Dubai: Diamond marketers are reaching out to their well-heeled clientele, but not just through jewellery. Its eternal status has led them to encrust everyday objects - and even beauty procedures - with the sparkling stones.
This trend to add bling to just about everything has been a feature in the UAE's luxury retail space in recent years, right from credit cards featuring an embedded diamond to mobile phones encased in them.
"They can be customised for almost any purpose such as abayas, pens, handbags, etc., and in Dubai, there is great personal preference for diamonds," said Dhanji Dedhia, marketing director at Damas. "But the key is customisation as consumers want their designs to be as unique as their diamonds."
According to a recent Bain and Company report, the region's luxury goods market was valued at Dh21.3 billion last year with Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait City and Doha rated the major luxury retail destinations.
A recent entrant trying to take advantage of the region's fascination with the regal stone is UK's Luxury Beverage Company, which has launched a halal, non-alcoholic drink — Ruwa — for the discerning.
Its chairman John Edgar describes it as the ‘first luxury halal drink on the market' and it sure seems so with a price of Dh20 million a bottle, with each decanter handcrafted to the wishes of the customer and comes in a crystal decanter studded with 8,000 diamonds, 200 rubies and a couple of white gold bars.
"The luxury beverage market has grown very well over the past few years for both luxury and non-alcoholic beverages," said Edgar. "The main growth is in the developing countries where you are seeing over 10 per cent in many markets.
"The biggest increases for both luxury and non-alcoholic beverages are happening in the Bric countries, [and] also in other parts of Asia. We feel the Middle East has a lot of potential for Ruwa. The halal market which is over a billion people has not been part of this category up till now."
The drink inside is a mixture of elderflower and rose and comes with free refills.
Catering to the high-end Muslim community, Edgar is launching the bottle worldwide with a strong focus on Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Bahrain and Lebanon.
"Qatar is a key market for us, but we are able to supply anybody worldwide and, of course, very happy to serve customers from other Middle Eastern countries," said Edgar
The company expects to sell five of the decanters in the first year.
In March, beauty company, Cherish…Me, launched its diamond manicures here at Dh187,330 a sitting.
The bespoke home service has of 10 carats of diamonds sprinkled on to the nails by a manicurist flown in from the UK. The price tag includes the travel expenses, hotel and after-care costs. "Interest has been overwhelming. Our service is bespoke and international; thus we have an ever-growing waiting list," said Cherish Angula, owners of Cherish…Me. "Age-wise ladies as young as 16 [years] to women in their 60s have taken to the Iced Manicure,"
Diamonds have also made their way into beauty treatments with the Dubai Festival City offering a Dh1,150 Natura Bisse Diamond Facial. "Dubai has always been associated with luxury and this hasn't changed," said Angula.
"It always been a place known for its love of the finest things whether it's amazing hotels to out-of-this-world malls. I think luxury products for a long time have not been wholly women focused and orientated."
Towards the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011, sales of diamond jewellery continued to outpace gold consumption as gold prices soared. "We have witnessed solid demand for diamonds this year," said Dedhia. "Multiple consumer segments are increasingly purchasing diamonds, not only from the UAE but also across the region. "There is a noticeable increase in demand from plain gold jewellery to gold and diamond jewellery."
- Dh20m: cost of luxury halal drink per bottle
- Dh1,150: cost of Natura Bisse Diamond facial