The dream of an inspired and informed consumer for the diamond industry

The dream of an inspired and informed consumer for the diamond industry - Artificial Jewellery

The international diamond industry finds itself at an important crossroads. DAVID KELLIE says that education is the key to fostering productive long-term relationships with consumers.

A tremendous amount of mystery and intrigue surrounds the modern diamond industry and each day, jewellery retailers field a range of questions from confused consumers.

Is there a difference between a lab-created diamond and a natural diamond, and can that difference be detected?

What is the natural diamond industry doing to reduce its carbon footprint and protect biodiversity? Do natural diamonds benefit the countries where they come from?

What are the working conditions like in the diamond industry? Are lab-created diamonds a ‘sustainable’ alternative?

These are just a handful of the questions that most of us hear regularly in the diamond industry.

Despite the transformation and reform that has occurred in the diamond industry over recent decades, many myths surrounding the industry’s operations, its standards, and its ‘players’ continue to linger.

Unfortunately, these misconceptions erode trust, and, in the long run, can be harmful, not only to the diamond industry but especially to those who most depend on the positive impact of natural diamonds: the communities from where they originate.

Through the influence of the internet and social media, today’s consumers are more informed than ever before. They wish to align their values with those of the products they purchase. It is therefore vital for us all to support these consumers by providing information transparently.

Research and education

Recent research by the Natural Diamond Council (NDC) has revealed the conditions under which both lab-created diamonds and natural diamonds are sourced and brought to the final consumer, and what they stand for, without presenting this as a dichotomy.

While the industry typically seeks to compare their environmental impact, our analysis shows it is not possible to make a simplistic general comparison.

Within each category there is a wide range of production processes, geographical locations, power sources, productivity capabilities, and sustainability practices.

We reinforce that natural diamonds and lab-created diamonds will both have a role to play in a prosperous jewellery industry, but only if we protect the integrity of the industry by sharing the respective values of each with honesty.

I’d encourage everyone in the industry to read our recent report – Diamond Facts – so that they too can be fully educated on key topics when addressing not only consumers, but peers too.

The natural diamond industry supports over 10 million livelihoods around the world. Up to 80 per cent of rough diamond value remains with local communities in the form of local purchasing, employment benefits, social programs, investment in infrastructure.

That is without mentioning taxes, royalties, and dividends paid from the industry to respective governments.

For example, in Canada, the natural diamond industry contributes to 24 per cent of the total GDP in the Northwest Territories, and since 1996, $US17 billion ($AU25.1 billion) went toward NWT businesses and $US7.5 billion ($AU11 billion) to Indigenous-owned businesses.

In Africa it’s a similar story, and in Botswana diamonds represented 33 per cent of GDP in 2021.

Globally, the industry is also pursuing biodiversity protection and rehabilitation, covering an area almost four times the land they use, equivalent to the size of New York City, Chicago, Washington and Las Vegas combined.

Many miles still to walk

A new ‘mystery shopper’ study in the US earlier this year showed that natural diamond education for jewellery retailers is critical to sales conversion. I believe that these findings are likely consistent with most markets in the world.

Findings reveal 93 per cent of customers were more inclined to make a purchase of diamond jewellery when they felt sufficiently educated by a salesperson.

This contrasted with only 19 per cent of consumers inclined to purchase when they felt uninformed.

This demonstrates that the biggest opportunity to increase sales in the industry is to ensure that frontline sales staff are properly equipped to share the true values and stories of natural diamonds.

Despite challenges in global economies, our industry remains robust. Consumers continue to spend money on goods and experiences that provide connection.

Our collective role is to continually share the unique connections that diamond jewellery symbolises – whether it be between people, to mark occasions, or just to celebrate special moments.

Each member of the trade has a unique part to play in taking the industry forward.

For our part, we remain committed to bringing attention not only to these moments, but also to the many great retailers, designers, brands, and brand manufacturers that put their heart and soul in to making the natural diamond jewellery the incredible industry that we are proud to represent.

NameDavid Kellie
BusinessNatural Diamond Council
Position: CEO
LocationNew York City, US
Years in the industry: 6

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