In 2003 Rio Tinto Diamonds began production of diamonds at the Diavik Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada. In 2004, A+A and UK associate, CGA were invited to take on the challenge of how to market the spectacular and highly valued white diamonds produced from this state-of-the art mine. In a market dominated by anonymously produced diamonds, many mixed with “blood diamonds” of unknown origin, Rio Tinto was delivering these diamonds through a highly controlled supply chain, consisting of a select group of highly skilled diamond cutters.
Rio Tinto had previously maintained a low profile in the diamond business, with little brand presence among retailers and consumers. The challenge was to provide the direct Rio Tinto customers, the diamond cutters, with marketing tools that would justify the premium price of these white diamonds. The strategy proposed two distinct platforms—a B2B program that celebrated the elite group of customers that were granted access to this limited supply; and a B2C program that provided retailers and consumers with stories, certificates, and retail displays that proved the source of origin of every diamond.
The Mine-to-Market Program was built upon the premise that each of the three RTD mines had a distinctive story to tell, from the character and quality of the diamonds produced to the increasingly sustainable methods by which they are extracted in each region. Like a fine wine or coffee with a unique terroir, the objective was to introduce a new standard of sourcing by which all diamonds might eventually be rated. Three marks were designed that represented both the global brand and the country of origin.
After learning the inside language of this typically closed door industry, the Select Diamantaire name was introduced by A+A as a mark of respect that elevated the artisan manufacturers to a higher level of recognition in the industry. This new mark was the foundation of a comprehensive marketing program that celebrated the distinctive skills and cultures of the diamantaire like never before.