The FURA Marketing Council, led by miner FURA Gems, is launching a global coloured gemstone B2B and B2C marketing campaign to help every level of the supply chain, including retailers, realise the growing opportunity that coloured gemstones offer.
Liz Chatelain, President of the FURA Marketing Council, has joind Jewellery Outlook Editor David Brough in a webinar, entitled “How to Boost Sales of Coloured Gemstones”, on Friday June 11, to discuss the global strategy.
Jewellery designer Erica Courtney has also joined the event to reveal key trends in coloured gemstone-set jewellery designs.
Please click below to watch the replay:
In the following interview with Jewellery Outlook, Liz Chatelain explains why the coloured gemstone marketing campaign is needed and how it will unfold.
Liz, how did you come to realise that a global campaign to promote coloured gemstones was required?
My company, MVEye Marketing, recently conducted a trade and consumer research on the North American coloured gemstone market for FURA Gems, the only miner which has emerald, ruby and sapphire mines, and found overwhelming tastes by consumers for coloured gemstones.
93 percent of those consumers surveyed said they love/like coloured gemstone jewellery. But retailers only do 9-10 percent of their total trade with coloured gemstone jewellery. There were many ‘disconnects’ such as this one, the research exposed.
We found that the supply chain needed support, notably in encouraging retailers to increase their offering of coloured gemstones — as displays of jewellery tend to be very “white on white,” white metal and white diamonds often linked to traditional bridal demand. We identified a growing demand for coloured gemstones in bridal jewellery in North America, and we believe that this trend will continue to gather pace.
We also saw a need to boost the excitement, education, and training of retail sales staff. Our programme will focus on driving interest and confidence for coloured gemstone jewellery.
Why had there been no effective generic marketing campaign for coloured gemstones before?
Mainly because the coloured gemstone industry is so fragmented. It is not like the diamond industry which is highly industrialised. When De Beers led a generic marketing campaign for the diamond industry decades ago, the retailers welcomed it.
How was the FURA Marketing Council established?
When FURA came to us last year wanting to understand the US gemstone market better we conducted major market research. FURA looked at the results of our research, which it had commissioned, and then asked us to organise and deliver a campaign in order to boost global coloured gemstone marketing that would help grow the demand for all coloured gemstones, not just emerald, ruby and sapphires.
We wanted to create an umbrella organisation that was membership based, that FURA would fund, to help with every level of the supply chain and welcome them as members. The organisation would work on correcting the disconnects between retailers, coloured gemstone jewellery manufacturers and stone dealers. The FURA Marketing Council (FMC) was established to lead the campaign.
How will you do this? What events are planned? What are the membership benefits?
We will be staging a press event to introduce the FURA Marketing Council at the AGTA (American Gem Trade Association) GemFair event on August 24-26, just before the JCK Las Vegas show, where we will also have a booth from which we can explain our goals for the campaign and membership benefits.
FURA Marketing Council benefits will include promotional support, point-of-sale assets, co-op advertising funds, and more.
Currently, we are working on educational training videos for sales staff, which will be translated into various languages, and we will disseminate these online in due course. We are driving this forward to help retailers sell more coloured gemstone jewellery to consumers. We are all behind more retail sales.
We will be constantly connecting with the trade both in-person and virtually to push forward our messages.
Our initial focus in the rollout of the campaign will be the US and India markets — and Australia where FURA operates sapphire mining and already has an established awareness.
We will step up our focus on China and the Middle East next year.
We are in touch with key industry bodies around the world, such as GIA (Gemological Institute of America), International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA), CIBJO-World Jewellery Confederation, the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), and India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC.)
FURA’s sapphire mining operations in Australia are already well on track for RJC certification.
How important will standards, sustainability and gender equality be in the FURA Marketing Council’s global coloured gemstone marketing campaign?
These are all key cornerstones vigorously pursued by FURA Gems, which is actively engaged now in delivering a sustainable supply chain and promoting gender equality by, for example, setting no gender specific requirements in its hiring.
We will transmit this sentiment in all of our campaign messages as a top priority, as we strongly believe that the highest standards of sustainability, corporate social responsibility and gender equality are essential components of the coloured gemstone market. FURA can be the origin for their customers who want to have a chain of custody claim for their emerald, ruby and sapphire gemstones. FURA can verify origin to comply with all chain of custody protocols.