NEW YORK: Now that Warner Bros.' Blood Diamond has hit theaters, one gem supplier is encouraging its retail partners to see the film in an effort to better educate consumers about the off-the-screen state of affairs within the diamond pipeline.
"Consumers are definitely asking, becoming more aware," said Alan Braverman, director of marketing and communications for New York-based supplier Premier Gem Corp. Retailers "need to understand what is motivating the consumer to come in and ask the questions."
To that end, Premier is advocating that retailers see Blood Diamond for themselves: Braverman purchased Fandango gift certificates for 50 partner jewelers, and has asked them to see the movie by year's end.
Braverman said he and his colleagues have been fielding queries from retailers of all sizes since media coverage of the film, in which Leonardo DiCaprio plays a fictional mercenary involved in Sierra Leone's once-rampant diamonds-for-weapons trade, launched this autumn.
Premier has also provided its retail partners with extensive educational materials - developed both in-house and passed along from industry groups such as the World Diamond Council (WDC) and the Diamond Trading Company - explaining current diamond-mining conditions and gem sources, among other critical facts.
"A lot of the education process is just trying to engage players throughout the pipeline in conversation," Braverman said. "Retailers need to explain to consumers that [the industry] is not just scurrying about because of the movie."
According to the WDC, more than 99% of the gems are certified by the Kimberley Process, the United Nations-backed procedure put in place in 2002 to ensure the world's supply of diamonds is conflict-free. Still, Braverman said, movie-goers may walk out of Blood Diamond with concerns about the rocks on their own hands - and jewelers need to have answers.
"The most important point to be made is that the film has to be put in historic context," Braverman said. "It's by no means a depiction of the environment and working conditions happening now. It's not a documentary."