For more than 24 years, we've been a part of the international diamond industry publishing diamond export directories, featuring office addresses, telephone numbers, fax numbers, mobile phone number, e-mail addresses, and websites.
During the past few months, we've been asked a number of times to publish a CONSUMER CONFIDENCE Keyguide Directory about CONFLICT FREE DIAMONDS and the Kimberley Process with a list of diamond suppliers, jewelers, and reliable sources worldwide.
We are updating a comprehensive on-line directory of suppliers of conflict free diamonds.
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Did you ever wish that someone would would write a resource guide to the conflict diamond problem on the web with numerous sources and ideas?
Our aim is to be your first-stop before you start searching through the many and disparate sites about the film, The Blood Diamond; and the articles written about it and the diamond industry in the past few months and those that will be written in the months leading up to the release date of the film and all the publicity that will accompany it.
New Book Showcases Branding in the Diamond Industry
"DAWN OF A NEW ERA IN INCREASING MARKET SHARE THROUGH PROMOTING THE DIVERSITY OF DIAMOND BRANDS AND DIFFERENTIATING THE PRODUCT ITSELF".
With reverberations in the diamond industry still continuing, following the decision by De Beers' Diamond Trading Company (DTC) to revise its list of clients (sightholders) within the framework of its Strategic Review and its subsequent Supplier of Choice policy, it seems opportune that a definitive account of the Supplier of Choice saga (with its multiple brand environment strategy) be released onto the market.
That is exactly what has been done by Fran Goldstein, the publisher of the internationally acclaimed Keyguide Directories, which are those indispensable pocket-sized reference guides to the diamond centers. Goldstein¹s latest publication is entitled "Sightholder Showcase", and it carries the subtitle "The branding of the diamond industry".
In her own, almost intuitive style, Goldstein offers "a collection of observations, personal stories, articles, and illustrative case studies," documenting the path that diamond companies have taken since they were instructed three years ago by the DTC to introduce new marketing methods so as to comply with the new De Beers strategy.
"Sightholder Showcase" Goldstein began writing "Sightholder Showcase" in the days following the DTC's first announcement, in July 2000, that it would no longer be acting as the custodian of the diamond industry, but would rather strive to be its supplier of choice. To be eligible for a direct rough diamond supply, the DTC said, a client would have to demonstrate that it is both effective in adding value to its diamond product and helping drive demand downstream in both the diamond and diamond-set jewelry markets.
Goldstein's first book initiative shows how and why the DTC took a group of seasoned diamantaires, all of whom were amateurs and neophytes in this part of the new diamond world, and turned them into "brand mavens". Published just a month before De Beers actually informed its clients who would be receiving a rough diamond supply during 2004 and 2005, it almost reads like a detective story.
It consists of 4 parts: an introductory section, a section providing background information about Supplier of Choice, a section offering case studies of a wide variety of diamond branding initiatives, and a section outlining the various branding programs that are being implemented, downstream, in the jewelry consumer markets worldwide.
Goldstein draws from her 20 years of experience in the diamond industry, and compels the reader to keep the pages turning, as she reveals her methodology and exposes, layer by layer, the inner workings of branding, downstream initiatives, diamond jewelry marketing, advertising, public relations, and a host of other disciplines that have been mobilized in an industry that Supplier of Choice has induced to become vertically integrated.
A few of the topics that are covered include lifestyle advertising, co-op advertising, brand synergy, added value, brand zones, consumer market segmentation, the domestic market in India including the emergence of DTC supported brands, strategic retail partnerships, the introduction of the fashion world into the diamond business, Right Hand Rings, the industry's acceptance of marketing and advertising professionals and brand consultants, DTC flagship programs, and the role of the Diamond Promotion Service and the DTC's Key Account Managers.
And, now, Goldstein is already at work on a second "companion" book that will deal, in greater detail, with how the marketing and branding initiatives in the diamond business worldwide are developing and panning out in practice.
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A Brand New World
Solitaire Magazine - India - February March 2004
The diamond industry was catapulted towards monumental change when De Beers announced its Supplier of Choice policy in mid-2000, literally reinventing the world in which it operated.
A new book that seeks to explore the contours of the transformation provides a useful guide to the emerging world. If there¹s one thing that binds both upmarket travellers and backpack tourists on the eve of embarking on a trip to a new country, it is the quest for a comprehensive and authoritative guide book. Once armed with a list of the players one is likely to come across, the basics of the strategies one may encounter, and other related tips, even the most inexperienced traveller will not hesitate to venture forth.
Imagine for a second that it's not just a new country one is setting out to explore, but an entirely new world, and the usefulness of even a preliminary guide will get multiplied many times over.
"Sightholder Showcase, The branding of the diamond industry." It is for reasons like these that almost everyone associated directly or indirectly with the diamond industry will welcome Fran Goldstein¹s publication entitled "Sightholder Showcase, The branding of the diamond industry." Released to the industry in mid-2003, just before the DTC revamped its now public sightholder list and even as the impact of the SoC began to be felt far and wide, the book is certainly the first, and till date perhaps the only attempt to encapsulate the new demand driven strategies that are being implemented by the DTC and to document their impact all the way downstream.
The author herself acknowledges that the book, on which she began work in July 2000, has evolved in the process of compiling the information through personal interviews, phone calls, emails and hours of painstaking research, and has now emerged as "a collection of observations, personal stories, articles and illustrative case studies." The result however, is a systematic and comprehensive presentation of the outlines of the De Beers strategy, some of the basic driving forces behind it, a few of the roadblocks it faced, and the resultant impact it has had on the sightholders in particular and the diamond trade in general.
It captures the effects of what can be called the essence of that change i.e. only those diamantaires who could effectively add value to the product at the manufacturing and marketing stage and also grow downstream demand through innovative strategies like branding, would continue to receive direct rough supplies from the DTC with a close look at what is happening in the leading diamond manufacturing centres of the world and some of the key consuming markets.
The book is divided into four parts for easier reference. The introductory section is followed by background information about SoC; case studies of the wide variety of branding initiatives in the diamond sector; and a last section that summarises the various methods by which the new thrust towards branding is being implemented downstream, in the jewellery consumer markets worldwide.
Industry Changes For an industry reader it is a fascinating narrative as the various strands of change across industry centres and markets are woven together into a single tapestry linked by the common thread of branding. Who would have ever imagined in mid-2000 that the reverberations of the announcement emanating from 17, Charterhouse Street would impact the retail, advertising, public relations, internet, fashion and a host of other related industries, eventually pushing up spends on marketing initiatives well above the target set by De Beers within the first three years itself.
But the book goes further to explore the structure and style of the DTC management set up itself, introducing the reader to DTC flagship programmes, the role of the Diamond Promotion Service and the DTC¹s Key Account Managers. The latter are the behind-the-scenes people, working closely with a particular segment of the DTC clientele to analyse, guide and develop the strategies for each individual sightholder. Interestingly, the book reveals, these teams are not structured on a geographical basis, but rather work with companies with a similar profile, irrespective of which market they may be situated in.
Goldstein also takes the reader through the DTC's own programmes like the Arisia, Asmi and Nakshatra brands that have been developed in India in conjunction with not one, but a group of sightholders. She however does bring out the fact that even these flagship programmes are individually adapted by each company. The sections on the Trilogy marketing and the Right Hand Ring programme, which was just being unveiled as the book was released, also make for an interesting insight.
Topics Covered A few of the other topics that are covered include lifestyle advertising, co-op advertising, brand synergy, added value, brand zones, consumer market segmentation, strategic retail partnerships, the introduction of the fashion world into the diamond business, the industry¹s acceptance of marketing and advertising professionals and brand consultants and so on.
The book is indeed a pioneering effort, and even though in the dynamic scenario that the SoC has unfolded, a lot of the information already needs to be updated, is nevertheless a useful snapshot of the changes that had been triggered off by mid 2003. The author has already announced that a "sequel" is on the way, one that follows the first narrative further downstream, studying the actual success, and in some cases possibly failures of the policy being implemented in practice.
Perhaps "Sightholder Showcase 2" will fill in one of the felt lacunae an analysis of how other players in the business are reacting to these changes, of the many other facets and fallouts of the SoC strategy that may or may not have been conceived of as corollaries to the main theorem, and the myriad other upheavals that are taking place within the diamond industry as a result of the sutras being defined by the main players.
For, like it or not, there are multiple facets to the brand new world that is evolving out there, and a comprehensive guide cannot afford to leave out any of them.
The Blood Diamond
New Film - The Blood Diamond - December 2006
A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT THE FILM and THE DIAMOND INDUSTRY
• Simon Mpofana is a charming 10 year old who played the part of an amputee in one of the pivotal scenes of the film on location in Port Edward. Photographed with the stars of the film, he quickly became a local celebrity in the South African media and back at school with his friends.
Simon and his classmates (Bizana's Vukuzenzele Special School) spent several days on location near Port Edward, South Africa, as extras on a film that will be released in December 2006, in the USA. The 16 adult extras and eight children were recruited to work on the film by Charl Beukes of the Amputees' Club, which has helped thousands of Southern Africans live a more normal life by getting them new limbs and proper compensation for their injuries.
In an article in April 2006, David Macgregor described the scenes that the extras were in, writing, “The film is based on the civil war in Sierra Leone and the amputees play a crucial part in depicting the horrors that unfolded in that strife-torn country. During fighting between warlords funded by money from blood diamonds, hundreds of people had their arms and legs hacked off.”
Photographs with the Stars
Macgregor wrote, “For days the Transkei amputees cheerfully worked in the heat without so much as a complaint.” And then described what happened on the set. saying, “There was a ban on all media since filming began in November....however, the extras caught the eye of DiCaprio, and when asked by an assistant director if there was any chance the Hollywood stars would pose for a few snapshots with the young amputees, he obliged.”
Despite a hectic filming schedule, the action was cut for a few minutes while DiCaprio strolled over to be photographed with the youngsters. Within seconds he was joined by Connelly and Hounsou (who is holding Simon in the photo on the home page of www.cometogetherauction.org).
Macgregor wrote, “Worn out after only a few hours of filming, Simon, the youngest amputee on set, said the thought of replacing his heavy peg leg with a lightweight prosthetic was what kept him going.” In April, Simon said, "It is hard work and I get blisters on my stump, but it will all be worthwhile when I get my new leg and can live a normal life."
In June, Simon was the first of the children to be fitted with a new leg. In a second article, David Macgregor wrote, “The crew, working on the $160 million Blood Diamond blockbuster, were so moved by Simon Mpofana’s hard work as an extra last month in Port Edward, they offered to help.”
The extras had worked hard in the scenes they were in, “Despite a gruelling schedule, there was not a single complaint from any of the extras. They gritted their teeth and soldiered on despite aches and pains from chafing prosthetics.”
And according to Charl Beukes of the Amputee Club of South Africa - who recruited all 27 amputees from the rural Transkei hills as part of Premier Nosimo Balindlela’s Prosthetic Project - it was this kind of steely resolve which won over the crew and they put together approximately Rand 23,000 when they wrapped up shooting on the Wild Coast before moving the location to Mozambique.
Beukes said it was heartbreaking to choose one person out of the 28 to get a new limb. “We could not help any of the double amputees as the amount of money raised was not enough. We barely had enough money to buy the leg for Simon,” Beukes said.
Although all of the amputees were promised new limbs by the filmmakers, Beukes said they would only be ready by the end of the year – to coincide with the world premiere of Blood Diamond.
Dreams of Playing Soccer
Back at school, Macgregor described the scene, “Beaming when Beukes delivered the new limb, Mpofana said he could now realize his dream of becoming the next Jabu Pule.”
“This is the happiest day of my life. Now I can get rid of my crutches and (peg) leg and learn to kick a ball properly,” Simon said.
Sharing the Happiness
Watched by his mother Yoliswa, Simon gingerly shuffled along on his new leg to the applause of hundreds of schoolmates.
Since then, his teachers have said that his schoolwork has improved, noting that he was always a good student, but now he has more confidence and more energy. The new prosthetic has had a good impact on his personality and he is gradually becoming more outgoing.
And, sharing in all of this, his classmates are very happy for him. Simon is still learning to walk with his new leg, but he likes to show what he can do now because of it.
But the best thing is - and more than anything else - he loves the idea that he can wear 2 shoes.
THE CAST - THE BLOOD DIAMOND
Leonardo DiCaprio (Diamond Smuggler - Danny Archer), Djimon Hounsou (Mende Fisherman - Solomon Vandy), and Jennifer Connelly (Journalist - Maddy Bowen) were a few of the cast members who filmed in London the weekend of May 12th. “The city of London is like a ghost town at the weekend, which is why they filmed there then!” noted www.realmovie.com
Also in London, Welsh actor, Michael Sheen, was cast as a “crafty diamond buyer” who strikes a deal with the smuggler.
Stephen Collins (7th Heaven) joined the cast to play an ambassador.
David S. Lee, Karl McMIllan, and Gaurav Chopraa played the part of journalists. Chopraa’s credits include appearing (in Durban, South Africa) in a musical Bombay Crush; in the U.K. production Break Water (Cannes in 2003); and with Arjun and Simran in the Tamil film Ottran. Back in Bollywood, Gaurav has plans to use his degree in fashion to launch his own label.
• British actor, Jimi Mistry, appeared in the stage play "East is East", "Born Romantic", "The Mystic Masseur", and "The Guru" (his first film in the US). In Guru, Mistry plays the part of a young Indian dance instructor, Ramu, who goes to New York with dreams of finding fame and fortune.
• South African supermodel, Nicola Breytenbach, returned to Cape Town from New York to make her acting debut. Nicola was the “Revlon Girl” and appeared in commercials worldwide. A model since the age of 19, the Blood Diamond was her first acting experience.
• South African (Pretoria) born (1962) Hollywood star Arnold Vosloo is known for his performances in The Mummy and the sequel, The Mummy Returns.
• Basil Wallace immigrated to the United States from Jamaica, West Indies. A television and stage actor, he has appeared on some popular programs including CSI, The West Wing, NYPD Blue, China Beach, Judging Amy, and The Practice.
• David Harewood appeared as Inspector Marshall in "Separate Lies". In this film, he plays the part of Captain Poison.
• Ato Essandoh (known for his role as Sam's brother "Titembay" in "Garden State") has been on television shows including "Law & Order". He appears with Will Smith in the film "Hutch"; and with Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep in "Prime".
• Adetokumboh M'Cormack was born in Sierra Leone and grew up in Kenya. He attended the Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film at SUNY Purchase where he was graduated from the Acting program. In LOST, a reality show on ABC television, he played the part of Mr. Eko's brother Yemi. www.lost-media.com
• Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine is considered by many to be “Africa's mega film star in the making”. After the successful 2003 world premiere (in Uganda) of his multi-media solo piece, Biro, it has been performed in several countries and at HIFA 2006. Mwine's first effort as a filmmaker was a documentary titled, 'Beware of Time'.
• The film is diirected by Edward Zwick whose credits include the Last Samurai, Shakespeare in Love, and I Am Sam.
• Before designing costumes for The Blood Diamond, Auckland costume designer, Ngila Dickson, spent 18 months (with a team of 35) designing costumes for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. She also ran her own fashion magazine (Cha Cha) and worked as head designer on 2 television shows, Hercules and Xena - The Warrior Princess.
• Nick Laws, production supervisor in Mozambique, was the production supervisor of The Constant Gardener.
• Rob Harris (the unit publicist) has many films to his credit including Syriana, Poseidon, Hotel Rwanda, Troy, Hannibal, The Perfect Storm, Gladiator, and Air Force One.
• During the time Sorious Samura was a consultant on the film, he introduced the film Cry Freetown to the cast. "Almost everyone was shown Cry Freetown," he said. "It was the first time Leo knew that these things happened. Then he became really engaged and wanted to know how and why.'"
Samura clarified a point of contention, noting that although the movie would raise ethical questions about African diamond exports, “it would not be a polemic against De Beers, the dominant trader.”
In an interview, he said, "De Beers is really worried, but I made it clear when I got involved that I don't want people to turn around when this film goes out and say we're not going to buy diamonds anymore. There are still a few countries in Africa that are doing well out of diamonds, like Botswana."
• Marshall Herskovitz (screenplay and producer) was elected president of the 3,000 member Producers Guild of America (replacing Kathleen Kennedy), where he has been a strong voice in the PGA's fight to curb the proliferation of producer credits. Herskovitz's film credits include Legends of the Fall, Traffic, I Am Sam, and The Last Samurai. Herskovitz is one of 7 producers listed on this film ( lists 10 producing credits). When asked about this, Herskovitz said, “Producer credits are a matter of negotiation. I can't control what Warner Bros. negotiates when it makes a movie."
• www.amctv.com describes Paula Weinstein (Spring Creek Pictures) as being “as well-known for her involvement in social issues as she is on her production acumen.”
Ms. Weinstein began her career as an assistant film editor in New York City. She joined Warner Bros as Vice President of Production in 1976; and then 20th Century Fox as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Production. In the 1980s, she moved to United Artists as President of the Motion Picture Division. In 1990, Paula Weinstein and Mark Rosenberg created Spring Creek Productions.
In 1989 Weinstein and Rosenberg received the Bill of Rights Award from the Southern California Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
A founding member of the Hollywood Women's Political Committee, Weinstein was honored by the National Urban League Guild at their Beaux Arts Ball in 1990. When Nelson Mandela made his first official visit to the United States, Weinstein served as the official representative from the Hollywood community and supervised all elements of his visit to Los Angeles. She was honored by Women in Film with a Crystal Apple Award, which recognized her extraordinary contribution to the entertainment community.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN
The diamond industry is worried about the impact of the film when it is released during the holiday season. They have taken a number of steps to protect their interests.
[SusanThea Posnock www.nationaljeweler.com “Trade prepares retailers for Blood Diamond film fallout” June 7, 2006]
JWT - Publicity
• Richard Lennox is the director in charge of the diamond group at JWT. Worried about one thing in particular, “Without being given the broader context, the film and its publicity could be damaging,” he says. "If we are absolutely committed to making sure that no conflict diamond is acceptable, then consumers will retain their faith in us," he says.
An important aspect of that, Lennox says, is informing the public how important the diamond trade is to African countries.
In addition to working within the trade, the industry has also enlisted the service of a top Hollywood communications firm, Sitrick, in order to build a relationship between the industry and the filmmakers of The Blood Diamond.
Sitrick - Public Relations
• Allan Mayer, a Hollywood public relations expert, is working for the diamond industry versus the studio producing it. He told a group of diamantaires at the JCK Show in Las Vegas that the filmmakers were not looking to make a controversial picture, but a romantic adventure. He noted that the context could have a negative impact. Mayer said the version of the end title card (that he saw in the working script) indicates that peace has come to Sierra Leone, but also informs consumers that the conflict diamond issue continues and that consumers should be aware of this.
Mayer said that he was trying to get the studio to also note (in the end title card) that the industry, government, and NGO efforts have also reduced the trade dramatically. He was not sure he would succeed, noting that the “good news” was that the studio was willing to listen to the industry; however, he thought that the best approach was “to assume the worst”.
Starting in July 2006, a publicity campaign is planned to educate consumers about the positive impact of diamonds.
In her article, Posnock quotes Mayer, "This is something we've been thinking about for a long time, but it took the movie to galvanize us," Mayer said.
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Revised: 25 JUNE 06 1836 GMT