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News & Highlight


  • Natural Diamond Council (NDC) CEO David Kellie
  • According to the ‘Style Collective: Trend Report’, gypsy set natural diamond ring is a perfect setting for today’s lifestyle and a great alternative to the classic prong setting.

Interview with David Kellie, NDC CEO

The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) launched by seven mining companies, including De Beers and Alrosa, has rebranded into Natural Diamond Council (NDC) to continue its mission to promote natural diamond. David Kellie, a marketing veteran who was head of Watches of Switzerland in the United States and held 14 years of various leadership roles at Ralph Lauren, has taken over Jean-Marc Lieberherr’s position as CEO to bring his precious insight into diamond marketing. Hong Kong Jewellery is pleased to have David Kellie to share his views and plans.


HKJM: Hong Kong Jewellery

DK: David Kellie


What inspired DPA’s rebranding?

We want to create a laser focus on what we represent, which is the natural diamond industry. As the world revolves around fast-paced digital communication, the new name speaks in a straightforward and simple way. The millennial generation now accounts for 29 percent of the global population. They have a great deal of learning platforms to have a better understanding of the products they are about to buy. We provide a platform to offer a new perspective and share values of the incredible products that the industry creates with them.


How do your prior experience in marketing timepieces and fashion prepare you for the new role?

The success in both the fashion and luxury watch industries has been built upon strong and emotional narratives focusing on desirable lifestyle and craftsmanship. Diamonds connect in much the same way, with even stronger narratives. There is a considerable potential to grow the diamond jewellery market if we learn from the best practices of the fashion and Swiss watch industries, particularly in the digital environment.


What do you think are the biggest challenges the jewellery industry will face? What opportunities have however opened up for the diamond industry?

The current economic climate creates unprecedented challenges for the luxury industry. Global diamond jewellery retail sales in the first half of 2020 declined in the light of shopping mall lockdowns and quarantine measures around the world, yet we foresee a potential surge in luxury good purchase is around the corner. The COVID-19 crisis has reminded people to treasure bonds in their lives. As the economy improves, customers will purchase luxury goods that celebrate commemorative relationships with friends and loved ones. Natural diamonds hold such emotional appeal. 


Why has NDC targeted millennial as one of the major audiences?

Millennial has robust purchasing power. Based on our observation, more and more young female consumers aged between 20-25 years old in China would purchase their first diamond jewellery to commemorate milestone in their life, such as first job, first promotion, first bonus etc.


How has customer behaviour changed? What purchasing experience is customers looking for? 

Diamond industry analyst Paul Zimnisky predicted there is pent-up demand in luxury goods purchase awaiting release. In place of travelling and other experiences, millennial and Gen Z consumers treat themselves with luxury goods amidst coronavirus associated lockdown and travel restrictions. Customers will prefer products with a focus on quality and authenticity over quantity.


What B2B and B2C initiatives have been and will be launched?

NDC has launched a new website Only Natural Diamonds (OND). It functions as a resource portal for diamond professionals providing easy access to industry resources, customisable marketing materials, e-learning programs, and latest industry news.


OND also serves as an educational hub which contains need-to-know facts before purchasing diamond jewellery. It is divided into five categories: ‘Epic Diamonds’, ‘Hollywood & Pop Culture’, ‘Love & Diamonds’, ‘Diamonds 101’ and ‘Inside the Diamond World’. Insightful articles written by jewellery editorial veterans such as Jill Newman, Marion Fasel and Carol Woolton has been released regularly. 


Biannually, diamond jewellery trend forecasting entitled ‘Style Collective: Trend Report’ launched as a trend guide for retailers for the upcoming season and a reference for consumers in search of styling tips. This September, we invited Jill Newman, jewellery influencer Katerina Perez, Hollywood fashion stylist Cristina Ehrlich, Moda Operandi market director Will Kahn and British Vogue jewellery and watch director Rachel Garrahan co-publish the report.


Customers nowadays have a high level of awareness of sustainable development. They prefer brands that embody environmental responsibility and share the same ethical and social value. OND will reveal sustainable and ethical practices of the producers.


Since the debut of OND on 1 June, we have seen a greater-than-expected consumer engagement rate. The daily traffic in July was 20 times more than a year ago. Social media engagement are 30 times higher. We are now speaking to millions of potential consumers every day. OND will inspire and inform consumers around the world about the values and heritage of natural diamonds, as well as promoting innovations happening in the global diamond industry.

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