Marc Choyt of Reflective Images, Santa Fe, New Mexico, a jewelry retailer and manufacturer of designer jewelry, attended the first Madison Dialogue Ethical Jewelry Summit on October 25 and 26, 2007, at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. Choyt is the author of a blog on fair trade issues at www.fairjewelry.org. He reports here on his experiences at the summit and the first steps toward fair trade gems, precious metals, and jewelry.
Shamsa Dawani shows me a stone paper of brilliant red garnets. They aren’t just pretty—as small as they may be, they represent a new future for our industry. It’s the second day of the Madison Dialogue Ethical Jewelry Summit at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. This handful of garnets for sale is a reminder of why a hundred people from all over the world have gathered at this conference to discuss the ethical issues of sourcing.
Interview with Mike Angenent on issues with traceable melee diamonds and sapphires from Madagascar
MC: First, explain how you got involved in “Open Source.” What’s your personal background and what was the inspiration behind the project?
MA: Well, I am a goldsmith, gemologist, diamantair by profession and was always fascinated by the fact that you could trace a gemstone by its inclusions. 3 phase for Colombian emeralds, etc. I realized that my customers also liked to know this and where fascinated by the stories behind the jewellery piece, the whole process of how to make an exclusive piece of jewellery and the story about the gems and the diamonds.
Guy Clutterbuck, who was recently featured in the GIA Winter Loop Magazine, has been sourcing gemstones in Africa and around the world for decades. His relationships with small scale miners, based on trust, are highly unusual and
stand in contrast to the generally toxic relationship between the small scale miners and their typical buyer.
Read more about his approach in this exclusive fairjewelry.org interview, which I conducted after the Tucson Gem Show this past February. Full disclosure: I have been purchasing gems from Guy for about fifteen years. -Marc Choyt, Publisher,
The issue of fair trade gemstones is complex and difficult to sort out. What I will outline here are three different scenarios that offer possibilities for more transparent, ethical sourcing of fair trade gemstones from artisan miners.
Everyone involved in profiting from diamonds, from NGOs who raise the blood diamond issue to their donors, DeBeers, to the average jeweler, markets to a target audience. In the retail sector, issues of quality and price are in the forefront and information on the ―4 Cs is easily available.
Jewelry marketing is nearly always targeted to appeal to your emotions. But the supply chain that produces your piece, from mine to market, is driven by an entirely different set of values. Precious metal, gem stones and manufacturing are highly commoditized, just like oil or lumber.
from National Geographic Magazine
Like many of his Inca ancestors, Juan Apaza is possessed by gold. Descending into an icy tunnel 17,000 feet up in the Peruvian Andes, the 44-year-old miner stuffs a wad of coca leaves into his mouth to brace himself for the inevitable hunger and fatigue. For 30 days each month Apaza toils, without pay, deep inside this mine dug down under a glacier above the world’s highest town, La Rinconada. For 30 days he faces the dangers that have killed many of his fellow miners—explosives, toxic gases, tunnel collapses—to extract the gold that the world demands. Apaza does all this, without pay, so that he can make it to today, the 31st day, when he and his fellow miners are given a single shift, four hours or maybe a little more, to haul out and keep as much rock as their weary shoulders can bear. Under the ancient lottery system that still prevails in the high Andes, known as the cachorreo, this is what passes for a paycheck: a sack of rocks that may contain a small fortune in gold or, far more often, very little at all.
The following is a Press Release from ORC Guideline
(contact: Carolyn Werbler, ORC USA)
ORC Guideline Survey Shows the Importance of Environmental Policies at Work & Home
NEW YORK, NY – June 3, 2009 — When it comes to environmental issues and corporate social responsibility, people are willing to put their money where their hearts are – even in this economic environment. According to a new survey from ORC Guideline, an infoGroup company (NASDAQ: IUSA), nearly two thirds (64 percent) of employed respondents said they would be willing to put their paycheck on the line and forego pay raises to support green initiatives at work.
Our vision is to reach a day where there are no dumpsters behind our stores and clubs, and no landfills containing our throwaways. We want to create zero waste. Reducing waste saves money for our customers, our suppliers, and our business. It also decreases our reliance on nonrenewable resources.
The Case for HARMONY Precious Metals™
Total sales for the U.S. Retail Industry in 2007 (including food service and automotive) were $4.48 trillion with jewelry sales comprising $64.8 billion. 1, 2