Diamonds have had a nice run, thanks to successfully marketing a diamond ring as required for marriage. Now, faced with declining marriage rates, it’s telling couples that diamonds are for whatever arrangement you want to have.

The Diamond Producers Association, an organization of global mining companies, teamed up with agency Mother New York to launch its “Real is Rare” video campaign. The jewelry is part of the backdrop of the story — a series of rings on a chain instead of on a finger — that serves as a testament to resilience rather than a beacon of matrimony. No ceremony, no problem.

“Maybe we won’t ever get married, and maybe we will,” a voiceovers says in one of the videos. “But we will still spend our future together and I will be honest with you and it will be wild, it will be kind and it will be real.”

The move comes against the backdrop of a long generational shift away from marriage. According to Pew, the group of Americans who have never married has steadily increased over the years.


Mother conducted a series of research studies with millennials across America inquiring about their relationship to both loved ones and jewelry. According to Thomas Henry, senior strategist at Mother, the key takeaway was that while millennials have been presumed to prefer “hookup culture,” they care about genuine connections, regardless of if that translates to marriage.

“[Millennials get] characterized as being cynical and jaded and focused on Tinder and that the relationships they’re pursuing aren’t meaningful, but that’s very far from the truth,” he said. “We were trying to understand what characterizes a great modern relationship. Audacity was the way to reach the audience.”

“Real is Rare” was the first campaign from the diamond industry in eight years, and chief marketing officer Deborah Marquardt said the organization was focused on forming an updated narrative that better reflects the reality of the way young couples are purchasing diamonds in the marketplace.

“It was an opportunity to reintroduce diamonds to a group of folks that are marketed to 24/7 and find a way to be disruptive and breakthrough, and really be able to connect on an emotional level that seems meaningful,” she said.

Martin Roscheisen, founder of The Diamond Foundry, which produces diamonds in the a lab, said authenticity in marketing is important, as millennials are particularly attuned to weed through deceptive messaging.

“Millennials are different from prior generations in that they have a particularly sharp BS detector,” he said. “They smell corporate marketing a mile away and detect ulterior motives. They know that calling a diamond ethical does not make it ethical. They also care about the impact they have on the world.”