Rio Tinto has outlined its plans to play a key role in the growing Chinese diamond jewellery market.
Speaking on the eve of the launch of Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender in Hong Kong, Rio Tinto’s diamonds and minerals chief executive Alan Davies said “the demand for diamond jewellery in China is expected to grow strongly into the next decade underpinned by an increase in wealth and a growing middle class.
“Rio Tinto’s new Argyle underground mine will help meet China’s growing demand for diamonds and will ensure the future supply of a diamond production profile that is uniquely placed to develop new types of jewellery for the Chinese market.”
He said that although the company’s Argyle mine is renowned for small volumes of extremely rare pink diamonds, it also produces large volumes of affordable diamonds that are ideally suited to creating fashion accessories for the emerging middle class.
“Traditionally, the Chinese jewellery market has been dominated by large white diamonds used on bridal occasions (a trend that has been imported from the west) but there has been a structural change in the China market.
“Chinese consumers are increasingly seeking diamond jewellery as a daily fashion accessory.”
To capitalise on this new growth category, one of Rio Tinto’s key initiatives has been to partner with Chinese diamond jewellery manufacturer and retailer, Chow Tai Fook, to promote Argyle diamonds in its stores.
“The resulting Australian Colours collection has surpassed all expectations and is now available in more than 1000 Chow Tai Fook stores throughout greater China,” said Davies.
In addition Rio Tinto has collaborated with five local and international jewellery designers (Fei Liu, Huang Chao Yan, Aya Kamimura, Wen Wei Tong and Zhong Hua) to create jewellery “beyond the solitaire engagement ring” for the Chinese market.
Incorporating design insights from market research and industry trends, the result is 13 “fashionable and accessible collections in tune with Chinese consumers’ needs”.
Rita Maltez, manager of Rio Tinto’s Greater China Representative Office, said the initiative “brings to life the innovative design talent that is so important as the Chinese market for diamond jewellery continues to develop”.
“The collections are stunning examples of what can be achieved when creative talents come together with a shared vision – in this case the vision to redefine jewellery for women across Greater China.”