A Chow Tai Fook Jewellery store.

The Natural Diamond Council and Chow Tai Fook — one of the world’s largest jewelry retailers — have unveiled a multi-year partnership to promote naturally mined diamonds. The partnership will see the two entities exchange information and content around the marketing, merchandising and overall promotion of diamonds as Chow Tai Fook looks to expand its footing in the diamond retailing market.

Traditionally, Chow Tai Fook has sold jewelry made entirely of high karat yellow gold — a tradition in Chinese jewelry making. But now it appears that the company will widen its offering as it looks to become an even more significant player in the global luxury market.

David Kellie, chief executive officer for the NDC, said that this partnership arrives as Chow Tai Fook looks to embark on a “significant expansion plan across China in terms of total retail units and in the size of its fine jewelry offering as well.” Chow Tai Fook currently operates 4,500 globally — most of those located in China — which makes this the largest retail deal for the NDC thus far.

This move comes only weeks after the NDC was dealt a significant blow with Pandora — one of the world’s largest jewelry brands — committing to only using lab-grown diamonds moving forward. In response, the NDC issued a formal memo to executives at Pandora, saying they were misleading consumers by calling lab-grown diamonds a more eco-friendly alternative to naturally mined stones.

Kellie added that the NDC’s partnership with Chow Tai Fook does not include a monetary exchange between the two entities — and is purely a trade-off of information in the hopes of helping Chow Tai Fook rapidly grow its diamond sales, therefore benefiting the general diamond mining industry which NDC represents.

“There is no exchange of funds. This is an agreement about how much each of us will invest in marketing and media — there is no exchange of funds, just a commitment from both parties to invest. What we bring to them are advertising campaigns and storytelling behind natural diamonds and a lot of content they don’t have access to. Technically, yes, they could create that themselves but they would rather create that with us to make sure we are unified behind message of strength in natural diamonds. They want to make themselves a destination for natural diamonds,” Kellie said. He added that the NDC’s website is currently attracting 100 million visitors annually who are seeking out information about natural diamonds.

As has been well documented, the Chinese market is growing its affection for diamonds — particularly diamond engagement rings as a tradition. “Things like engagement rings are becoming more of a cultural norm in China,” said Kellie, who added Chow Tai Fook will continue to adapt traditionally Western engagement ring styles to suit its local clientele.