#JWLV – Rio Tinto’s "Diamonds With A Story" Part 1 – the Glamour #LUXURY #JCK2013

by Robyn Hawk on July 3, 2013


One of the best bits of information, for me, to come out of LUXURY was the news that Rio Tinto would be retaining it's Diamond Companies, and has, in fact expanded on their "Diamonds With A Story" campaign.

According to it's description on JCK Marketplace: Rio Tinto is one of the world’s major diamond producers through our 100 per cent control of the Argyle mine in Australia, 60 per cent share of the Diavik mine in Canada, 78 per cent interest in the Murowa mine in Zimbabwe and 100% ownership of the Bunder Project in India. All of our diamond operations are committed to making a positive contribution towards sustainable development, with our stewardship interest focused on the exploration, production and sales of rough diamonds.
A little recent history - Rio Tinto owns a majority stake in three major Diamond Mines - the most productive of which is the Argyle mine, famous for it's fancy brown, pink and red diamonds. Earlier this year, Rio Tinto announced that it would be selling off it's Diamond Division...then in a reversal they announced that it has decided to “retain its diamonds businesses after concluding a strategic review which considered a range of options, including potential divestment.”
In a quote from Anthony DeMarco's blog on Jewellery Net Asia:
“The medium to long-term market fundamentals for diamonds remain robust, fuelled by growing demand for luxury goods in Asia and continuing strong demand in North America,” said Rio Tinto Diamonds & Minerals chief executive Alan Davies. “We have valuable, high-quality diamonds businesses that are well positioned to capitalise on the positive market outlook. After considering a number of alternative strategic ownership options it is clear the best path to generate maximum value for our shareholders is to retain these businesses.”


At the 2012 LUXURY show in Las Vegas, Rio Tinto introduced the "Diamonds With A Story" campaign in an effort to educate buyers, manufacturers, and consumers about the origins of Rio Tinto diamonds. Armed with information from a Shand Group research project, the company indicated that more than three quarters of consumers care about where their diamond is from and how it is mined.
“The four Cs are still important, however for today’s consumer we need to go further and explain the other layers which are the human, geological, and cultural histories wrapped up in every Rio Tinto diamond,” Jean-Marc Lieberherr, general manager for the sales and marketing of diamonds of Rio Tinto mines, said in a statement to JCK's Jennifer Heebner.

This year, in a statement to Centurion Editor Hedda Schupak, Bruno Sane, general manager of marketing for Rio Tinto Diamonds, said, "Diamonds With A Story is the umbrella signature of our global market development initiatives in both established and emerging markets. It is also recognizes that diamonds are not commodities, that every diamond has a story worth telling which consumers are keen to hear.”

Carrying that product one step further - this year at LUXURY the mining giant introduced ...the rest of the story!
Rebecca Foerster, US vice president at Rio Tinto Diamonds, talked about the new chapter of their campaign as "inspiration to the industry"...she explained that today's younger consumer isn't looking for the bling factor - they really want the "story" of their stone.

How does Rio Tinto seek to inspire? 

 ...four new, unique diamond stories—Shaped by Origin, Cutting Impact, Mixed Medium, and Color My World. 
Press and Designers gather in the Rio Tinto Booth at LUXURY - the four distinct new stories is visible above our heads
At their annual Press Event at LUXURY, they showed how these stories could inspire. Rio Tinto engaged 8 designers to address a specific story and those collections were for sale to Retailers attending JCK & LUXURY. 


According to Forester: . “The hope is that retailers will be interested in showcasing these collections in stores, since the designers brought the stories to life, and for others to be inspired to make their own beautiful jewelry based on these themes.”

The always charming and very competent hand orchestrating the many facets of this event was the Industry's favorite Spokeperson, Michael O'Connor

Using diamonds sourced from Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Australia and Diavik mine in Canada these designer pieces were chosen because of their unique representation of the company's initiative.

Shaped By Origin concentrates on the origins of Rio Tinto's stones and the company's projects in the regions it mines - represented by designer Zoltan David's Dreamcatcher Collection, from the Aboriginal, Dreamtime. This very elegant tribal look of a blackened Stainless Steel open structure set with Argyle Diamonds on a rose gold backing the color of Australia's red earth, spoke to the Maori people, indigenous to Australia's Outback and the location of the Argyle Mine. 




Zoltan David was joined in this category by the effervescent Shelly Purdy, the designer is as sparkling as her Royal Collection utilizing Canadian Diamonds from Rio Tinto's Diavik mine...





...and Belgian company, Casa Gi whose rugged, masculine collection will have every man wearing diamonds! 




Mixed Media this category really proved that these were NOT your Grandmother's Diamonds, presenting Diamonds in some of the many diverse media that Designers are creating in today!  Beautifully represented by Kara Ross of Kara Ross New York, LLC, her work with Diamonds in Concrete (the obviously diverse dichotomy of the materials represented the streets of New York) and in Wood was a collection of bold and forward thinking pieces.




Cutting Impact  plays up sustainability and ethical issues - emphasizing company projects in the regions it mines...this category was represented by Alexandra Hart's Pure Flight Collection...the designer's own blog features a 5 part write up of her journey with this collection.


....and Phyllis Bergman of Mercury Ring - as the co-founder of the Diamond Empowerment Fund, being chosen in this category is, I would imagine, dear to her heart.





















Color My World is the heart and soul of the Argyle Diamonds - natural colored diamonds from this location range from champagne to cognac and pale pinks to reds...Rio Tinto mines have also produced Silvermist.   Representing color was Kristin Hanson whose Skyline Collection paid homage to the skyline of her home in New York.

 
Also in this category is the aptly named "Color Me Vivid"  Collection from Joan Park with its colorful and distinctly Bollywood feel - this was a very consumer friendly collection.




Rio Tinto hopes that retailers will not only purchase these lines for their stores but that they will inspire them to create their own "Stories".

Part Two of this story will cover the Mines - the presentation at LUXURY gave a rare glimpse into the actual mining process.

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