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Sustainability considerations now rank on par with price and design for global consumers when purchasing diamonds, with fine jewelry ranking third, after only food and clothing, as the category most frequently purchased on the basis of sustainability considerations, and one in five consumers globally having bought jewelry in recent years specifically because of its sustainability credentials. This according to new research published by the De Beers Group in its eighth annual Diamond Insight Report.

Entitled “Sustainability: shaping the future of the diamond sector,” the report takes an in-depth look at the topic, including how sustainability considerations are influencing consumer decisions relating to natural diamonds, how the diamond industry is already a leader in many areas relating to sustainability, and how the industry must build on its momentum in placing sustainability at the heart of its value proposition, in order to meet consumer expectations for the future.

It reached its findings after polling the opinions of more than 8,400 people across seven key consumer markets for diamonds.


According to the study sustainability was ranked by 30 percent of consumers as their most important consideration – above price and design – when choosing a diamond.

The top five sustainability considerations for diamond consumers in the study were protection of the environment, fair worker treatment, conflict-free sourcing, supporting local communities and diamond origin.

These trends are being led by the younger generations, with 30 percent of Millennials having bought jewelry with sustainability credentials as part of its branding, compared with only 8 percent of Baby Boomers.

Sustainability considerations were also higher among consumers with a higher education, with 67 percent saying they do matter, which was the case also with 70 percent of those from affluent backgrounds.

The study also found that sustainability-conscious consumers were prepared to pay a premium for natural diamonds that provide evidence of sustainability credentials, with 56 percent of consumers who were willing to pay more saying they were willing to pay between 10 and 20 percent more for natural diamond brands that could demonstrate they operate in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

Nearly 17 percent of these consumers were open to paying 25 percent or more for a sustainable natural diamond.

Source: De Beers Insight Report 2021

Source: De Beers Insight Report 2021


Sustainability was also more likely to be factor in a purchasing decision is the event for which it was being bought was more symbolic and emotive. This could directly affect the the carat weight of the purchase.

Sixty-two percent of people buying natural diamonds for weddings, engagements and anniversaries ranked sustainability factors as the most important in their purchasing decisions. This figure was 50 percent for self-purchased diamonds and 45 percent for other occasions such as Christmas, Chinese Lunar New Year, Diwali and Mother’s Day.

When it came to factors that were most influential in shaping consumer perceptions towards sustainability and diamonds, the study found that the opinion of experts (46 percent), information from the brand itself (40 percent) and information from retailers (37 percent) ranked most highly, compared with the opinions of friends and family (21 percent), and the opinions of influencers (17 percent) or peers (15 percent) on social media.

In addition to the research findings, the report also highlights numerous examples demonstrating how the diamond industry is already a sustainability leader in many areas, from supporting local communities and delivering large-scale conservation projects to increasing diversity throughout the value chain and working towards becoming carbon neutral.

The report emphasizes that the industry has strong foundations to build from when responding to the consumer trends identified by the research, by more proactively communicating the significant positive impacts that diamonds create on their journey to the consumer.