Survey says consumers are interested in Fair Trade gems and jewelry

A recent online study of jewelry consumers indicate a strong belief that gemstones and precious metals used in jewelry should be mined under Fair Trade guidelines.

The survey of 2,571 members of the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council was revealed during a conference sponsored by the Rapaport Group that discussed Fair Trade products, practices, and possibilities for the jewelry trade, held during the JCK Show ~ Las Vegas. Among its preliminary findings:

• 55 percent of consumers cited they have never heard of Fair Trade products
• 23 percent say they sometimes purchase Fair Trade products
• Only 1 percent say they always go out of their way to buy Fair Trade Certified products
• 56 percent believe it is important that gemstones and precious metals used in jewelry are mined under Fair Trade guidelines
• 49 percent expect to pay more for Fair Trade Certified Diamonds than they would for other diamonds; 14 percent would expect at least 20 percent more

“There is moderate consumer awareness of Fair Trade products,” says Elizabeth Chatelain, president of MVI Marketing Ltd. of Paso Robles, Calif., founder of the JCOC. “When these awareness levels are combined with the potential negative publicity facing the gem and jewelry industry in upcoming months, with the release of the film ‘The Blood Diamond,’ there could be a shift towards stronger consumer sentiment. Currently, it appears the preference to purchase Fair Trade products is matter of convenience for the masses. If the products are there, and not commanding a substantial premium, there’s interest. But, the industry should be prepared for consumers to begin demanding greater accountability for fine jewelry purchases.”