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Low Transparency in Gold Supply Chain for Jewelry

Study finds most consumers know little but care a lot about gold’s origin.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Austin, TX — MVI Marketing LLC (THE MVEye) and Christina T. Miller Sustainable Jewelry Consulting (CMC) announced the completion of a benchmark consumer market research study on awareness of responsibly sourced, artisanally-mined gold.

The study showed limited consumer awareness of the origin of the gold in jewelry and the working conditions facing small-scale gold miners. However, a significant number of respondents, when informed of the details of the gold supply chain in jewelry and the working conditions affecting gold miners, said they would pay more for certified responsibly-mined gold jewelry.

Upon completion of the report, Christina Miller, an expert in the field of gold supply for jewelry manufacturing, said, “This research study is a benchmark from which we will measure our progress as an industry. The current conditions for artisanal and small-scale gold miners are neither healthy nor sustainable and this research shows that as consumers learn more, they will demand both transparent sourcing and improved conditions for the people doing the mining.”

Marty Hurwitz, CEO of MVI Marketing LLC (THE MVEye) added, “Transparency in the supply chain for all consumer goods is an evolving necessity as the next generation of consumers becomes the dominant spending demographic globally.”

Key findings revealed in the report include:

  • Artisanal mining is not well understood by respondents; less than 20% were aware of the term.
  • Few respondents understand where gold is mined.
  • Younger generations consider the origin and social and environmental issues more than older respondents and men consider the origin and social and environmental issues more than women.
  • Most respondents recognize that mercury (commonly used in gold mining) has toxic effects on the nervous system and can cause brain damage. About one-third of respondents recognize that mercury is a pollutant (34%), and that it is most detrimental to fetuses (32%). However, 9% of respondents said that mercury was safe to handle.
  • Almost 50% of respondents between the ages 25 – 35 would choose ASM Certified Responsible Gold, with ages 36-50 following close behind at 42%.
  • When consumers learn about artisanal and small-scale mining, they are likely to spend more on products made with responsibly mined, artisanal material (up to 8% more).
  • The majority of respondents say that they haven’t seen or purchased jewelry made from recycled gold.

The research study was deployed online November 4, 2020 through Nov 13, 2020 and completed by 1,015 respondents.

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Respondent demographics included:

  • USA only
  • Male 27%, Female 73%
  • Household income greater than $50,000
  • Ages 25-50
  • Have purchased jewelry valued $200 or more in past 3 years

This study was co-sponsored by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and Rio Grande.

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