diamond rings. Not only could women wear them to express their individual style, but they could buy the rings for themselves rather than waiting to get a diamond as a token of a man's love.

The campaign was a success. It was awarded a Gold EFFIE Award in 2005 for, among other things, achieving 39 percent awareness of the right-hand ring in the year following the introduction of the campaign. In addition, the campaign helped boost diamond-ring sales in the nonbridal categories by 15 percent in the year after its launch. In 2005 the ads were revamped to depict "women next door" wearing the rings, and the Diamond Trading Company's U.S. marketing arm, Diamond Promotion Service, partnered with the Internet retailer to promote October as "Right-Hand-Ring Month."


Since its beginnings in 1888 as a South African diamond-mining operation developed by the Oppenheimer family, De Beers SA had grown to a conglomerate as multi-faceted as the gems it mined. To establish a market and build social status for the diamonds it was mining, in the 1930s De Beers turned to Hollywood, draping stars and starlets in diamond jewelry for photo opportunities. Also at that time De Beers created the Diamond Trading Company to serve as its London-based sales and marketing

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arm. By the 1940s the company was emphasizing the link between diamonds and romance. Its advertisements encouraged men to shower their significant others with diamonds set in rings, necklaces, and other jewelry as a symbol of their undying love. In 1947 De Beers's ad agency introduced "A diamond is forever," a slogan that lasted for almost 60 years.

To promote the diamond engagement ring in Brazil, Germany, and Japan, in 1967 De Beers hired New York-based advertising agency J. Walter Thompson to develop an ad campaign. The campaign, which portrayed the diamond ring as a symbol of love, was only moderately successful in Brazil and Germany, but it was a hit in Japan. By 1981 more than 60 percent of the brides in Japan were receiving a diamond ring as a symbol of engagement. The professional relationship between De Beers and the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency was a success, too...

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