Tiffany gets serious about diamond sourcing

The company joins the movement for more ethical diamond sourcing from jewelers

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Tiffany & Co. is shining a light on its diamond sourcing in the jeweler's latest initiative to capture millennial dollars.

On Wednesday, the New York-based brand announced new transparency measures to alert consumers to the origins of its diamonds. As part of the new Diamond Source Initiative, Tiffany will provide the region or country of origin and, by 2020, the craftsmanship journey, of its gems, and will also tag each diamond with a "T&Co" serial number.

A message from Chief Executive Alessandro Bogliolo about the initiative was sent by email to Tiffany customers on Wednesday morning.

"There should be nothing opaque about Tiffany diamonds," wrote Bogliolo, who joined Tiffany in 2017 from Diesel. "You deserve to know where your most valuable, most cherished diamond jewelry is from, and how it came to be."

In addition, Tiffany will display the origins of diamond rings in its love and engagement cases in 300 stores around the world, a spokesman says. The company featured a full-page ad in Wednesday's New York Times to announce the changes, which it is also marketing via an animated video on Instagram.

The changes were generally applauded on Twitter.

The sourcing program is the latest attempt by Tiffany to tap into the much sought-after millennial market after years of sagging sales. Retail experts have said that younger, ethically-minded consumers are less drawn to legacy brands for jewelry in particular, because such brands have not traditionally been as transparent as they could be about the sourcing of the diamonds. Some shoppers are more inclined to buy conflict-free diamonds, for example.

New marketing initiatives, like a whimsical Believe campaign featuring millennial celebrities such as Elle Fanning and Zoe Kravitz, have helped Tiffany regain some of its luster. For the third quarter ended Oct. 31, Tiffany reported a 4 percent increase in net sales to $1 billion, though net income slipped 5 percent to $95 million. In 2017, the company spent $314.9 million on advertising, up 5 percent over 2016, according to company filings.

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