Dior’s one-of-a-kind cut called Le Montaigne. Weighing precisely 88.88 carats, it references the founding of the luxury brand on October 8, 1946, in the 8th arrondissement in Paris.
In the year 2000, De Beers introduced a change in its rough diamond distribution policy that turned the industry on its head. Called Supplier of Choice, the then-dominant supplier announced that, in order to be considered eligible for its exclusive sightholder status, meaning that they would receive a direct allocation of goods 10 times a year, diamond manufacturers would need to demonstrate that they are helping drive demand downstream in the consumer markets.
It was a move that caught most manufacturers, and by extension De Beers clients, unprepared. For decades they had concentrated all their efforts in cutting and polishing what had been supplied to them, blithely unaware of what mood prevailed in the consumer market. Until then they had relied on their customers in the retail jewelry markets to allocate the goods they processed in as efficient and hopefully profitable manner as possible. To do this they were supported by a generic marketing campaign funded by De Beers, to the tune of about $250 million in 2000.
But now De Beers was demanding that diamond manufacturers not only develop an understanding of what drives the market, but they also create programs to accelerate demand.
For many, the most logical alternative was to do what they knew best, and that was to create diamond cuts, and then brand them, as one would a running shoe or pair of jeans. Within the space of just several years, a range of brand-name diamond cuts had come onto the market, each one patented and fighting for a share of a market that previously did not exist.
Few of the branded cuts survived, with the reason for their failure being that almost none of the inexperienced diamond manufacturers could make the capital investment necessary to launch and maintain a consumer brand – and particularly a diamond cut, which would then need to distinguish itself in a piece of jewelry, which also may be branded.
But branded cuts appear to be making a comeback, however not in the way that was envisioned 20 years ago.
Polished diamonds fashioned according to Chaumet’s 88-facet Taille Impératrice cut, which was inspired by the hexagonal shapes of its Bee My Love collection .
DIAMOND CUTS BY LUXURY HOUSES
In 2021, to mark the centenary of the launch of its Chanel No.5 perfume, the French luxury house has announced that it is unveiling a necklace highlighted by a diamond weighing exactly 55.55 carats.
But it was not only the size of the diamond that was significant. The octagonal emerald cut diamond paid homage to the scent’s signature bottle. “For Chanel, the design and production of this necklace represents a decisive and major step in the history of fine jewelry,” said Frédéric Grangié, Chanel watches and jewelry president.
“This necklace will forever bear witness to this chapter in the history of Chanel fine jewelry,” he added.
It was the not the luxury house of debut a proprietary diamond shape. Chaumet introduced the 88-facet Taille Impératrice cut, which it said was inspired by the hexagonal shape the heart of its Bee My Love collection design.
Louis Vuitton also introduced a diamond cut – a rounded-cut flower and a pointed-cut flower, which it explained was meant to symbolize the brand’s iconic monogram.
The House of Dior has unveiled a one-of-a-kind cut called Le Montaigne. Weigh precisely 88.88 carats, it references the founding of Dior on October 8, 1946, in the 8th arrondissement in Paris.said
In 2019, also in celebration of its centenary, Italy’s Buccellati debuted the Buccellati Cut. It is 57-carat square-cut diamond with rounded edges, which is also said to represent the luxury brand’s logo.
PUTTING THE HORSE BEFORE THE CART
Only a handful of the diamond cuts introduced after the introduction of De Beers’ Supplier of Choice can still be bought today. One of them if the Leo Diamond, a patented 82-facet round cut named after the founder of one of De Beers’ oldest sightholders.
Almost certainly, the most successful brand-name diamond post 2000 is the one being sold by De Beers itself – the Forevermark.
So what changed? It was not notion of a unique cut, or the even idea that the public would buy into the concept of a branded design. What differs this time is that the horse has been put before the cart.
Successfully branded cuts circa 2020 are special diamond shapes that were created for existing brands, rather the brand being created for the cut. In other words, the cut supports the brands, instead of the other way around.
To date, the companies taking this route are top of the line luxury houses, and certain cases the diamond in question is a one-off, like the Chanel’s 55.55-carat stone or the 88.88-carat Le Montaigne by Dior. But is a day far off when a Nike diamond may go on offer, or a Ralph Lauren diamond, of a diamond by Abercrombie & Fitch?
The centerpiece of the ring is Louis Vuitton’s patented rounded-cut flower and a pointed-cut flower, which is meant to symbolize the brand’s iconic monogram.