A survey by the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council (JCOC) found 82% of respondents are unaware of the forthcoming movie The Blood Diamond, scheduled for release in 2007. The movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly, highlights the role of diamonds used to fuel conflict in the chaotic civil war in 1990s Sierra Leone.
More public awareness of the movie is anticipated as previews and ads are released by the studio. Elizabeth Chatelain, founder of the JCOC said in a release, "As awareness levels rise, coupled with the potential negative publicity facing the industry in the upcoming months, there could be a shift towards stronger consumer sentiment. The industry must be prepared for consumers to begin demanding greater accountability for fine jewelry purchases.”
Many trade members are making preparations to educate consumers about the Kimberly Process, the USA Patriot Act, Humanitarian Relief and similar efforts to arrest conflict diamonds. “Jewelers who take a proactive approach advertise their efforts to advocate responsible practices in the jewelry supply chain will be at a distinct advantage” said Chatelain.
Industry members have expressed concern that the movie fails to inform its audiences that civil war factions have since made peace in that country and diamonds exported from the region are now conflict-free. The filmmaker is being lobbied to include a disclaimer at the end of the movie updating viewers on current conditions in Sierra Leone.
The JCOC survey included 2832 consumers. Of the small percentage who had heard of the movie, 46% say they are likely to see it and 25% remain undecided.