De Beers’ Nature-themed High Jewelry Exhibition Lands in Shanghai

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SHANGHAI De Beers Jewellers, the 23-year-old business-to-consumer arm of the diamond mining and trading giant De Beers Group, unveiled the “Inspired by Nature” exhibition in Shanghai last week.

Featuring rare diamonds, both clear and colored, and more than 300 pieces from the brand’s high jewelry range, the exhibition is divided into three parts.

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The first theme, titled “Natural Works of Art,” offers the largest-ever showcase of white, yellow, pink, blue, green and orange diamonds jewelry. A highlight is the 1.26-carat radiant-cut fancy red diamond, making its China debut for the occasion.

A 1.26-carat radiant-cut fancy red diamond makes its China debut at De Beers' "Inspired by Nature" exhibition in Shanghai
A 1.26-carat radiant-cut fancy red diamond makes its China debut at “Inspired by Nature.”

The second chapter, “Designs That Transcend Time,” focuses on the brand’s achievement in design and craftsmanship. The last part, “High Jewelry Icons,” is a 360-degree showcase of the brand’s 11 nature-inspired high jewelry collections, such as Enchanted Lotus, inspired by the waterlilies grown in the Okavango Delta in Botswana; the butterflies-centered Portraits of Nature, and Adonis Rose, a tribute to the drama and elegance of the damask rose.

Bringing sparkle to the exhibition opening was brand ambassador Zhao Liying. Hailed as the queen of daytime TV drama in China for leading a slew of major productions, the actress accessorized her gradient evening gown with an Aella oval cut diamond ring, and the Okavango Chameleon colored diamond set, which includes a pair of earrings, a ring and a necklace.

Also in attendance were top model Sui He, adorned with pieces from the Enchanted Lotus collection, and socialite-turned-social commerce influencer Teresa Cheung, who wore a yellow diamond ring from the Simple Shank range, a diamond ring under the Enchanted Lotus line, and a Toi et Moi duo stone ring.

Model Sui He attends De Beers' Inspired by Nature exhibition in Shanghai
Model Sui He at the exhibition.

“The appetite for craftsmanship and legacy pieces is strong among our Chinese customers,” said Céline Assimon, chief executive officer of De Beers Jewellers.

“The Chinese clients understand the complexity of the diamond market. When we engage with them in the selection process of their diamonds, they are interested in all the elements of craftsmanship. They understand rarity, and in terms of tastes, they go for items that are more sophisticated compared to other clientele around the world,” she continued.

Another reason the brand resonates with Chinese customers, according to Assimon, is that they respond positively to De Beers’ focus on quality over weight, which dovetails with the country’s uncompromising attitude toward details and craftsmanship in traditional art.

“You would think that the bigger the diamond the larger the value,” said the executive. “It’s not true. We cut for beauty. The diamonds you see at De Beers Jewellers are going to have incredible brilliance [and] shine more than any other because our craftsmen spent a lot of time aligning the facets and going beyond what you see on the certificate.”

Teresa Cheung attends De Beers' Inspired by Nature exhibition in Shanghai
Teresa Cheung at the exhibition.

In a market where companies going the extra mile to deliver branded experiences beyond retail is the norm, she believes the exhibition serves as a way to cultivate authentic relationships with clients who are high net-worth individuals investing in high jewelry pieces to build their own collections.

“They invest in multiple brands. So it’s important to convey how distinctive De Beers Jewellers is compared to the others out there. Many brands are comparable in terms of quality, but the design element and our savoir-faire on investment-grade diamonds are unique,” touted Assimon.

She said colored diamonds starting at $500,000 have been some of the most in-demand items among the brand’s Chinese customers for a while.

“The way they select a color is not really according to the market value. They are looking for the color they want to wear and complement their unique tastes. For example, on paper, blue diamonds are rarer than pink diamonds yet pink ones often are more sought-after. There is also incredible demand for yellow because of the significance of the color in Chinese culture, and is more accessible,” she added.

The Enchanted Lotus collection by De Beers Jewellers
The Enchanted Lotus collection.

The Enchanted Lotus range has been popular in China as well, especially among younger customers and celebrities, thanks to its symbolism tied to the cycle of life and its unisex appeal.

Founded in 2001, De Beers Jewellers builds on its parent company De Beers’ more than 135 years of expertise in the diamond trade. The brand operates more than 40 stores worldwide, half of which are within the Greater China region.

“We’ve been historically in Shanghai and Beijing, the most mature markets where we have a big following with multiple stores. New markets like Nanjing, Chengdu and Wuhan come with a fashion-forward crowd. Overall it’s interesting to see that the taste level and the understanding of the rarity of the diamonds are quite aligned between those markets. We see a difference in how women and men style their jewelry, but that’s down to your taste,” said Assimon.

The duty-free hot spot Hainan Island is a fast-growing market for the brand, too.

“People who travel to Hainan Island typically are in a great mood. They come here for celebrations or vacations. It is always moments that are associated with jewelry in the best way possible. We’ve seen quite a strong demand for engagement rings and significant pieces. You will be surprised at some of the price points that we’ve been presenting and successfully selling in Hainan,” added Assimon.

Overall, Assimon, who has been traveling to China for work for decades, said what makes the brand resonates most with China is its history with diamonds.

“Nobody else can claim to having touched most of the important diamonds in the world. As a brand, it’s important to be able to have those conversations with clients. Our uncompromising quest for excellence on the cut, and to be able to give the best of the best and take the time it needs to cut for beauty are things that are appreciated, because again, the Chinese culture has an appreciation for beauty, and an understanding of craftsmanship that not everybody understands in the West,” she said.

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