We’ve all heard that a diamond is forever, but who came up with the phrase?
Is it even real, representing the truth about diamonds and what they are worth, or is it a marketing gimmick?
Is this unforgettable tagline accurate, and are the diamonds that rare and meant to last forever?
Which Company Coined The Ad Slogan A Diamond Is Forever?
The now infamous phrase about diamonds was curated by the marketing team at the De Beers Group, a leading diamond mining company.
At the time, diamonds were considered quite rare, but they weren’t. However, like other marketing companies, De Beers was interested in finding new and better ways of getting more people to buy diamonds.
Since the sparkle of the stones wasn’t enough to sell them, they needed a phrase that would make the diamonds much more alluring and for more people to buy them, and that is how they came up with the phrase, A Diamond is Forever.
At the time the phrase was coined, diamonds were in abundance since they hadn’t been rare since the 1800s, in 1870.
But even before De Beers’ phrase, diamonds were popular, and for the longest time, they were considered to be symbols of power, wealth, and decadent romantic dreams.
The diamonds were very precious, expensive, and pretty much unattainable, except for the elite and the wealthiest individuals in the society.
However, all that changed when the leading jewelry retailer De Beers’ marketing team came up with the marketing campaign that changed things forever. N.W led the marketing team.
Ayer & Son Creatives worked on and came up with a brilliant campaign and the marketing pitch with the tagline, A Diamond is Forever. This tagline came to life in 1947 when the creative company’s copywriter called, Frances Gerety, based in the Philadelphia-based advertising agency, coined the phrase, A Diamond is Forever.
This was the perfect slogan because it reminded the world that the diamond was a great memorial object for love, so it would have to stay in the family and wouldn’t be sold.
The most ironic thing about all this, especially Gerety’s iconic phrase, is the fact that Gerety never got married, and she died as a spinster.
Notably, this phrase was coined during the Great Depression, when the De Beers company was out looking for the perfect strategy to boost their diamond sales. Naturally, diamond sales had fallen at the time, and the tagline helped to boost sales.
And so, over 70 years on, this 4-letter phrase remains the most successful and popular branding phrase to date. Since 1948 to date, De Beers has used the tagline, and it remains the phrase that pushes the brand’s success.
In addition to making diamonds the most popular gemstones at the time, the tagline also changed the public perceptions and attitudes toward diamonds, and from that day, diamonds were no longer reserved for the rich.
The tagline also convinced people that diamonds were essential for marriage and that marriage was incomplete without a diamond ring. So, by 1999, the phrase, A Diamond is Forever, was the century’s top-rated and most successful slogan.
Today, the modern engagement rings are all pretty much credited to Gerety alongside her colleagues in the advertising agency. Before the campaign’s debut, it wasn’t common for partners to propose with diamonds, but it became commonplace after the ad slogan was created.
Interestingly, a campaign meant to run parallel to A Diamond is Forever was launched years later in 1977, and it featured a black and white video featuring two individuals who appeared in a commercial by De Beers.
The individuals were at either Cape Cod or the Hamptons, essentially locations where the wealthy lived. In the film, the only color seen is that of the gold-colored diamond solitaire diamond ring which the guy proposed with.
In the proposal, the film shows the guy noting that the only way his two-month salary could last forever is if it was spent on a diamond because a diamond lasts forever.
According to this ad and the film, the diamond was seen as the best way to show love and commitment. Diamonds have since been romanticized and come with a considerable price tag.
About De Beers Group
The De Beers Group is, without a doubt, the leading diamond company in the world; and it is known as the leading company with a high level of expertise in all matters regarding the exploration of diamonds, such as diamond exploration, grading, mining, marketing, and the sale of the diamonds.
The company boasts over 20,000 employees who work in the global diamond pipeline. They have teams in several countries, including Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Canada.
In addition to leading the exploration and mining for diamonds, De Beers Group also runs several diamond stores.
The company is a partner jeweler in other locations across the world.
The diamonds and the jewelry designs by the De Beers group all bring so much joy and significance to diamond lovers worldwide.
Some of the diamond brands owned and run by the DeBeers company include De Beers Jewellers, Forevermark, and Libert’aime by Forevermark.
De Beers Monopoly – Case Study
De Beers has operated as a monopoly that’s had control over the supply and pricing of diamonds. This is something they held on to for the longest time, and it wasn’t until the turn of the 21st century that De Beers’ monopoly was completely shattered. How exactly did this happen?
Well, De Beers was founded in 1888 by Cecil Rhodes, a British mining enthusiast, and business. The company he founded, De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited, was responsible for exploring, mining, and selling polished diamonds.
Overall, he intended to purchase as many diamond mines as he could, and he did that quite successfully, gaining monopoly over the rest of the South African mines.
He dominated the market for years and held over 85% of all the diamonds in the world at one point. To gain more control, he created the De Beers distribution channel, the Diamond Trading Co (DTC), through which sightholders or buyers were pre-approved.
They also controlled the pricing of diamonds by holding on to the rough diamonds when the market was weak and flooding it when the demand for diamonds increased.
But they could only do this for so long. In the 2nd half of the 20th century, when new diamond mines were discovered in Canada, Russia, and Australia, and subsequently the formation of Australia’s Argyle Diamond mine, De Beers was up for some very stiff competition.
The new company started marketing their diamonds the same way as De Beers, and soon after, things started changing, with the new mines bypassing De Beers’ DTC because they no longer had to sell to De Beers.
With these rapid changes, De Beers had a tough time maintaining its global control. Soon after, De Beers lost its monopoly to the other mining companies, and De Beers redirected its focus to having less control over the market.
De Beers Market Share
Following the end of their monopoly, De Beers’ stake in the market stands at about 35% from 80%.
De Beers headquarters
De Beers is headquartered in London, UK.
Who owns De Beers company today?
Currently, De Beers is owned by Anglo American, with an 85% stake in the company, and the Botswana government owns the remaining 15%.
De Beers Group coined the phrase A Diamond is Forever, and though they owned more than 85% stake in diamonds worldwide at some point, they now own about 35% stake after losing monopoly to the competitors.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.