As anyone who talks to people outside the industry knows, the “blood diamond” issue (and related social concerns) are not just the only public relations challenge this industry faces. Just last night, I was talking to someone who said he would never buy a diamond because it’s an artificially controlled market, and that De Beers stockpiles to keep prices up, etc. etc. (I should note that this person is not engaged. But regardless …) It doesn’t help that all this was portrayed in the “Blood Diamond” movie (set in 1999.)
Now we all know this used to be true. But we also know that the diamond market has changed significantly over the last seven years — with the biggest being the decline in De Beers’ market share, and the fact that the company no longer stockpiles. I think articles like this, and this one from the Economist, are extremely beneficial to the industry, and I wonder why the industry has not taken a more active role in talking about its pretty significant structural changes. For instance, the diamondfacts site mentions nothing (that I could see) about these issues. And yet they are clearly on people’s minds.
In the past, the industry was nervous about getting this word out, because they didn’t want consumers to think diamond prices would fall. But with the supply/demand curve looking good, this is no longer such a factor. Even better, there is no one fighting the industry on this — NGOs have no stake in arguing the current status of De Beers’ market share (as they do in, say, arguing the success of Kimberley.)
The industry has a noteworthy story to tell here. It is both interesting and positive (not always the same thing.) Perhaps it should start spreading the word.