Public Still Unaware of ‘Conflict’ Issue

Consumers are still in the dark about the conflict diamond issue, according to research conducted by MVI Marketing.

The percentage of consumers who have heard of the issue did post a negligible increase—from 7% to 9%—but “that’s statistically insignificant,” says MVI president Andrew Wagstaff. “We truly expected that, given all the publicity, there would be a change in consumer awareness, and we are just not seeing it.”

Some 73% of consumers told MVI they would not knowingly buy a diamond that came from a conflict source. But the number who would purchase a diamond even if it fueled a war actually increased—from 24% to 27%.

MVI also found that only 5% of respondents cited country of origin as an important issue for them in their purchase, and only 6% cited the political issues in country of origin as being significant.

According to MVI, the top five consumer concerns were price, authenticity of stone, jewelry setting, color of diamond, and clarity of diamond.

“Consumers don’t seem to be interested in the conflict diamond issue,” Wagstaff says. “They are more concerned about price, value, integrity—very pragmatic types of issue. Most consumers don’t know where diamonds come from anyway.”

In a separate survey, Christian humanitarian group World Vision, an occasional industry antagonist, found that 62% of respondents to a survey endorsed conflict diamond legislation when informed of the issue.

The poll did not gauge how many people knew about conflict diamonds, said World Vision spokeswoman Elaine Bole.